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Everything posted by Khorasaurus

  1. Check out one the buildings that became 50 Monroe in the background to the right. Looks like it's in pretty rough shape. Also, it is just me, or does that area feel less dense in that picture? It's rare to look at an old picture and have the city feel less dense...I guess that says good things about the development of GR in the last 30 years.
  2. Public transportation and walking/biking go hand in hand. You can't walk from 60th to Downtown, but you could take the BRT and then walk to your destination - which would be healthier and more environmentally friendly than driving the whole way. Lots of people already bike to the nearest bus stop and then ride the bus across town. Also I think giving people transportation options that are less expensive than a car but can get you further than a bike makes them less dependent on other government services and therefore saves everyone money.
  3. I'll take a shot at a couple (don't have time right now to look up an answer to 4 (although you should google Washington DC's Orange Line) or 5). 1) The economy isn't going to be awful forever. This thing won't go into service for a couple of years and in the meantime the construction will create jobs. When we come out of the recession, Grand Rapids needs to be in a position to compete globally and transit is one way to help. 2) The state and federal money to build the BRT has already been taxed and already been budgeted. If it doesn't get spent here, it WILL get spent elsewhere. This is different than the bonds the Federal Government is selling to China so it can buy struggling private companies (like AIG and Chrysler). As for the local money, I guess you could object to have to pay a few more cents every month in property taxes, but that isn't "our children's money" - it's ours. 3)The initial cost is very small compared to the long term benefit. It is also small compared to other major transit upgrades (i.e. South Beltline, widening I-196, etc.) Further, the money for the initial startup has already been taxed, has already been budgeted, and will be spent regardless. 6)This is a point that hasn't been talked about enough. There are several reasons why BRT creates more development potential than regular buses. First, BRT is more permanent. The Rapid could, at its discretion, eliminate any of the routes in the system. It will not do that with the BRT because of the investment. Therefore, developers know they can advertise their properties as being "transit adjacent" in perpetuity. Second, picture the process of riding BRT versus a regular bus. With a regular bus, you're waiting on a street corner with no indication of whether the bus will arrive on time or not. You feel like a schmuck. People look at you funny. No developer will build a building to more easily facilitate you standing on the street corner like a schmuck. With BRT, you're waiting in a station, ticket already in hand, and with a screen telling you when the next bus will arrive. You feel like a savvy, earth-friendly, big-city commuter. Developers want to attract savvy, green, urban commuters and build developments with built in stations, making waiting for the bus even less onerous. If you've ever ridden a subway or the El in Chicago, you know what I mean by the above example. It's just fundamentally different than waiting for a bus. The BRT won't be quite that level, but it will be a step in that direction. 7) First, much of Division is 7 lanes wide right now (two parking, four driving, one turning). Second, even if Division becomes three lanes wide (two driving, one turning), why would that be a problem? If it's slightly congested, use Eastern or 131 or...ride the Silver Line! 8) Forever. I ride Philadelphia's 80 year old subway system to grad school every day. Yes, there have been upgrades over the years, but they cost less than your standard road upgrades. If the system needs to be replaced with something better, then it will have succeeded in attracting ridership. More likely is that the system succeeds and other lines (Lake Drive, Alpine, 28th Street, GVSU) get built.
  4. It's pretty clearly 68 dollars per year if you read that post again. It's also 68 dollars per rider, not 68 dollars per taxpayer. The $1.50 being quoted is what it costs a passenger to ride the bus. It costs more than that per passenger to operate the bus (although the per passenger costs go down the more people ride and at a certain point the bus system concievably could make money, although no systems do because, as you say, at that point they have to add buses). Anyway, what we're talking about here is a millage to pay for the gap between what it costs the user and the operation costs. The increase in property taxes in less than a dollar per month for the average West Michigan homeowner.
  5. Actually, your car costs: 1) What you paid for it (I'm assuming 3k) 2) The cost of the roads you drive on 3) The cost of fuel 4) The cost of cops to make sure you don't hit other cars with your car 5) The environmental costs of you driving by yourself For the record, I'm a Republican/Libertarian, but improving public transit is a short term cost that reaps long term benefits.
  6. This is a major relief. That seemed like a bizarre obstacle to have to overcome. Also, where is the sudden opposition to the startup streetcar line coming from? It's not a choice between rail, buses and cars...we need all of them, and with the Obama administration making transit a priority, now is the time to start building our system.
