Flickr/jasonparis

Seen by many as an urban-planning boondoggle, there's a cultured side to the city's humble light rail system.

The Detroit People Mover may be best known for its limited reach in the sprawled-out city it serves. But for 5,300 daily riders, it's also a place to see some really great art.

In use since 1987, all 13 stations on the 2.9-mile system have their own personalities, thanks to the unique artwork that exists at each one. Initiated by local public-art advocate Irene Walt in 1984, the Downtown Detroit People Mover Art Commission, also known as "Art in the Stations," made sure each DPM station was more than just turnstiles and concrete walls. To promote the new transit system shortly after its debut, the commission presented its work in a video (a 90-second teaser is below):

Art In The Stations: Detroit People Mover from Sue Marx Films Inc. on Vimeo.

The pieces at each station reference everything from frantic commuters to the finance industry to (of course) cars. For a museum-worthy experience, you can get a guided tour of all the art through the DPM itself—as long as you make a reservation and bring at least nine friends with you. For a more convenient tour, Curbed Detroit has its own ode to the DPM's art collection on their site today, sharing a striking photo essay by local photographers Michelle and Chris Gerard as well as a station-by-station explainer.

A new 3.3-mile light rail system is planned that will connect to the People Mover by late 2016. Ideally, that'll give the nearly 30-year-old system not only a much-needed boost in ridership, but perhaps a new wave of appreciation for its underrated art collection.

H/T Curbed Detroit

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. People eat and drink coffee inside a small coffeehouse.
    Life

    Gentrification Is Hurting Kuala Lumpur's Iconic Coffee Shops

    Traditional kopitiams, which serve sweetened coffee in no-frills surroundings, are a part of Malaysian national identity, but their survival is precarious.

  2. A new map of neighborhood change in U.S. metros shows where displacement is the main problem, and where economic decline persists.
    Equity

    From Gentrification to Decline: How Neighborhoods Really Change

    A new report and accompanying map finds extreme gentrification in a few cities, but the dominant trend—particularly in the suburbs—is the concentration of low-income population.

  3. The newsroom of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in 2009, when the owners filed for bankruptcy.
    Equity

    The Hidden Costs of Losing Your City's Newspaper

    Without watchdogs, government costs go up, according to new research.

  4. Transportation

    Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

    New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.

  5. A toddler breathes from a nebulizer while sitting in a crib.
    Environment

    How Scientists Discovered What Dirty Air Does to Kids’ Health

    The landmark Children’s Health Study tracked thousands of children in California over many years—and transformed our understanding of air pollution’s harms.