Oak Park City Manager: Erik Tungate
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: WE HAVE IT, BUT WE NEED MORE OF IT.
In Metro Detroit we have the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), the Detroit Department of Transportation, the Q-Line and other, more hyper-local transit authorities. These all aim to help individuals go from Point A to Point B with ease. However, as we know, transportation in Metro Detroit does not always come with ease.
I am, and have long-been, a strong advocate for public transportation because of the
benefits it provides to the communities it supports. A robust public transportation system allows citizens greater opportunities to travel to jobs, educational institutions and health care providers. It encourages economic growth, and most importantly, breaks down barriers that could otherwise inhibit community and personal successes.
IN OAK PARK WE HAVE DILIGENTLY WORKED TO SUPPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION through our own programs and policies. Earlier this year, myself and City officials welcomed a new Transit-Oriented Development, The Nine. We also allowed for a pilot micro-mobility program that provides individuals the chance to easily go from a bus stop to their home or their home to the store, and so on. The focus of this program is giving individuals the resources to connect the last mile of their trip.
How does the program support this?
We also have five MOGO stations in Oak Park, which provide easy access to bicycles for those interested in utilizing non-motorized transportation. Oak Park has also invested in bike lanes over the years to further encourage use of non-motorized transportation and to provide safe ways to ride.
In terms of the more general idea of public transpiration, Oak Park residents have long “opted-in” to the SMART system. There are four SMART routes that go through Oak Park and the City utilizes the connector system too, which provides curb-to-curb, advance reservation service within a ten-mile radius of the beginning destination.
SUCH SERVICES CERTAINLY BOLSTER OPPORTUNITIES for individuals to traverse through daily life without a vehicle, but is what we – as a region – offer enough?
I don’t think so.
Look at cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and more. Their interconnected transit systems allow for personal and economic successes. In Metro Detroit, we have come a long way, but I am certain a better-connected transit system – one that even allows us to get to-and-from the airport – will only push us even farther in the right direction. A dedicated public transportation route to the airport, guaranteed and regular routes into our inner-ring suburbs, transit lines to some of our most popular destinations (think sports arenas, universities, shopping districts) are fixed routes that we need. These are the same of type routes the cities with successful transportation systems have in place.
We are always looking for ways to exemplify our culture of excellence here in Oak Park and by creating an intentional, well-developed and expansive public transportation system we all can thrive, in Oak Park and beyond.
City Manager Erik Tungate
City of Oak Park