  7. What the hell? How will this effect GR's streetcar plan? What is the point of making this law only apply to Detroit? Another thing that occured to me...doesn't this legislation basically prevent the Woodward streetcar from being extended past 8 Mile...or for that matter, through Highland Park, which is on the Phase 1 route plan?
  8. It looks pretty cool in these aerials, but I think it was a shoe factory and then a parking garage, so if it still existed today it would have needed serious renovations to be a nice building. The second aerial (from the 60s?) is pretty jarring. Was Calder Plaza empty like that for very long? The other thing is that Monroe Center was about to get a lot worse before it got better, with the "Dime Store" block falling for the Amphitheatre (although I think Rosa Parks Circle is an asset today) and, worse, the block where the Art Museum is now falling for a parking lot.
  9. In that shot, you can see really well how the block between Pearl and Lyon is crooked because that's where they pushed it through to connect then-Justice Street to Ottawa. Originally they were seperate (I think because of disagreements between Campau and Lucious Lyon.)
  10. This picture reminds me...does anyone else think Michigan Street needs some streetscape sprucing up? With all the economic development going on there and all the out-of-towners it will attract, I think the street needs to look a little less like 28th Street with bigger buildings. A median, more attention to the pedestrian (this may already be a lost cause), and more attractive traffic lights with better signage would all go a long way. Plus, the way the lanes weave as you come down the hill is dangerous and confusing. Maybe the BRT stations there will help...does anyone know if there are streetscape improvement plans in the works? Maybe for after all the buildings are finished?
  11. Will there be other retail or was that wishful thinking on my part?
  12. I think the UICA facade is going to be at Fulton and Division, but most of their theatre space is going to be back in the tower by Commerce, on the second floor above other retail. That would explain the sign on the window. Someone can correct me if this is wrong.
  13. Are there any pictures or renderings at this point? What you describe sounds absolutely awesome.
  14. Apologies if everyone has already seen this. It's from the study done for BRT and LRT in Detroit. There are some cool diagrams of how BRT and LRT would integrate into roads of different widths. (down near the bottom) http://www.dtogs.com/PublicDocs.html
  15. Slightly off what you guys are talking about right now, but...is there anything going on in the tall thin red brick building at Monroe and Lyon (between AGP and DeVos Place)? I thought it was going to be part of the convention center, but it just looks empty. What's up?
  16. You make a good point...still even the covered-up Peck would have looked better with a seven story tower with windows on top.
  17. About the south side of the building...it abuts two other buildings. Right up against them, I assume, or maybe a little alley in between. Next to the tallest part of the development, there is going to be a six story building, meaning of the "blank" south side, only the top three floors will be visible - or even have the possiblility of having windows. As for the Commerce side, it seems like floors 2-4 are sort of blank, but there is a residential entrance or storefront there, so it's not like it isn't pedestrian friendly. This is a great development filling in a vacant lot. Why can't we ever be satisfied with anything?
  18. Yeah I agree. That's why I made that one Calder Plaza/DeVos Place. It certainly should not be named "Monroe" or "Michigan" or "Lyon." That would be uncreative and actually more confusing.
  19. Does anyone want to discuss station names? We got onto another topic pretty quickly after I posted this. If not, that's ok.
  20. What do you guys think the names of the stations will be? My guess , based on the new maps I would say: Streetcar south to north: Rapid Central Station Oakes Street/Heartside Van Andel Arena Fulton Street Rosa Parks Circle Calder Plaza/DeVos Place Trowbridge Street Newberry/Sixth Street Bridge BRT South to North (Division route) 60th/Cutlerville 54th 44th 36th 28th Burton/Garfield Park Hall Franklin Wealthy/St. Mary's Health Center Cherry/Heartside Weston/Monument Square Fountain/GRCC Ottawa/Calder Plaza Rosa Parks Circle Fulton/Van Andel Arena Rapid Central Station What do you guys think?
  21. The other thing that stands out is those hideous rectangular metal traffic light/street sign holders. They pretty much scream "our downtown got urban renewaled and pedestrian malled to death but at least we have super cool ultra modern traffic light holders!"
  22. What about the ITP/Ellis lot across the street? Would that work as a possible location. It's a giant surface lot and it wouldn't require tearing anything else down.
  23. Here's the question: Would people in GR still call it 131 if it was renamed I-67? I know people in St. Louis call I-70 "Highway 40" even though it hasn't been named that in decades.
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