Earlier this week I was driving thru the Detroit Metropolitan Area. Because my toolbox has all those Cyburbian items.....geography and history,demographics, traffic flow data, growth pattern trends, amateur analysis of metro comparisons.....I enjoyed the short trip (as I always enjoy a ride thru a metro). This Bear's noggin immediately started calculating all the metropolitan areas I have spent time in, usually just as a passer-thru. Some metros I have spent some time in.
This thread is for your observations and impressions of metropolitan areas that you have actually drove thru, lived in (short-time or long-time), or visited for business or pleasure. Our impressions of place are so often painted and tainted by others and articles, pictures and news. There are no rules for your observations and comments......the metro can be any size that you feel is appropriate for discussion.....any continent.....any period of time.
I will start the metro tour with a few observations. Over the life cycle of this thread (if it is sustaining) I will throw in a few more.
It is easy for Toledo-area residents to get a "feel for" Detroit. The bigger burg greatly influences Toledo. The metro developments nearly touch each other, separated by about a dozen miles on either side of Monroe, MI.
Detroit's love affair with personal transportation is evident with all of the expressway miles in the metro. The area is criss-crossed with old-school expressways and the modern versions. The old school expressways tend to continually wind and curve
and are often a mixture of 2-lane (same direction) and 3-lane (same direction). The newer expressways tend to have more lanes, less curves.
I began regular trips to the Detroit Metro back in the mid-1960s. Yes, a GF was the reason. The western edge of the city, the suburbs on the west side, and the suburbs on the northwest side were oft-visited by this Bear. Telegraph Road was a regular route, including enjoying those famous "Michigan Lefts" or whatever you call them.
The city and the inner-ring suburbs seemed to be filled with miles and miles of little white bungalows. Every major road (such as Eight Mile) was wide and often had the parallel small business service streets, allowing the speed on the main road to be maintained at an "acceptable Motor City level". In the 1960s I shopped in the downtown area (Christmas season at Hudson's), watched hockey at Olympia, marveled at the big (and very traditional) skyline of the CBD and the small (and newer) skyline out near Northland Center (one of the world's first bigger shopping centers).
I spent considerable time in the Birmingham area, a second-ring or third-ring suburb in the north metro. A short drive up Adams Road quickly led to rolling farm land. By the mid-1070s those farms were gone and a sizeable chunk of Metropolitan Detroit's wealth had moved into the area.
This week's trip to Detroit led Katie and this Bear up US 23, across many miles of I-94 (right into the heart of Detroit), on to M-10, a short jaunt on I-75, a tad bit of I-375. We enjoyed a night of baseball at one of the sport's newest ballparks. My blue eyes caught sight of that great sports bar, Hockeytown, the magnificent Fox Theater, the Detroit Opera House. My memories slid back to seeing Neil Diamond (in the late 1960s) perform at the beautiful Masonic.
Memories include many a ball game at Tiger Stadium, Top Hat Hamburgs (similar to the White Castle "sliders", Bass Pro (northern suburbs), taking Katie to a Christmas Day Lions vs Broncos game, trying to find my GF's new house (on a little Detroit street just off Fenkell), driving all of Outer Drive, hearing the scream of college women in their undies (mad because I was in a friend's room, campus of University of Detroit), gasoline for 19.9-cents a gallon (Telegraph Road "gas war"), Detroit Metro Airport (numerous times), Masco Corporation World HQ (because I worked for one of their companies).
My final Detroit comment: On my drive this week, seeing all of that traffic, all those new buildings (suburbs) seeming to replace all those old buildings (in the core).....Metropolitan Detroit is still a HUGE place and it still harbors a whole lot of power. It ain't "dead"......fer' sure.
Central Dayton has only been a "drive-thru" for this Bear. I-75 cuts a swath just to the west of the CBD. The downtown skyline appears to be a smaller version of Toledo's skyline (and Toledo's is not very big).
Years ago I dated a school teacher from a suburb of Dayton, West Carrollton. That suburb seemed prosperous (aka "busy"). I remember that the terrain was somewhat hilly.
What say you? Any metro impressions?