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Big project roundup: Motor City Mapping and M-1 Rail gear up this summer


A pair of big projects in Detroit made news last week. Motor City Mapping, the effort to catalogue the condition of each property in Detroit, debuted its software platform. M-1 Rail is building the first streetcar line along Woodward Avenue in Detroit's greater downtown area in half a century. Here are some highlights from each press conference.

Motor City Mapping

- The Motor City Mapping website now displays an image and lists the condition of every property in the city. It’s designed in a similar fashion to the WhyDontWeOwnThis website.

- The Detroit Land Bank Authority and city workers are using the Motor City Mapping website to help identify blighted property and fast-track it toward renovation or demolition.

- The pictures and property description are based on data collected by street teams that fanned out across the city last winter.

- The Motor City Mapping team is working with local residents to refine its survey data to better determine the state of each property. More information on that effort here.

“It helps us make more accurate, and informed decisions,” says Charity Dean, community relations manager for the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

M-1 Rail

- The 3.3-mile streetcar line between Jefferson Avenue and Grand Boulevard is modeled after U.S.-based systems like Portland’s streetcar line.

- The line will have 12 stops with 20 stations. Some of the stops are in the center of Woodward and will utilized a shared station, while the majority of the line runs along the sides of Woodward and requires separate stations on each side of the street. The stations are still being designed.

- The 60-feet-long, driver-operated streetcars will feature street-level boarding for easy handicap access and come with space to park bicycles. Riders will enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi access. Fares will be sold at the stations, but there are no turnstiles to get on the train. Roaming field agents will randomly check passengers to confirm they paid their fare.

"It will be high-tech and have the things the kids are looking for now," says Matt Cullen, CEO of M-1 Rail.

- The trains will run at 7.5- to 10-minute intervals during peak times and 12-minute to 15-minute intervals during off-peak hours. Specific hours of operation for the train have yet to be determined.

- Construction of the M-1 Rail line will begin Monday, July 28. You can follow the project's progress on this interactive map.

Source: Matt Cullen, CEO of M-1 Rail, and Charity Dean, community relations manager for the Detroit Land Bank Authority
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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