GRDadof3

Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

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

I think the grade issue is complicated by Michigan winters.

170422493_82c1cbc918_o.jpg

The cable car system in San Francisco actually has moving cables imbedded in the streets that are contantly moving like a ski lift. When the cable car driver is ready to go, he pulls a level that "clamps on" to the cable and away they go. The slope doesn't affect their motion, because they are being pulled.

edit: haha, what monsoon said. :D

Modern streetcars (LRT systems really) move on their own volition powered by electric current, so slippery slopes of more than 10 degrees would be a problem, like he stated. Especially with steel tracks and steel wheels.

I think the RAPID (and Peter Varga especially) know what he's doing and knows where we can attain the most success at the earliest time period. They just need to know the community is behind them.

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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?

You are right in that those are the two route in consideration, but in the "Getting There Tomorrow" (sorry I cannot remember the true name :blush: ) it states that which ever route is picked that it would include a loop in the downtown core.

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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.

Thanks (Metro & GRDad) for the SF information on their cable cars. I didn't know that, but it totally makes sense and you are right that it wouldn't do well here in Michigan with the climate changes. You learn something new everyday :thumbsup:

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You are right in that those are the two route in consideration, but in the "Getting There Tomorrow" (sorry I cannot remember the true name :blush: ) it states that which ever route is picked that it would include a loop in the downtown core.

Gotcha. It would be great to have something serving the hill, but on top of grade issues how will we find room on the street? I think MDoT is already trying to add another lane to Michigan and meeting a lot of neighborhood resistance because of a lack of sidewalk space, how will we fit a BRT lane as well? I think metrogrkid said something about tunnels, which would be sweet, but probably cost prohibitive.

And monsoon I think the only way we get this funded is through some kind of earmark. How many years did the budget of the current transit bill go?

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Thanks (Metro & GRDad) for the SF information on their cable cars. I didn't know that, but it totally makes sense and you are right that it wouldn't do well here in Michigan with the climate changes. You learn something new everyday :thumbsup:

I think a stop at Division and Michigan could serve most of Michigan Hill pretty well without going up Michigan. The new medical complex will actually front Division, with skywalks connecting the entire Spectrum complex for those frigid January days (as much as I hate hampster tubes).

It could then go North into the Monroe North area and maybe circle back down Monroe?

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With a stop at Woodland Mall that area could eventually become a real urban center. Just think if more people could arrive by means other than cars they could eliminate some parking and build more stuff. Granted, the bus already serves that area, but if a dedicated streetcar system is built I hope it will increase ridership. Perhaps parking requirements could be reduced for businesses along transit lines as well?

-nb

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What about tunneling parallel, underneath Michigan Hill? Just a short distance, mind you. It would reduce the grade and connect with the new pedestrian tunnel.

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So much has changed that I'm just blown away. Wasn't the whole point of having a rapid transit corridor in the East to serve the airport to downtown crowd? As Geo reported it isn't going out to the airport anymore?

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So much has changed that I'm just blown away. Wasn't the whole point of having a rapid transit corridor in the East to serve the airport to downtown crowd? As Geo reported it isn't going out to the airport anymore?

Rizzo,

I think in time, it will go to the airport. I think The Rapid guy was just saying that it will have to be done in stages/phases and there may be other lines or phases that would be more beneficial than extending all the way to the airport. For example: If they build the Eastern line to Woodland, they may build the souther line along Division ave before spending money to extend the Eastern line from Woodland to the airport. The Rapid reallys wants to make a good empression to the Feds in their proposal so they can try and get some or any funding towards it. As Metro pointed out, there are several cities asking for money, so we as Grand Rapids, need to show that we really want this and to make it as appealing, efficent and feasible as possible.

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Rizzo,

I think in time, it will go to the airport. I think The Rapid guy was just saying that it will have to be done in stages/phases and there may be other lines or phases that would be more beneficial than extending all the way to the airport. For example: If they build the Eastern line to Woodland, they may build the souther line along Division ave before spending money to extend the Eastern line from Woodland to the airport. The Rapid reallys wants to make a good empression to the Feds in their proposal so they can try and get some or any funding towards it. As Metro pointed out, there are several cities asking for money, so we as Grand Rapids, need to show that we really want this and to make it as appealing, efficent and feasible as possible.

I'm pretty sure almost every current rapid transit system started off as one line, and then expanded as service expanded. I would rather they went for what they could support now, then to go for a massive project that will almost definitely get rejected by the Feds. Hopefully whoever gets elected President next term will reinforce the importance of mass transit, especially with the energy circumstances we find ourselves in. Another disappointment from Bush. Or maybe the Congressional elections will change the makeup a bit to put money back into alternative energy and transportation issues.

