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. Coronavirus

    The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

    The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

  2. Traffic-free Times Square in New York City
    Maps

    Mapping How Cities Are Reclaiming Street Space

    To help get essential workers around, cities are revising traffic patterns, suspending public transit fares, and making more room for bikes and pedestrians.

  3. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  4. Perspective

    Coronavirus Reveals Transit’s True Mission

    Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

  5. photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.
    Coronavirus

    Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

    Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

×