Supporting Member
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


organsnyder last won the day on June 1 2012

organsnyder had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

134 Excellent

About organsnyder

  • Rank
  • Birthday 03/30/84

Contact Methods

  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Grand Rapids: Garfield Park

Recent Profile Visitors

1207 profile views
  1. True—lack of parking for visitors isn't really the problem. Perhaps, in addition to adding the ability for monthly parkers to release their spots, we could also add functionality for non-monthly parkers to reserve spots in advance. I'd love the ability to reserve a spot for a day (with in-and-out privileges), rather than the current pay-per-entry model. Scheduling errands is a PITA for non-car commuters for this reason. Regardless of the specifics, I still firmly believe that our best return on investment will come from focusing on customer service and flexibility. I wouldn't mind seeing dynamic pricing, either—that could go a long way toward increasing utilization.
  2. You're hitting the nail on the head. Based on my vantage point (my office window has a direct view of the lots south of the arena, and I need to hunt for a space a few times per month), the lots are FAR from 95% capacity, at least if you count actual usage. That tells me that the low-hanging fruit to increase downtown mobility involves better utilization of existing infrastructure—providing incentives for people to trade in their monthly dedicated spaces for a more on-demand model. I'm not necessarily opposed to building another ramp, but I'd much rather we tackle utilization first—wouldn't we want to be able to build a ramp that can be 90%+ utilized (counting number of actual cars in actual spots), rather than the much lower utilization we have today? Let's start with something simple: Give monthly permit holders a way to "release" their spot for a day at a time, rewarding them with a small credit (even as low as $1) for doing so. Say you're on vacation, at home with a sick kid, etc.—your parking spot is going to be unused, anyways. So, you open up the GR Parking app, release your spot, and get your reward. The city can then sell that spot at the much higher daily rate, and one more downtown visitor now has a place to park. This is a win-win-win—the only downside is the initial cost to implement such a system (certainly one of the city parking department's existing vendors must have something like this?).
  3. The garage at our old house looked somewhat like this when I was working on it and discovered that a wall was rotted out. But I jacked it up so it wouldn't be in danger of collapsing. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I knew enough to do that.
  4. Everyone knows that exterior walls are never load-bearing.
  5. The Silver Line would meet that criteria, except that the routing once it gets downtown really screwed up the "rapid transit" part of BRT. It's extremely fast (on par with driving) all the way up to Wealthy. However, it often encounters traffic snags when it meanders by GRCC, Butterworth, etc. The stretch of Wealthy from Jefferson to Division is especially bad during the afternoon rush. I understand the rationale for this routing, but it really can slow things down. I usually prefer taking the #1 in the afternoons for this reason. Editing to add: I do agree that adding express BRT routes would greatly enhance commuting options for downtown.
  6. Funny you say that—I just started looking into it yesterday due to the discussion here. From my (mostly outsider) perspective, I don't think that we're doing enough to focus on how improved customer service and flexibility could better leverage our existing assets.
  7. No one is saying that everyone needs to stop driving and only get around on a bamboo-frame fixie. However, we also need to recognize that part of developing a comprehensive network that encourages all modes of transportation. Some modes of transportation are going to always be more expensive—both to the user, and for society—and they should be priced accordingly. For those of us that are willing and able to change our habits in ways that lower costs (I can't even really call it a sacrifice that I have to sit and read a book or listen to a podcast for an extra 25 minutes a day), the system should encourage it. As it is now, the system is incredibly inflexible: either you have a monthly parking pass, or you roll the dice in finding a spot. I contend that that is leading to increased usage of monthly passes by people that would be willing to use other modes, but that need the assurance of dedicated parking. If the system were more flexible (hell, even the ability to have multiple physical passes for a single spot to allow for easier sharing among colleagues), we could use our existing resources more efficiently. We may need more capacity, but that's not the main problem right now. We need to focus on how we can use our existing facilities to better serve the needs of the community. If we do that, than we'd also multiply the effectiveness of any added capacity we build in the future. A side note: I'd be happy if the city would just re-activate credit card processing. The whole system has been "out of order" for months, now.
  8. Alternative transportation is never going to fit 100% of use-cases—there will always be people who need to drive due to physical impairments, life/work requirements, etc. However, I'd venture to say that 75% of commuters could utilize other options if their usage patterns were better aligned with what the system is able to provide. This would require adjustment both on the part of the individuals (such as the realization that a 25-minute bus commute isn't really that much worse than a 10-minute car commute), and a system better equipped to serve them (better reliability, frequency, etc.). Regarding bike lanes: For them to really be effective, we need a comprehensive network; I'd say we're 30% there. Furthermore, they need to be maintained to the same level of service as the rest of our transportation network (what's the city's response time for clearing road debris from a bike lane compared to a normal vehicle lane?).
  9. There is a general perception that The Rapid is only used by people too poor to own a car. That's certainly not the reality (a lot of downtown commuters use it), but I wonder if this thinking permeates within The Rapid leadership as well. I'm sure it's not a conscious thing, but I doubt that many in The Rapid leadership actually use their service for their own daily commutes. I've noticed this throughout a lot of the "urbanist" crowd: Everyone wants transit and walkable communities, but most people still use their cars almost 100% of the time. I've found I have a different perspective after busing/walking to work for the past 1.5 years: I notice a lot of things—crosswalk timings, plows pushing snow up onto sidewalks, construction blocking sidewalks for a year at a time...—that I didn't notice before; most of these are minor annoyances, but some of them can be hazardous. If we're truly serious about effecting a mode shift, our city's leadership needs to experience it personally.
  10. We need to offer more flexible options. My hunch is that many monthly parkers would be willing to take the bus some of the time, but they've already paid for their reserved spot, so they might as well use it. If there were ways to purchase a part-time spot (yes, I realize that scheduling would be more complicated), I bet we could use our existing parking much more efficiently. Speaking from experience, here. I take the bus downtown, but some days (like tomorrow, when I have a doctor appointment at 10am) I wish I had a dedicated spot. Even the ability to reserve a spot the night before (at a rate somewhere between the daily cash rate and the per-day cost of a monthly pass) would be a huge benefit. I'm planning to work from home tomorrow morning, and go in to the office after my appointment. Many people don't have the luxury of such flexible working arrangements.
  11. That parking lot is owned by the Amway Grand Plaza. I've got to imagine that they have plans for it.
  12. Hardly anyone will see it with the lights that bright. I bet that accent and stage lighting will make it look very different.
  13. Maybe this would be a good fit:
  14. They were never a big destination. I work a skywalk-hop away, and I think I was there once or twice. With all of the other options, it never was foremost in my (or anyone else's) mind.