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Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids


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I looked up the stats on this once. MSU has about 3.5 Million riders vs. just under 1 Million GVSU riders (?) But also, just more people ride the bus in Lansing than GR.

But you can't really compare the numbers for CATA, which circulates thousands of MSU students around campus from dorms and apartments on the outskirts, to what the Rapid does for GVSU, which is mostly shuttling students to and from downtown.

When I was at Univ. of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign it was somewhat the same. They had circulator buses, the extended kind with the accordion thing so they can make turns, that ran every 3-5 minutes at peak times and in the winter they would be stuffed full of students coming in from the dorms, greek houses, and apartments that were a 20-25 minute walk from the quad. According to their website, the CUMTD provides about 10 million rides per year. That's in an area with a population of about 125,000. But, riding the bus is just how you get around, because it's so convenient with usually not more than a 10 minute wait for the next bus around campus.

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All this talk about rail made me find these from the library

Fancy new Laker Line stop at the zoo!

Maybe they're going to be antiquated articulating buses....?  

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The battle lines are being redrawn: Rapid Revives Proposal for High-Speed Silver Line (MLive)

It'll take a serious rebranding effort on supporters' part if this is going to pass. No one's forgotten last year.

From what i understand the new millage request would be to just renew the current budget. The silver-line funds would come from new government grants and internal savings. So there would be no tax increase. Am on wrong on that. This article doesn't really make it clear.

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If and when federal funding comes down the pipe to support a high-speed rail from Detroit to Chicago, how does everyone feel about a GR line that connects with the HS line at Kalamazoo?

There is a slight toss up here. Grand Rapids could focus on connecting to Kalamazoo to hook up with the "high" speed, or we could continue to run the Pier Marquette line. I'm not sure if both lines would make it.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

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My guess is it was an April Fools joke put on by the newspaper? I've seen things written like that before in the paper for April 1.

Oh, no, it has to be true. They couldn't publish it if it weren't.

(my calendar is marked for the Rob Bliss river dye dump in June)

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Grand Rapids gets on a list in this article about cities looking to add street cars

http://www.newurbann...streetcars.html

Going off of jbr12's post on the other thread, the article mentioned a summit hosted by Community Streetcar Coalition in Alexandria, VA, that apparently had reps from GR in attendance. Does anyone else know more about this summit or anything about what happened there? I've seen a few general articles floating around the internet, but I was curious if GR's effort took anything away from it.

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Looks like the we're going to add another highway directly though the region.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/04/final_hurdle_passed_for_buying.html

The study that was done to support constructing this highway was done to "examine options to ease the traffic flow through Grand Haven," but never mentions any other form of transportation besides single passenger automobile.

Average daily traffic over the Spring Lake bridge has actually decreased since the study was completed.

I see this as a loss for anyone who had a vision for connecting the regional urban areas through any sort of public transportation system. I see this as a win for sprawl.

I'm interested in the thoughts of others

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Looks like the we're going to add another highway directly though the region.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/04/final_hurdle_passed_for_buying.html

The study that was done to support constructing this highway was done to "examine options to ease the traffic flow through Grand Haven," but never mentions any other form of transportation besides single passenger automobile.

Average daily traffic over the Spring Lake bridge has actually decreased since the study was completed.

I see this as a loss for anyone who had a vision for connecting the regional urban areas through any sort of public transportation system. I see this as a win for sprawl.

I'm interested in the thoughts of others

This document provides good detail about the new M-231 highway.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_Preferred_Alt_Map_US-31_278995_7.pdf

It's scaled down from what MDOT originally wanted that would have cost over $1B. Personally, I tend to be supportive of bypasses as a way of dealing with congestion. But I can't say I'm supportive about this one. At least it will not be as much of a waste as the original.

First, I wonder how much use M-231 will actually get. I like the north end at I-96 at Nunica. But with the south ending at M-45, it feels more like a construction detour. Second, the project still calls for adding lanes to US-31 in Grand Haven by getting rid of the tree-lined median. So my problem is not so much with the concept of a Grand Haven bypass, but with the specific plan. M-6 is an example of one that I do support.

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I have ready the study in its entirety. In my opinion, it's another example of how nearsighted and reactive MDOT is. The issue is that there are many ways to reduce congestion, but MDOT did not explore any other option than adding more lanes/roads. It's the Michigan Department of Transportation, not the Michigan Department of Highways.

Another way to reduce congestion in to explore public transit options like Ottawa county is (ahem, WAS) doing. I wish someone would explain to me why we should not simply throw out any transit study now that this is actually happening.

Since 10 years ago, we have had significant more proof that the public is desiring more transportation options, including public transit. Trends are also showing us that talent is attracted to vibrant, urban communities. Thus, it seems like as a region we should be focusing projects that will encourage building our cores and connecting them with public transit. This project does the exact opposite. It encourages sprawl and it reduces likelihood of getting proper infrastructure in place.

I strongly disagree with you about bypasses. They encourage sprawl, and building them is a REACTIVE way to address a transportation issue. Again, there are other options for reducing congestion, we just need to get MDOT to really do their job and look past the single driver automobile.

