When you’re waiting for the QLINE at one of 12 glass and concrete streetcar stations on Woodward take a minute to look at the custom Pewabic Pottery tile on the wall. It will have the corporate brand of the companies that put in big dollars to get the $142 million project off the ground.
There will also be a plaque commemorating their contribution to the project but that’s not really the biggest deal. What this should remind us of is that in Detroit public and private organizations do work together to get things done and help transform the city.
“The dream of bringing a modern streetcar to Detroit was made a reality by the visionary business and philanthropic leaders who stepped up to support the QLINE,” says M-1 RAIL CEO Matt Cullen. “Our station sponsors and partners are working together to transform the Woodward Corridor into a vibrant destination to live, work and play.”
The Kresge Foundation, the single largest donor with $50 million, led fundraising, helped in the design of the 98 ft. by 12 ft. QLINE stations, and secured sponsors.
“This important step forward for the QLINE and M-1 RAIL should send a clear signal about what is possible when the public and private sectors break out of their silos and creatively address challenges,” says Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation. “These designs affirm that from streetcars to stations, our entire region will soon have world-class transportation at its heart. The system’s benefits will be real, tangible and felt far beyond lower Woodward.”
ROSSETTI, a Detroit-headquartered architecture firm, developed the concept and design for QLINE stations. It also came up with a unique way to include all of those responsible.
The stations will be the peak of modernity. They will be Wi-Fi enabled, heated and equipped with security cameras, emergency phones, and next vehicle alert screens. A mobile app is also under development that will include rider friendly alerts about the QLINE and how to connect with other modes of transit along the Woodward Corridor.
“We’re creating a rider-experience that will be safe, reliable and welcoming to everyone in the community,” says Cullen. “The stations are a terrific example of the private-public partnership driving this project and its benefit to Detroit residents and businesses.”
There will be 20 QLINE stations in total. Twelve from Downtown to Midtown, New Center and the North End are sponsored by the following partners:
- Congress Street sponsored by Quicken Loans
- Campus Martius Park sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
- Grand Circus Park sponsored by Chevrolet
- Foxtown sponsored by Ilitch Holdings
- Sibley Street sponsored by Ilitch Holdings
- Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard sponsored by Detroit Medical Center
- Canfield Street sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. northbound and Compuware southbound
- Warren Avenue sponsored by Wayne State University
- Ferry Street sponsored by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
- Amsterdam Street sponsored by Ford Motor Company
- AmtrakWest sponsored by Penske Corporation
- West Grand Boulevard sponsored by Henry Ford Health System
Each sponsor put in $3 million dollars to be recognized with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Compuware sharing the Canfield station. The project was also supported by the State of Michigan, Wayne County, the Downtown Development Authority, the U.S. Department of Transportation along with DTE Energy, the Ford Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation and Bank of America.
M-1 RAIL and MDOT celebrated the re-opening of Woodward Ave. earlier this week, a concurrent project that included the curb-to-curb reconstruction of 2.5 miles of roadway from Sibley Street to Chandler Street, installation of a new drainage system, new streetlights and traffic lights and the replacement of overpasses at I-94 and I-75. Work on the underground and vertical elements of the stations is well underway and will continue into 2017.
The QLINE remains on schedule to begin passenger operations in the spring.
Some may say this is a departure from the car-based tradition of the Motor City, but it should be seen as just another step in what the city has always done best — revolutionize transportation and make it available to as many people as possible. That’s true from the Model T to the M-1 RAIL.