Our Evolving Affair With Autos


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One line struck home when putting together this issue. The “Motorless in the Motor City” story cites our region’s complicated relationship with the automobile industry. To be sure, its growth led to our entire area’s great success as well as the rise of the middle class. But its more recent troubles and brushes with bankruptcy have had a severe and lasting economic impact.

“It’s complicated” describes my own feelings about the auto industry. To be honest, while it offered my parents and our family a relatively comfortable suburban existence, I’ve never liked cars. 

And the feeling is mutual. I swear that one lemon I owned read my bank statement and came down with a brake job — or worse — every time I had any money. Then there was the time a catalytic converter burned a hole in my floorboard, starting a small fire — while I was on the freeway, no less (good thing I had a cup of coffee handy to douse the flare-up).

And let’s not even talk about Detroit’s high insurance rates. Or that two of our cars are on their last legs. And does each person in our household really need a vehicle?

To see what new host of challenges our beloved (?) auto industry faces in the not so distant future, check out the Auto Issue section. We cover everything from autonomous vehicles to Uber. Along the way, we discuss mass transit, bike paths, and more.

As for me, I’d love to try going motorless some day. Perhaps get an apartment near the M1 (or whatever they’re going to name it) and be able to visit all the attractions up and down Woodward Avenue — without worrying about paying for parking, repairs, insurance, gas. ... I think I could get used to that new normal.

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