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That is excellent news, the only way we are going to increase funding for mass transit is by using what we have now. The numbers speak for themself, and higher numbers surely look better when looking at which cities need more funding. How much of this increase though was due to Grand Valley? Can the increase continue at this rate? Hopefully with the addition of MSU's Medical school and Grand Valleys Engineering we will see more students taking buses around. I truly feel that the need for mass transit is going to come faster than we think and there is no better time to act then now. I'm not sure if we will get federal funding any time soon but if we hit them up enough times eventually they may give in.

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I agree that we need More Mass Transit, but what exaclty is LRT or BRT?

LRT=Light Rail Transit

BRT=Bus Rapid Transit

Edited by Prankster

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Saw this link today regarding a whole new transit system being built in Orlando...granted that city is much larger than GR, but the price tag is interesting...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060802/us_nm/...florida_rail_dc

It's interesting that they're just buying CSX rail and converting it to commuter rail lines, with "proposed" light rail links in the future. I think that's probably the least expensive, and quickest way, to add mass transit. Any way GR can do this?

BTW: Orlando's MSA population in 1990 (1.2 Million) was about where GR's MSA is today. They added a lot more people in the 90's then we did though (400,000 to our 150,000 or so).

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Saw this link today regarding a whole new transit system being built in Orlando...granted that city is much larger than GR, but the price tag is interesting...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060802/us_nm/...florida_rail_dc

Depending on how it is constructed and the routes that it would take, a light rail transit supplemented with bus would be a phenomenal asset to the community. Having light rail stops at several of the commercial nodes in neighborhoods would be a tremendous help to revitalize many of those areas. Additionally, may auto corridors could share the road with a light rail train, or a one block off could become a one way with the train using the other lane. In areas such as the belt line, the center median could be used as the rail way.

In a place like Grand Rapids that already has the target neighborhood notes and corridors, has unlimited possibilities. If a light rail line starting in downtown and ending at the airport was constructed that happened to pass by 28th and the Beltline, I think that you would see many less people driving cars.

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Depending on how it is constructed and the routes that it would take, a light rail transit supplemented with bus would be a phenomenal asset to the community. Having light rail stops at several of the commercial nodes in neighborhoods would be a tremendous help to revitalize many of those areas. Additionally, may auto corridors could share the road with a light rail train, or a one block off could become a one way with the train using the other lane. In areas such as the belt line, the center median could be used as the rail way.

In a place like Grand Rapids that already has the target neighborhood notes and corridors, has unlimited possibilities. If a light rail line starting in downtown and ending at the airport was constructed that happened to pass by 28th and the Beltline, I think that you would see many less people driving cars.

Bus Route 6 (if it went as far as the airport) is already the perfect route for commuters from the SE side to get downtown.

I ride that bus from time to time (when I'm not biking).

I'm usually the one of 2 or 3 people (total) on the bus for my entire 3 mile commute.

Trains won't fix the "problem" which is the perception (rooted in reality) that a Bus/Train commute would be slower than an automobile commute.

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It's interesting that they're just buying CSX rail and converting it to commuter rail lines, with "proposed" light rail links in the future. I think that's probably the least expensive, and quickest way, to add mass transit. Any way GR can do this?

Grand Rapids has commercial rail along US 131 and from downtown to the airport, some of which has abandoned rail that goes along side it but is in bad condition. Even if they had to rebuild the track though it would seem that it would avoid a lot of the land clearing and traffic right of way issues and costs and may be a good way to get us started.

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Have you guys seen this article? They even talk about UP! I wouldnt like to see this road become 7 lanes, would make it very unfriendly to pedestrians.

What do you think?

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One, that's pretty awesome that they are quoting some of you guys in outside articles...people really are reading and taking into consideration what's going on in the UP world.

I have no idea how many people travel to UofM's hospital in Ann Arbor each day, but the road system to and around that hospital complex is anything but straightforward. Yet, even with thousands of people going to/from the hospital each day, I can think of only one road that is 4 lanes (maybe 5 w/ a turn lane - can't remember), and people still come and go without too much problem.

I would like to see Michigan Ave as two lanes each direction, with one turn lane. Also, leave 196 alone...the reason it is usually such a disaster to drive is that it's potholed and generally in rough shape. People can't expect there not to be traffic slow-downs at peak times...just plan an extra five minutes to the commute, and everything will be fine and dandy.

Actually, the walls lining 196 downtown would look pretty cool and inviting if they were "muralized" - commission some of the area art students to add a little color to the area instead of the same ol' cement grey.

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All I have to say is that article is awesome, glad to see the subject getting more attention. 400 million is a lot of money and I think it can be much better spent than the current plan.

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