Rosa Parks Transit Center

At the intersection of Cass Avenue and Michigan Avenue in downtown Detroit

If you wish to see imaginative, new architecture in downtown Detroit, please visit the Rosa Parks Transit Center.  For years, most of the city’s bus routes to downtown interchanged passengers in Capitol Park.  That was not a very convenient location and hardly had the requisite space.  It was also gradually becoming a run-down area.   The city of Detroit realized that building a new transit center would be a desirable option.  Work began in 2007 on the 22.5-million-dollar facility that you see picture above.  As you observe, it features gossamer-like canopies, making it unique in downtown Detroit.

The transit center is a hub for 20 bus routes of Detroit Department of Transportation, several routes of the SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation) system that serves the suburbs, the Transit Windsor route that takes passengers from Detroit, under the river, to Canada.  There is also a People Mover stop.  You can easily alight from a bus and then travel to any of the downtown spots served by the People Mover.  There is also a police station located in this building.

I have not determined the best perspective for appreciating the architectural features of this building.  You get an interesting view from the People Mover trains.

In 2009, plans were announced to redevelop Capitol Park as part of the redevelopment of the western necklace around downtown Detroit.  Capitol Park, however, will not be used as a bus exchange point.

This building is named for the civil rights activist, Rosa Parks.  Born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1913, she is credited with helping to initiate the modern civil rights movement when she refused an order to move to the rear of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955.  Her action led to a successful protest movement in that city,  the emergence of Dr. Martin Luther King as a civil rights leader, and eventually, to enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Open Housing Act of 1968.  In 1957, Rosa Parks’ husband accepted a job on the staff of Representative John Conyers.  The Parks moved to Detroit and Rosa Park resided in this city until her death at age 92.

Opened: July, 2009
Architect for the building: Tushar Advani of Parsons, Brinckeroff of Detroit
Designer and builder of canopy: USAShade and Fabric of Costa Mesa, California
Use in 2009: Transit Center
City of Detroit Designated Historic District: Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites: Not listed
National Register of Historic Places: Not listed
Picture:  Ren Farley; August, 2009
Description prepared: November, 2009


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