PHOTOS: Launch of Detroit’s MoGo bike sharing system another step in city’s transformation

Volunteers on MoGo’s maiden voyage.

MoGo, the new Detroit bike sharing system, launched today, and your intrepid 8-Wood correspondent was invited to attend the event and lead a group ride from the New Center to one of the new stations that have sprung up downtown.

First of all, props to the MoGo team for the creative solution they devised for the initial deployment of the 300-some bikes at the 43 stations — the alternative was delivering all 430 bikes via truck. The event also did a good job building support among Detroit’s bike set.

The launch ceremony was heavy on participation from employees of Henry Ford Health System and Health Alliance Plan, MoGo’s title sponsors, and also from employees from organizations that sponsored stations <raises hand>.

Members of the Night Owl Riders.

But there were also plenty of bike-scene insiders like Todd Scott of the Detroit Greenways Coalition, former Detroit and L.A. cop-turned bike evangelist Thomas Page, the Slow Roll set and many others. From a pure networking perspective, this was a lot of fun, like a paparazzi of the Detroit bike scene.

MoGo makes its debut during the same month as the launch of the QLine, the 3.3-mile streetcar line connecting downtown Detroit to the New Center along Woodward Avenue. I suspect it may take some time for people in this car-dependent metropolis to acclimate to this sudden transformation of their fair city, and to figure out how the two forms of transportation work both independently and in complement.

Or maybe it won’t, and people will take to it immediately, like they took to the (admittedly free) QLine. Who can really predict anything anymore, in this upside-down, topsy-turvy Trump era?

“While we’re here to celebrate the launch of MoGo, we’re here for so much more,” said Lisa Nuszkowski, executive director of the MoGo program with the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “We’re here to connect people and communities, we’re here to transform transportation, and we’re here to change the way people think about mobility in Detroit one MoGo ride at a time.”

You can find out all the information about MoGo here, including fares, station map, route information and mobile apps.

Or you can check out the post I helped write for Daily Detroit on whether MoGo is right for you, and how MoGo is the new friends with benefits.)

Lisa Nuszkowski, executive director of Detroit Bike Share for the Downtown Detroit Partnership, speaks at the launch event. Behind her is Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, MoGo’s presenting sponsor.

I took the QLine to the event today from my job downtown, making me an ideal user of Detroit’s multifaceted new transportation options.

In general, I am more optimistic about MoGo than the QLine, though my outlook for the latter is cautiously brightening. I think bike sharing will be great for the city, a boon for businesses and public health, and one more draw from an economic development and tourism perspective.

Bike sharing is yet another way that Detroit is transforming into a different city, right before our eyes.

The other day I was driving through Midtown and stopped at a red light at Woodward next to the HopCat brewpub on Canfield. It was a warm, sunny day, and I had the window open. I heard an unfamiliar ding of a bell, and looked up to see a QLine streetcar, packed full of people, pass in front of me. The colors of the cityscape wrap that adorned the streetcar played off the colors of the mural painted on the side of the HopCat building.

It was almost disorienting, like I was in a different city.

Only it’s Detroit, and it’s changing.



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