Normally I write “theme” columns. But during the planning of this month’s edition, I attended two important milestones unrelated to the content.
First was the QLine’s debut. While waiting in line, a person next to me had a camera. I asked if he was shooting for someone. He wasn’t, but said I should meet a guy standing nearby. It was Peter Benz, who rode the last Detroit streetcar in April 1956. I chatted with him on a “loop” from Grand Circus Park south and back. What a treat! I found out he’s also the vice chair of the Friends of the Detroit River. Now that’s worth a follow-up.
But let’s talk transit. We supported the Regional Transit Authority’s ballot that narrowly failed last November. So I listened with mixed emotions as civic leaders gushed about Detroit’s private/public partnership that resulted in a 3.3-mile-long “transit” link. Nearby were the Motor City Freedom Riders, who basically said: “Yea, that’s nice. But it’s not really a transit solution.”
The good news? The parade of politicians and business folks speaking that day all agreed that the QLine should only be the start. Maybe we’ll get an opportunity to vote next year. Perhaps we should leave Oakland and Macomb counties out of the conversation.
I also attended the Michigan Opera Theatre’s Grand Salute honoring David DiChiera. I got a chance to speak with DiChiera for our June issue about Ivan Moshchuk recording his music, but it was an honor to witness an “opera’s greatest hits” show featuring stars from around the world giving Dr. D. his due.
When Mayor Mike Duggan announced that the Detroit Opera House would be renamed the David DiChiera Performing Arts Center, there were a few tears shed, in the crowd as well as by DiChiera.
Bravissimo, Dr. D.! You have certainly made a difference in our lives.