The Detroit People Mover, a True Hidden Gem

The Detroit People Mover has been a staple of the city of Detroit since it first opened to the public on July 31, 1987. Now almost 30 years later the People Mover is still going strong. The system is made up of 12 driverless vehicles that are automated and computer controlled going across a 2.9 mile radius, which equals a nearly 15 minute ride round trip. Of the 13 stations, 8 of the stations, like the GMRENCEN have been built into an existing building providing ease for those who work in downtown Detroit to get around.

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With 13 stations across the system, the People Mover makes stops to some of Detroit’s most famous attractions, including:

  • Times Square, this station acts as home base for the People Mover.
  • Grand Circus Park, the sports and entertainment district. You can catch a show at the Fox Theatre or a baseball game with the Detroit Tigers. Grand Circus Park station features the famous, Catching Up piece by J. Seward Johnson Jr.

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  • Broadway, the home of the state of the art YMCA recreational center.
  • Cadillac Center, which features shopping and other amazing attractions.
  • Greektown, which houses many authentic Greek cuisine restaurants, unique bakeries, and of course the Greektown Casino, which by the end of 2016 will be referred to as, Jack Detroit-Hotel Casino Greektown.
  • Bricktown, where you can find different eateries, pubs, local art, and even jazz clubs.
  • Millender Center, featuring the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.
  • Financial District, where architect lovers find paradise, featuring buildings like the Penobscot, Guardian, and Ford buildings and home to Detroit’s major financial institutions headquartered in this area.
  • Cobo Center where you can find the North American International Auto Show among many other trade and specialty shows throughout the year.
  • Fort/Cass, this station is for the news lover. With many news/media outlets in the area it’s sure to capture any true journalists’ heart. This station also features the ‘World’s Largest Book Store’—John King Used & Rare Book.
  • Joe Louis Arena home to many concerts, sporting events, and family friendly entertainment.

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 GMRENCEN Station Fast facts:

  • In 2014 the GMRENCEN was the second most heavily trafficked stop for the People Mover, coming in at 487,758 passengers.
  • The GMRENCEN station features art, funded by GM and created by two artists by the name of George Woodman and a Michigan artist by the name of Marshall Fredricks.
  • The tile mural, Path Games, is a replacement for the first tile mural created by Woodman, Voyagers Come to Detroit when the Renaissance Center station underwent some construction changes.
  • The tile work by Woodman contains 2,625 pieces and features Detroit’s historic Pewabic tile.

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We know that the station stops on the People Mover all feature unique artwork, tile work and statue pieces, but did you know…

Originally all the stations were supposed to all look the same, featuring absolutely no artwork?

In 1984 Irene Walt and the Downtown Detroit People Mover Art Commission, a volunteer committee, formed because they wanted to incorporate a little diversity and beauty into each station. Now, each one of our People Mover stations features some of the most beautiful public art pieces in the country.

Since then the art featured in each of the People Mover stops has been published in a book by Irene Walt herself, entitled Art in the Stations.

art-stations Book Cover

Go on an adventure and experience Detroit in a new way by catching a ride on the People Mover! Share with us your favorite piece of Detroit People Mover art in the comments below!