Detroit Mayor Dave Bing delivered his state of the city address tonight. And while his entire speech is on the city’s web site, we thought we’d reprint where he referred to the city embracing “bicycles, greenways and better public transit.”
Detroit is at a crossroads. I have said it before and I will say it again –we cannot operate the way we did 50 years ago or even 10 years ago. Change is at our doorstep, whether we like it or not.
When we announced the Detroit Works Project, we knew we were taking on an unprecedented challenge. We knew it would force us to make tough decisions. And we knew it would test our faith and resolve. But if history tells us anything, it’s that Detroit is a city of great faith and resolve. It is time to channel that spirit to develop a blueprint for our future and reestablish Detroit as the world’s most innovative city.
A city that reversed the cycle of decline by stopping the population drain and beginning to attract new residents. A city that transformed its economy and made Detroit a major job center once again.
A city built for the automobile that finally grew to embrace bicycles, greenways and better public transit. A city that attacked blight and turned vacant land into opportunity for economic development, jobs and public use. A city that brought residents together to create safe neighborhoods and deliver outstanding city services. A city that works.
This is the future we can build, but not without dealing with today’s reality. With the fiscal challenges we are facing, reinvesting in housing and infrastructure in every Detroit neighborhood is not a viable option. Creating areas of density is the best way for us to improve public safety, deliver better services and offer the quality of life amenities like recreation centers, parks and grocery stores that you want and deserve.
We are working on a plan–a plan guided by data and your input. Is it ready today? No, because we believe this plan is too important to take short cuts. Are we making progress? Absolutely! That is why we are going neighborhood by neighborhood to share our challenges and get your feedback as we prepare alternatives to help us make the tough choices that lie ahead. We will be sharing a draft analysis about neighborhoods with you in April. While neighborhoods are the core of our city, we must address the big picture and the entire city.
Your voice will be heard as we consider our options. We know we don’t have all the answers but one thing should be clear to all of us by now. Continuing on the same path will bring the same results. You deserve more than that and if you are willing to work with us, I believe we can deliver on all the promise of this city.
Given Bing’s mention of all transportation modes, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood’s favorite mayor.