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I also don't understand why US-31 would be widened to three lanes each way. If this bypass alleviates congestion, shouldn't that be unnecessary? For this particular bypass I can see its function. As as way to keep through traffic moving efficiently past Grand Haven it makes sense. I don't really mind building highways to connect cities, it's when highways cut through cities and destroy urban environments that I get upset.

Adding more lanes in congested areas only works until more people drive and fill up the additional capacity. Congestion serves as a "cost" to driving. If there's too much of it, maybe more of us would choose to travel by other means. Ever increasing road capacity results in ever increasing traffic.

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I went to The Rapid's Transit Master Plan Workshop Meeting last night. They are introducing 3 scenario's for upgrading The Rapid's public transit system with B and C adding to scenario A. Exciting news is that if the gasoline tax increase that has been proposed in Lansing passes it could provide the funding for scenario A. Here is what scenario A would include:

Downtown Circulator (replaces DASH)

Bus Rapid Transit: Division Ave, Lake Michigan Drive

Express Bus from Downtown to the Airport

Crosstown Routes: 3 Mile, Leonard, Wilson, East Beltline

New Local Routes: Georgetown/Hudsonville.

Route Extensions: Plainfield, Alpine, Byron Center/Burlinggame, Clyde Park, Division, Eastern, Kalamazoo, 28th Street, East Fulton

Span of Service: Weekdays 5am-12am (on most routes), Weekends 6am-10pm (on most routes).

Service Frequencies: 30-min nights & weekends on Routes 2,4,6,9 & 11. 30 min weekday off-peak on Routes 14 & 18. 30-min weekday peak on Route 44.

The most asked for improvement is for increased service frequency on weekday evenings and on weekends.

You can see scenarios B and C on their website here:

http://www.ridetherapid.org/news?newsID=160

~John

Get the Fluoride out!

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Wow, even Option A (the cheapest) has some great ideas, especially BRT on Lake Michigan Drive, streetcars to the neighborhood centers, and commuter buses.

Nice curves on The Rapid's new maintenance facility:

4601323237_b2e633f6b9_b.jpg

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The Rapid Board could adapt "Preferred Scenario" on June 30th. All Scenarios are subject to funding.

The Mobile Metro 2030 Task Force approved a recommendation that combines many of the elements from Scenario B with the most popular services in Scenario C as the preferred scenario. See the plan outline on page 3 of this PDF: http://www.ridetherapid.org/includes/modules/base/controllers/assets/fileDownload.php?file=1275051976_Board+Exec+Sum_26May2010.pdf&r=%2F

I really like the preferred scenario except for the modern streetcars. I'm not hip to laying down tracks when BRT doesn't require them along with the additional construction and maintenance costs.

I think the express service using freeways could be a big hit.

I'm most excited about the expanded hours and frequency extensions. Having 30 minute frequency on evening and weekend would be a huge help.

I would also like to see service to Millennium Park.

~John

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I really like the preferred scenario except for the modern streetcars. I'm not hip to laying down tracks when BRT doesn't require them along with the additional construction and maintenance costs.

I could be hip to streetcars, as long as the purpose is to replace the DASH. The preferred scenario doesn't mention either the proposed Downtown Circulator or DASH, so I figure the streetcar network was put in there to replace both. Streetcars are better suited than BRT to ferry people within an area (BRTs are designed for commuting), and likely more economical and cleaner than the DASH buses (but that's only an assumption on my part. Anyone have any thoughts? I figure ITP wouldn't propose it they didn't think so).

Plus, if it connected with DeVos Place, it would up its marketability immensely. Conventioneers eat up things like this.

Again, not 100% sold yet, but I could be. Concur with everything else, John... I'm anxious to see how they'll fund it.

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The preferred scenario would have less modern streetcar lines which would not include a circular to replace the Dash.

A BRT is a streetcar on wheels. Nothing else is different. That is why I favor them. No need for tracks. This video is a great example of a BRT system that is just like a streetcar on wheels:

~John

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The preferred scenario would have less modern streetcar lines which would not include a circular to replace the Dash.

A BRT is a streetcar on wheels. Nothing else is different. That is why I favor them. No need for tracks. This video is a great example of a BRT system that is just like a streetcar on wheels:

~John

I agree 100% that they are the same in purpose but, in perception they are vastly different; That's all that matters.

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The preferred scenario would have less modern streetcar lines which would not include a circular to replace the Dash.

A BRT is a streetcar on wheels. Nothing else is different. That is why I favor them. No need for tracks. This video is a great example of a BRT system that is just like a streetcar on wheels:

~John

In terms of perception, busses are still running on gasoline, spewing diesel fumes, etc.

I'm not saying streetcars don't have that, but people imagine trains as something that pollute less.

Even your attached video includes the guy saying "if money was no object, all things being equal, I would chosen rail."

Don't get me wrong, I understand BRT and what it could bring, but at the end of the day I also understand why people struggle to see the difference between BRT and regular buses.

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