Yesterday happened to be the 25th birthday of Detroit's People Mover. Though its route is only 3 miles, it cost a fortune to build and costs a fortune to maintain. The People Mover was made for a future that never arrived. Neal Rubin of Detroit News:
It was supposed to carry tens of thousands of daily passengers who had arrived on our shiny new light-rail system.
Unfortunately, the light-rail system was never built, so we wound up with a hole and no doughnut.
It's a nice hole, mind you, clean and safe and quite handy when you need it. But it's been luckless from the start, and was an unwitting victim of the Hudson's implosion on Oct. 24, 1998.
I'd let myself into the abandoned department store a year before with a demolition expert. Looks like an enjoyable project, he'd said, but it's complicated and unpredictable. If you don't use wrecking balls, you'll need to build a steel cage to protect the People Mover track.
Naturally, the city opted not to shell out for the cage, even though the route ran only 12 feet behind the store. A chunk of the 439-foot-tall building took a wrong turn and punched out a 350-foot length of track, and the People Mover was out of commission for a year.