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Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

3,270 posts in this topic

Posted

The Chattanooga situation is unique because of terrain. Mountains.

US-131 to I-67? AMEN!! An ideal situation would be a bypass for US-31 south of TC, joining an extended US-131/I-67, then meeting up with I-75 before the straits. (there are some that say the US-31 bypass south of TC is a waste, no doubt by those that have never driving through TC in the summer)

Not sure how it happened, but US-131 is a spur off US-31. US-31 is the "main" artery.

And yes, I agree, US-131 should go all the way to Indy, or at least connecting with I-69 near Anderson. I'm sure the state and local governments in and around Indy would cooperate with this idea.

Grand Rapids is indeed unique for the lower 48. It's is the only major city sitting on a major interstate (two digit) that never leaves the state.

As for light rail: trains are a lot more expensive to operate, and can hold many more passengers. To justify cost, I foresee something running every 30 minutes in GR. Just my opinion based on life as I see it.

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Posted

As for light rail: trains are a lot more expensive to operate, and can hold many more passengers. To justify cost, I foresee something running every 30 minutes in GR. Just my opinion based on life as I see it.

I'd be interested to see a comparison of operating costs between busses and light rail.

I would be interested in buying a home along a light rail line. And I'm sure there are a lot of other people who would as well.

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Posted

^I second that... If property values go up on the account of a transit line then I can see a lot of people buying houses and property just to get in on the deal.

Personally I can see LRT changing the perspective of people as they commute. Imagine this sceneiro: you're stoped at a light on 44th and Eastern. ALL Traffic is suspended and zooming through the traffic light are LRT vehicles. After seeing that and having to wait while these privledge riders cruise by would greatly influence my decision to commute on a LRT line.

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Posted

^I second that... If property values go up on the account of a transit line then I can see a lot of people buying houses and property just to get in on the deal.

Personally I can see LRT changing the perspective of people as they commute. Imagine this sceneiro: you're stoped at a light on 44th and Eastern. ALL Traffic is suspended and zooming through the traffic light are LRT vehicles. After seeing that and having to wait while these privledge riders cruise by would greatly influence my decision to commute on a LRT line.

yeah but then the LRT stops just down the street at a stop and the car goes right past it.

People who want to save time, have fexibility, and have control are not going to ride LRT regularly.

People who want to save money, the environment, or just think its cool are regular riders.

don't get me wrong I thing LRT is cool and would work here on a few routes but it woudl take time to catch on

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Posted

Changes don't happen overnight or as fast as some of us would like them. It will take time to change people's perception of things (transportaion, public schools etc.) I think it is good progress and starting with a few main lines and hopefully as time goes by, more and more people will gain interest and then we can branch out into more routes or further destinations.

yeah but then the LRT stops just down the street at a stop and the car goes right past it.

People who want to save time, have fexibility, and have control are not going to ride LRT regularly.

People who want to save money, the environment, or just think its cool are regular riders.

don't get me wrong I thing LRT is cool and would work here on a few routes but it woudl take time to catch on

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Posted (edited)

yeah but then the LRT stops just down the street at a stop and the car goes right past it.

People who want to save time, have fexibility, and have control are not going to ride LRT regularly.

People who want to save money, the environment, or just think its cool are regular riders.

don't get me wrong I thing LRT is cool and would work here on a few routes but it woudl take time to catch on

But if you're going down 44th, how many lights would you have to hit just to get between the area out near the airport and Eastern or Division? LRT might only have 2-3 stops.

For me flexibilty is knowing that there would be a service that is affordable and runs every 10 minutes.

Edited by Rizzo

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Posted

Kooiman reintroduces ITP bill....

Now that an agreement has been reached in principle, the bill has been put forward. :thumbsup:

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Posted

Bill is SIGNED.

This month's Grand Rapids Magazine (in the intro from the editor) says that in talking with The RAPID, they hope to have preliminary engineering work done and a plan in place by next July. From there, then it's off to the FTA to apply for funding.

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Posted

That was fast. Now the real wait is upon us.

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Posted

*dances*

That wait is going to feel like forever. =[

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Posted

Bill is SIGNED.

I wish election years came around more often............ :thumbsup:

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Posted

I think this is a good direction for GR to take. We need to build a good mass transit system while there is still enough land to allow it to be done. BRT might be a good option. But LRT is what I would like to see. Its proven technology which provides a smoother ride and is very rebust which is need to accomadate increasing demand. Plus doing BRT Buses on fixed guidways is just as expensive as going all out with a an LRT system. I also support extending US-131 to the border to gain better access to two other GR sized metros Ft. Wayne and South Bend. Lasting I agree with the image stigma of taking the bus. People just don't take buses. Trains on the other hand has a curtain coolness factor to it to lure atleast some out of their cars.

