Detroit BikeBlog

        September 15th, Is the end nigh?

The end of the recession that is. Back in April 2007 we wrote here that the condo boom was unsustainable and "starting to look like a bubble". That bubble, as it turned out, was immense and national in scope. When it burst it almost took with it the entire financial infrastructure that had encouraged it's inflation.

Now it's two and a half years later and after one of the sharpest recessions in the last half century things are beginning to look up. Living by the river the one thing you get used to is the freighter traffic. The lake freighters glide up and down the river through ten months of the year, a thousand foot long they each carry up to fifty thousand long tons of bulk cargo. Mostly this is iron ore, salt, coal and grain. Their presence speaks of the health of the most basic levels of the economy. Steel production, power production and the global demand for staple foods. For the last eight months their numbers have been far lower than normal. Even classic freighters such as the Ryerson have been left mothballed. But this past month has seen a change. The freighter traffic on the river is booming again. It's easy to sit by the river and watch a dozen freighters pass in half an hour (or you can go to the Dossin webcam).

The dramatic increase in freighter traffic speaks of a heating up in the very core of the economy. It may take several months for increased iron ore production to work its way through into the stats and national figures for growth in sectors such as white goods and auto manufacturing. But from where we're sitting here, things are rapidly looking more positive for economic growth through Q4 2009 and into 2010.

2009 Thistle

        September 13th, Autumn at the River

Autumn is moving in. Thistles are moving and replacing rose beds. Down by the river we have some very peaceful mornings.

2009 JDetroit River
Just before dawn, a low mist over the river
(another view here)

2009 Thistle
A thistle starts to send out its seed

2009 Ville de Quebec Windsor
An irregular visitor - the HMCS Ville de Quebec on a tour of the inland waters
ties up in Windsor

        September 11th, Jefferson 911

Resonating with the significance of this date, downtown Jefferson was closed off for much of this morning due to a bomb threat. This appears top have been made against a school on East Jefferson (here) located only a few tens of yards from us.

2009 Jefferson bomb threat
Police and DFD close of side streets and Jefferson

        August 30th, Looking ahead

Apologies for the lack of posting. Busy time, a chapter to write and future directions to seek out. However, things are still going on around the D. While much else heads in a downward direction, cycling continues to be on the upswing. So here's to this year's tour:

2009 Detroit tour
check for more information.

        July 20th, Detroit News on the Cut

DetNews have a good article on the dequindre cut

        July 19th, Stalking the East Side

The city is now more seriously considering its 'right sizing'. Essentially a process of bulldozing large tracts of nearly vacant lots and converting these to urban farmland. Since large parts of the eastside are already grassed over this will mean for many blocks only the loss of rutted roads and utility poles. Perhaps necessary for the survival of the city in any meaningful form I have to wonder what it will mean to people who grew up and had family history in neighborhoods to see them ploughed under into farmland.

I took a ride around this morning. After about an hour I started to be shadowed by an inevitable car. A few years ago a cyclist was an oddity largely ignored. Now cyclists are everywhere, some perhaps involved in the distribution of drugs. Needless to say it was time to get the heck out of that area.

2009 Detroit eastside
Unlikely to be a plan popular with Tyree

2009 Detroit eastside
Many of the remaining properties are essentially lost,
some recovery may be possible but they've been looted for copper and the wood is rotten.

2009 Detroit eastside
What are left are lots of land too small to farm
with only a few planted with vegetables & wild flowers

        July 12th, Gold Cup Races

The long delayed 100th running of the gold cup boat races off Besle Isle. The increasing commercialization of viewing spots has yet to reach Belle Isle itself.

2009 Detroit Gold Cup Races
A few folks from the Belle Isle Camera Club gather early

2009 Detroit Gold Cup Races
A great tactical display from a USAF FA18

2009 Detroit Gold Cup Races
Eagerly follwed by a lot of camera HW

2009 Detroit Gold Cup Races
More FA18 here & here

2009 Detroit Gold Cup Races
Much calmer weather for the races

2009 Detroit Gold Cup Races
A great crowd on the pier

2009 Detroit Gold Cup Races
Some fast action

A great annual event - for us the only glitch was the DPD officer placed on the Belle Isle bridge to direct cyclists off the bike lane. Someone had likely decided that there was a danger cyclists might stop on the bridge to watch the races and cause a hazzard. So the officer was instead directing cyclists to cross the five lanes of fast moving traffic to use the sidewalk on the opposite side. This is about as sensible as directing pedestrians to dash across I75 to avoid the danger of crowded sidewalks. The better way of closing a dedicated bike lane would have been to do it where cyclists could safely cross, the officer was in no way inclined to slow the traffic to help us get across.

Recently archived posts

Montreal Webcam

Send Feedback
& Questions

A Detroit Diary


  Detroit Books (Winter)

      [1] The Guardian Building:
            Cathedral of Finance

      [2] American City

      [3] Motoons

Short reviews on the book page.

Flickr: Exposure Detroit

 The Archive


StreetArt Gallery
(Updated August 2009)