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Detroit makes NYTimes Best Car-Free Destinations

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Mar 12, 2017 World & Travel
New York Times

Weekend trips to cities like Boston, Chicago or San Francisco rarely require a rental car to get around, given their extensive public transportation systems. But more unexpected locales are joining the car-optional list as new and expanding rapid transit options take root across the country.

“It’s interesting to see how the West in particular is growing and expanding public transportation,” said Virginia Miller, a spokeswoman for the American Public Transportation Association.

Detroit

The Motor City once had a vital streetcar system, including a track that ran down its main corridor, Woodward Avenue. In April, some 60 years after the old lines were eradicated to make way for cars, the new QLine will restore streetcar service to downtown over a 3.3-mile route.

"You can't underestimate the symbolic importance of unveiling mass transit in a city like Detroit, which was built on cars," said Amy S. Eckert, a freelance writer and the author of "100 Things to Do in Detroit Before You Die."

The streetcar, of course, is limited relative to the footprint of Detroit, and taxis or shuttles, including a service called Skoot that offers van transportation for $20 a person, are still the most common way to get downtown from the airport.

But the project has sparked a building boom as residences, restaurants and shops have moved in along the corridor. Visitors will be able to shuttle along the route for about $1.50 a ride from near the Detroit River downtown to the nearby baseball and football stadiums (professional hockey and basketball facilities are being built and are expected to open this fall). The route also passes through the cultural Midtown district, home to the Detroit Institute of Arts and other museums. Hotels along the streetcar route include the recently opened Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney.

"Come April, I don’t think you’ll miss having a car, provided you stay in and around Woodward Avenue, and that’s where most of the renaissance is anyway," Ms. Eckert said.

Some areas worth exploring, like the vibrant Corktown neighborhood or Belle Isle Park, are some distance from the streetcar route. For those, there are Uber, Lyft and, also coming in spring, Detroit Bike Share with 43 stations.


Read Full Article @ The New York Times

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