Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Redford Rambles: The findings of two (Sub)urban explorers

Adam waits patiently for his bus
New trees along Five Mile

What will new planters, new trees, and new benches at the bus stops bring to Redford?

Let's talk about the benches. An extreme departure from the pole-in-a-hole style of stop that has dominated Redford's not-extremely-well-trafficked bus routes, these new benches say hey, this is a place. It's a place to sit down, throw away your trash, and if it's summer, maybe do some crossword puzzles. Now, if you sit in the bench not facing oncoming traffic, you might not see the bus coming, and who knows if they'll stop. (It's a little unclear whether they should, right? Is the whole brick portion the bus stop, or just the bench nearest to the sign? If you just want to rest your legs, can you pop a squat without annoying confused drivers?) For this reason, I don't think they'll get used as much.

But still. Improving the waiting experience, and making it look like bus-riding is a comfortable, normal activity, is important for increasing ridership. It's a stretch of stops just waiting for the new RTA to bring it better bus service. It shows that Redford is ready to benefit from those improvements in the form of TOD. We'll have to stay tuned to see if anything comes out of it. --also need to stop back in the summer and see how much use they're getting. Regardless, this is an important step for "downtown Redford" to act more like a real downtown.

New pedestrian bridge on Five Mile, just east of Inkster

Perfect for perching Carolyns

My brother and I had quite the hike because I wanted to see this new bridge that goes over the Rouge right by Bell Creek Park. This is an area that I found, back when I lived here, to be treacherous for biking - very close to the road, and I think it was one of the sections without a sidewalk. This new bridge, though, is fabulous. It does a wonderful job of taking advantage of the natural resources Redford has. In the above picture, couldn't I be at a river in the UP? When there aren't a whole lot of incentives in the area to get out and walk someplace, this new construction is a treat.

That's as far as we got before my fingers lost mobility and we figured it was time to head home. The next day, though, we experienced something even more exciting, though I don't have pictures: a local grocery store, which has been defunct for at least ten years, has finally reopened! There is a now a market that walkable distance from many north Redford neighborhoods. Adam and I walked in with some reverence, pointing out where the drinking fountain and the gumball machine and the lobster tank used to be. Will people patronize a little underdog store that's walkable when there's an easily drivable, much larger one a mile away?

We will see in the new year!

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