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WATCH: Grand Opening of the Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit

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Thursday, 16 July, 2009 2:08 AM

Rosa Parks Transit Center opens for passengers in downtown Detroit

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A bus arrives at the new Rosa Parks Transit Center in Detroit.

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

DETROIT -- All aboard for the official opening of the Rosa Parks Transit Center, the new stop for all bus routes from the Detroit Department of Transportation, SMART, Transit Windsor and MegaBus in downtown Detroit. The ribbon was cut and the doors were opened Tuesday morning. People stepped in to see where they'll be waiting inside to take either the Grand River (D-DOT, #21) to Seven Mile or Michigan (#37) to Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn or one of many other routes accessible from the building.

The three-story, 25,700 sq. ft. center is located at the corner of Cass Avenue and Michigan Avenue. The Detroit People Mover is only footsteps away. The $22.5 million project received funding from federal and state grants. There are 15 bus bays and a two-bay taxi stand. The canopy is made of stain-resistant, high durable fabric made of Teflon and fiberglass material with a glass coating. Free wireless internet is being offered in the lobby of the transit center.

"As we hear the People Mover go by, it's truly an intermodial center," said Lovevett Williams, Director of the Detroit Department of Transportation. "This new facility is a customer-focused transit facility. We're tried to gear this facility towards what their needs were. DDOT bus riders will be able to connect with 21 bus routes right here at the new Rosa Parks Transit Center. It's a well-lit, 24-hour secure facility."

The center is a modernization from the original Capitol Park: with restrooms, television screens of bus departures, and an exhibit of the late, great Rosa Parks, whose name is in honor of the transit center. Born in Detroit, Parks has been hailed as the mother of the civil rights movement when she refused to give her seat on the bus in the south back in 1955, which is now known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This was one of many things Parks has accomplished throughout her life fighting for social change and reform for African-Americans, paving the way for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., another civil rights crusader for social justice and racial harmony.

"It took two years to build the building but it took three years to get in contact with the community groups, the business organizations, internally with the department," said Ruby Dixon-Jordan, Project Manager of the Rosa Parks Transit Center. "This is 24/7. We have public restrooms, a private restroom for our drivers so it's card access for them. We have an elevator, escalator so we're ABA compliant. It's just a beautiful building and I'm excited to be a part of it. Our exhibit for Rosa Parks, that's beautiful up there. We plan to keep that there for a while."

The Parks Transit Center is still a work in progress, as plans in the works for includes a retail shopping center and getting the people updated on the latest local and national news while waiting the bus. A bronze plaque honoring Rosa Parks will be mounted in the lobby at a later date.

"It's beautiful, it's touching, absolutely beautiful, " said Detroit resident Trenice Gordon of the Rosa Parks tribute. "Rosa Parks is representative of Detroit. I know she started her beginnings in Montgomery but towards the end of her life, she's a Detroiter. She's ours. This is a beautiful, brand new start for Detroiters. I think it's beautiful. In all honesty, this is a positive aspect of many Detroit positive aspects."

Detroit has suffered a case of bad publicity in recent years -- the rise and fall of disgraced, media-prone ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick; rise of corruption within in the police department and city governments; recent bankruptcy of the automotive Big three; increase of job loss and unemployment, and the economy having its worst slump since the Great Depression. Still, one of the good things about the Rosa Parks Transit Center is that you don't have wait outside for the bus all the time when it rains, snows, or the temperature drops.

"I work across the street and I knew it was the grand opening so I came over," said Rondoe, a Detroit resident who attended the ceremony. "I like the facility, it's great. It's big. All the buses can come through. It's a great place. It's a great location, not too far from the old place so it's not hard to find. But I also see there's not a lot of vending or anything there. I wonder if they're going to put that in. This place has a lot of potential because it's just opening so they can do a lot with it. I'm sure all of this space is going to be utilized for something in the future."

DDOT fares cost $1.50 for adults and 50 cents for a transit. Weekly, bi-weekly and monthly passes are also available at discounted rates. SMART bus fares cost $1.50 for adults and 25 cents for transfers.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Lovevett Williams, Director of the Detroit Department of Transportation, speaks during the grand opening ceremony of the Rosa Parks Transit Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The ribbon is ready to be cut.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

People are watching the grand opening ceremony.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Watching the ceremony

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Getting ready to cut the ribbon

 

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