One more thing I'd like to see happen is the state and local governments to pass laws placing hard limits on urban sprawl. (Look at Oregan and Portland as examples) This would forces cities to reinvest in themselves and save green spaces. It would also make it easier to implement and maintain mass transit options since the hard limits would force density to increase and thus provide the need number of riders to turn a profit.

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Posted

One more thing I'd like to see happen is the state and local governments to pass laws placing hard limits on urban sprawl. (Look at Oregan and Portland as examples) This would forces cities to reinvest in themselves and save green spaces. It would also make it easier to implement and maintain mass transit options since the hard limits would force density to increase and thus provide the need number of riders to turn a profit.

Has there been talk in the past of having a "greenbelt" tax? Do you think the area could / would support such a millage? There was one passed in Washtenaw Country (Ann Arbor area) a few years back, and from what I have read, a lot of prime farmland and otherwise undeveloped land has been saved from backhoes and cement trucks.

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Posted (edited)

In Ann Arbor, the City and Township have a special millage that all the residents pay, and the funds are used to buy development rights for farmland on the outskirts. I believe the City has a department that evaluates and ranks all the potential pieces of land to determine which ones get purchased. Of course, the landowner has to be willing to participate, too. It seems to work, but its rather controversial. Its detractors say that all it does is push the sprawl out another ten miles, which seems like a valid point to me. But this seems a lot more workable then drawing a line on a map and saying "no development on the other side of this line". You gotta give them credit for trying something, though! Sorry, I'm getting a little off topic. :blush:

Edited by torgo

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Posted

Here is an article published in Rapid Growth-Grand Rapids

http://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/newmobile.aspx

The article talks about the growth in ridership on the Rapid over the past few years. Also mentions that the Grand Rapids Metro area is continuing to look into a larger Mass transit system for the area.

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Posted

Francishsu posted this in the Coffee House section already, but I thought it appropiate for this thread also.

Haven't seen any publicity about this, but I found a blurb in the Wyoming Advance.

QUOTE

Topics of discussion will include cooperative efforts among local, state, and federal agencies; local communities; and citizens as they all strive to achieve a vision of West Michigan's transportation needs through 2035.

Resident knowledge of their area and input in the planning process is crucial to developing the best overall plan, according to the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council, which will oversee the forums.

[...]

Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at The Rapid, 300 Ellsworth St. SW in Grand Rapids.

June 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Wyoming Public Library, 3350 Michael Ave. SW.

June 20 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in room 142 of the Kirkhof Center on Grand Valley's Allendale Campus.

Call 776-7696 for more information.

I am going to try and attend tomorrow's meeting at The Rapid Central Station.

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Posted

Hey Urban Planners :shades:

If any of you have time this morning (Friday) between 10am and 11:30 at The Rapid Central Station (300 Ellsworth St. SW in Grand Rapids) there will be a Mass Transit public hearing put on by the GVMC. This will be a great way to voice our concerns and suggestions to the Planning Board. It would be great to show them public interest in these types of projects. I hope some of you will be able to attend :thumbsup:

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Posted

I went down to the conference on Friday morning. There was around 10 citizens attending including the representatives from MDOT, The Rapid, and GVMC who sponsored the meeting. Basically the gentleman from GVMC gave a 15-20 minute presentation on the 2035 Land Use/Transportation Master Plan including all forms of transportations (public transit, roads & highways to non-motorized bike paths and walkways. The current Long Range plan is required by the State to be revisited every 4 or 5 years. GVMC is currently making any corrections to the existing plan and plans to have a draft completed for public review later this Fall. At this time, citizens will have their change to voice any concerns or questions in regards to the presented plan.

After the presentation, I had the opportunity to talk with a nice gentleman working for The Rapid in the Mass Transit area. I asked about the possibility of Light Rail and he reiterated the facts as to why we cannot have our first stage being Light Rail. Though it is definitely something they are planning for so when the need is present it will be an easy transition in the future. He stressed that it is very important because we are submitting our first proposal for federal funding, that it be the most efficient, economical and appealing proposal. There are over 300 different cities that are or will be applying for federal aid and we need to make sure we are one this will be pick and not left behind.

