Monday, April 02, 2007

Back In Town!

Back In Town!

The past few weeks have been incredibly hectic, which has made it difficult to keep up with this outlet for my whining and carrying on.

Anyway, I spent most of last week in Detroit, MI for the annual conference of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC).

I was able to stay with a friend, a former colleague who now makes lots more money in the corporate world than she did working for St. Louis city government. ;-)

Anyway, she lives about 30 miles from downtown Detroit (about 75 minutes drive in rush-hour traffic), where the conference was held at the RenCen, a bizarre monstrocity of early 1980s architecture that now serves as world headquarters for GM.

Detroit is a MUCH larger city and metro area than St. Louis, but I would argue its downtown is not as nice as ours. Indeed, most of the city and many of the inner-ring suburbs are still quite blighted.

However, its waterfront is somewhat prettier, mostly because the Detroit River actually is blue, not brown!

I really enjoyed the Henry Ford Museum -- too bad it's out in the suburb of Dearborn. Likewise, I briefly explored the campus of Wayne State University -- located in the heart of the city, about a 15-minute bus ride from downtown and adjacent to the cultural district.

Metro Detroit certainly does NOT have very unified public transit. There's two major agencies serving SE Michigan -- D-DOT operates buses in the city proper, but SMART has the routes in the suburbs as well as commuter routes from the suburbs into downtown.

Meanwhile, the ridiculous late-1980s Detroit People Mover elevated tramway loop downtown is operated separately; and the tunnel bus to Canada is of course operated by Transit Windsor.

I rode two different SMART routes, and one D-DOT route, as well as the People Mover a couple times. I never took the tunnel bus, but I wanted too. I just hadn't remembered to bring my birth certificate; and my passport expired three days before the trip.... which I guess means my 10-year high school reunion is coming up!



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