What can you do?

Last summer our car was roaring. I took it to a national chain muffler place figuring it would be cheap and they said 500-1200, that there was a hole in the muffler. I found the whole, maybe the size of a half dollar and asked if they could patch it. They looked at me as if I had asked something possible, but highly specialized and unlikely. How? they asked. Weld a patch over it, I offered. We can't weld was the response--I mean, we don't have a welder we just install.

This struck me then and now as somehow sad, but entirely possible--that the simplest and most direct method of making something work was not an option. This shop on Burt Road near Outer Drive has this very promising sign (see above.) I came upon the place and the sign last summer after the roaring muffler had been silenced by more extreme means (that's another story.) Today that sign is flanked by a number of hand lettered signs advertising individual abilities--snow removal, lawn clean ups, roaches exterminated. 

If you had a sign, what would you want to put on it? What would you offer to share with the world (for money or for barter) that you can do?


Detroit Bus: Creative Response to Critical Condition

If you're in Detroit and rely on public transit you have a long wait as part of your day (even those riding the well-served routes east west along Jefferson by the river, and the north south axis of Woodward Avenue.) In recent weeks, the situation has become even more trying, including a week day during which all bus service was either suspended or encumbered with delays of up to 3 hours (this day followed an incident in which a driver was involved in a physical altercation with passengers.)

As is most often the case, the city's neighborhoods with the fewest resources bear the brunt of these shortages. Further from downtown density, further from the affluence that is providing Midtown with feet on the street and the development around the Wayne State/ Tech Town areas.

In Brightmoor, a neighborhood in the northern fringes, bus service is a vital link--to get to work, to school. Waiting is for the patient. This hand made stop is one of several along Outer Drive that I admire for its creativity. And its padded seats--a nice touch for offering comfort in the cold.

With a physical infrastructure that extends physically and financially beyond the city's current capacity, the public transit system is burdened by a rising cost/declining revenue challenge. I started thinking about how the network of buses, drivers and stops could be utilized in a way to leverage this infrastructure and offer this bus plus scenario, by which buses participate as delivery services, food drops, roving resources.