In just a few days, thousands of my favorite people will arrive in Detroit for the ninth Netroots Nation. This event will be the culmination of tens of thousands of work hours on the part of the staff, the board, the panelists, the trainers, the volunteers, and no doubt others who have invested their time and creativity in producing the best NN to date.
As an active volunteer member of the host committee, I'm happy to welcome you all to Detroit. If you didn't know it already, Detroit is a complex city, a bellwether once again for all the ills that plague us generally throughout the U.S.: racism, economic disinvestment, and political disenfranchisement, to name only a few.
But you'll hear more about all of that at the event itself. This diary is intended to provide some specific tips to help people arrive safely and peacefully, and to get as much out of their stay as possible.
Arriving in Detroit
For those flying in, the NN14 tips regarding ground transportation from the airport to downtown are great. Please check out this link.
While on that page, you'll see a decent map of downtown and tips about local transportation when you are at NN14. This information applies, of course, to everyone once on site. The NN staff have done a good job of preparation considering our limited public resources.
For those driving in, the situation is different.
First, there are a few important road closures worthwhile to know. (Thanks to 2thanks for these specific details.)
1. MAJOR FREEWAY CLOSURE west of Detroit: I-96, one of the main east-west freeways in the city, is closed west of Detroit in Livonia and Redford between I-275 to Telegraph IN BOTH DIRECTIONS. Some north-south bridges are open. For the current list of bridge closures, see here.Then, if you bring a car, you must park it somewhere.
Closure of this three and/or four-lane freeway causes major slowdowns on other east-west routes. Best to avoid the two parallel surface streets north and south of the closed freeway, especially during the three rush hours (7 a.m. to 9 a.m. eastbound, 12 noon to 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.westbound).
2. Road closure immediately adjacent to Cobo Center: The road that wrapped around the circular extension (the Grand Ballroom) of Cobo Center is permanently closed, starting about 7 days ago. Google and Mapquest both still show a road, but all concrete is gone. That slope will become a greenspace. The road used to connect the southernmost end of Washington Boulevard with Atwater Street.
Each hotel has its own policy about overnight parking; for many, they levy a charge in addition to the room cost. However, for those staying overnight, I would personally not feel comfortable parking in a public street lot even if it is less expensive.
For those who are commuting locally, parking is another matter. The least expensive lots are, not surprisingly, on the outskirts of downtown. (Thanks to 2thanks for these tips as well.) See this link for an interactive map. Most of these lots are attended during the day, but not at night, so some reasonable caution is recommended when returning to your car after dark.
There are two free parking structures, in fact, both unsurprisingly associated with casinos: Greektown Casino Parking, and MGM Casino Parking. The advantage to the Greektown structure is that it is located at a People Mover stop, so getting there and back is relatively convenient.
Speaking of the People Mover, scroll down at the Getting There link for the NN14 information about it. Please note that the People Mover only travels one way: clockwise. The whole loop takes about 15 minutes to complete. Fare = $0.75.
And speaking of local commuters: Kossack 2thanks has also offered to be part of a daily carpool, starting and ending at his house in a wonderful neighborhood in NW Detroit. Please Kosmail him if you are interested.
After the jump there's more information on tours; political demonstrations; weather.
NB: a diary introducing the Daily Kos Welcome Team will be posted late today or early tomorrow. So far, I have these folks as volunteers:
navajo, 714day, belinda ridgewood, side pocket, SharonRB, susans, skohayes, thankgodforairamerica, Dave in Northridge, 2thanks, and me.
If I've missed anyone, or you want to join the fun, please drop me a Kosmail ASAP. Many thanks in advance! The only expectation, per belinda ridgewood:
if you see one of us, come up and say hi and we swear we will be friendly and receptive and not at all scary.Now for info on tours etc. etc....
I've started to promote a private, custom walking tour of downtown Detroit led by Michael Boettcher, a professional urban planner and tour guide. Please see this diaryfor details. The key info: tour times on Friday, 3:30-5:30; Sunday 9:00-11:00; Sunday 12:00-2:00. Send me an email, please, to peregrinekate AT gmail DOT com if you want to be on the list; I'll send you instructions about how to pre-register. If we make the minimum of ten per tour, we'll allow walk-ins too.
Kossack gordonsoderberg just posted a diary offering tours of the Veterans Village and Farm City Detroit. Please check out his diary for details.
Word has it that there will be a small but lively crew going out to bird early Sunday morning. If this possibility intrigues you, please drop me a Kosmail.
Rally and Demonstration against Detroit Water Emergency
Taking advantage of the platform--and the potential participants--offered by NN14, the National Nurses United and dozens of other groups are sponsoring a rally and march on Friday, July 18. Gathering will start at 12:30 outside Cobo Center; the march will start at 1:00, with a rally in central Hart Plaza at 1:45.
Please join us if at all possible. The water crisis in Detroit is an international scandal, as has been diaried here and here, among others. I have a recent diary here, including mention of one of the panels during which the issue will be discussed. The link to the National Nurses United post about the event is here.
Note as well that there will be a special keynote presentation about the water emergency featuring local activists on Saturday, July 19, starting at 9:30. Details will soon be available via the NN14 site.
Food and Other Fun
A few of us labored long and hard to put together a list of local attractions (still to be expanded), including restaurants, landmarks, and other sites of interest, for locals or visitors to enjoy. Please check out the NN14 Dining and Activity Guide to get started.
Alas, for some of you already en route, this information might arrive too late. But I hope that you've checked out the weather forecast to learn that we will be enduring unseasonably cold weather for the first couple of days of the event. According to the National Weather Service today, we can expect lovely, sunny skies throughout most of the week, but cool temperatures: highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s. Believe me, that is exceptionally temperate for mid-July. So please plan accordingly.
I think that does it for now. Please watch this space for updates, and for the next diary on the Daily Kos Welcome Team.
I'm delighted to be part of this effort and thrilled that NN14 is happening in my hometown. Welcome to Detroit!