He also talked about some of the differences in federal funding between the

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Posted

Awesomeness. So what did the current master plan seem to show, or did it even show anything?

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Posted

Awesomeness. So what did the current master plan seem to show, or did it even show anything?

They had around 3 large maps of the Grand Valley area that they cover (basically all of Kent County and five townships/communities in Ottawa County). They didn't show anything in great detail. The two routes that were mentioned were the southern route along Division Ave. and the Eastern route through East Grand Rapids to Woodland. When talking with The Rapid gentleman he seems to think the Division route is ahead of the Easten route. Basically along Division has the most ridership currently. He also mentioned that if/when they do the eastern route that they wouldn't go past the Woodland Mall area. He mentioned that there really wasn't enough density between there and the airport and that it would be a huge investment for not enough gain. He didn't say it would never be done, just that it wouldn't be included in the first few phases.

Also on a side note, he mentioned that they are really looking at BRT instead of street cars. The main reason for this is because a streetcar system would not be able to go up Michigan Hill. Something about street cars cannot go up a grade that is larger than 10 degrees. The BRT system though, would have a dedicated ROW or lane so they wouldn't have to deal with other vehicle traffic.

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Posted

Also on a side note, he mentioned that they are really looking at BRT instead of street cars. The main reason for this is because a streetcar system would not be able to go up Michigan Hill. Something about street cars cannot go up a grade that is larger than 10 degrees. The BRT system though, would have a dedicated ROW or lane so they wouldn't have to deal with other vehicle traffic.

Don't they have streetcars in San Francisco? :D

I think the grade issue is complicated by Michigan winters.

170422493_82c1cbc918_o.jpg

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Posted

Don't they have streetcars in San Francisco? :D

I think the grade issue is complicated by Michigan winters.

170422493_82c1cbc918_o.jpg

You have a valid point Civitas, however I think The Rapid was looking at a smaller scale street care than what they are using in San Francisco. I am sure the weather and climate have some input. He mentioned that the BRT system would have larger cars/busses that would hold more passengers than the street car system they were looking at.

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Posted

They had around 3 large maps of the Grand Valley area that they cover (basically all of Kent County and five townships/communities in Ottawa County). They didn't show anything in great detail. The two routes that were mentioned were the southern route along Division Ave. and the Eastern route through East Grand Rapids to Woodland. When talking with The Rapid gentleman he seems to think the Division route is ahead of the Easten route. Basically along Division has the most ridership currently. He also mentioned that if/when they do the eastern route that they wouldn't go past the Woodland Mall area. He mentioned that there really wasn't enough density between there and the airport and that it would be a huge investment for not enough gain. He didn't say it would never be done, just that it wouldn't be included in the first few phases.

Also on a side note, he mentioned that they are really looking at BRT instead of street cars. The main reason for this is because a streetcar system would not be able to go up Michigan Hill. Something about street cars cannot go up a grade that is larger than 10 degrees. The BRT system though, would have a dedicated ROW or lane so they wouldn't have to deal with other vehicle traffic.

Division has always been the busiest route, at least it was the whole time I was there. I think the other really busy routes are Eastern, Madison, Kalamazoo and Alpine. Michigan hill is always going to be a problem, especially in the winters. Even now, I hear the buses can have a hard time stopping safely when they are heading down the hill.

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Posted

Also on a side note, he mentioned that they are really looking at BRT instead of street cars. The main reason for this is because a streetcar system would not be able to go up Michigan Hill. Something about street cars cannot go up a grade that is larger than 10 degrees. The BRT system though, would have a dedicated ROW or lane so they wouldn't have to deal with other vehicle traffic.

Weren't the two routes in consideration 1) South Division and 2) East on Cherry or Wealthy? Why does the Michigan hill factor into the decision?

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Posted

Don't they have streetcars in San Francisco? :D

The cars you are thinking of in SF are Cable Cars, not street cars. They are called cable cars because a very long cable is pulled in a trough under the street on the cable car route. One of the carriages is engaged when the driver pulls a lever and a vice clams down on the cable. It is then pulled along by the cable until it disengates. The cable is powered by a centrally located wheel that is turned by electric motors. It's similar to a ski slope lift but with the cable buried under the street. It was specifically designed for the grades in SF. This is 19th century technology and the SF cable cars are unique as I believe they are the only system in the world that still uses it. Needless to say, this technology could not be used in Michigan with its freezing winters as the cables would freeze to the ground.

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