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Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

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I don't think I or anyone is arguing about the sheer existence of transit.  However, in order to cogently discuss an expansion of transit, it is necessary to understand the transit we already have (including cars), who rides it, and what it costs.  What I and some others have argued is that we already have a transit system that is underutilized--and frankly, this includes the roads which aren't all that full most of the time.  I have added to that discussion that the existing public transit system is a very expensive operation that costs significantly more than cars to operate, and for better or worse, is heavily subsidized by people who generally don't use it.  Facts are facts, even if they're ugly, and even if they grind against my general love of cities and distaste for suburbs. 

 

No matter how much I might love cities and all they can offer, I want to be sure that money is being wisely spent.  The existing transit system wastes enormous amounts of money.  What is proposed are more taxes and more expenditures to expand that same system, and to leave the same wastrels in charge of it--wastrels who, when questioned, apparently don't answer questions and run from TV cameras.  I don't like that, or trust it.  At two mils, I would be paying close to $400.00 a year in property taxes for something I would never use.  It depends on the returns, and property value increases, but over a lifetime of ownership of my house, the opportunity cost of the Rapid to me comes close to a cheap new car, or about 2000 miles a year in my car. That's significant.  Hopefully that helps explains why I can on a little strong out of the box and called this a "transfer program".  So far as it affects me and many others, it is--and far more so than most other things property tax money goes for.

 

The ever-present counter argument is that it will get people out of their cars into the trains.  I doubt it.  But so what if it would?  All indications are that streetcars cost even more to install and operate than buses!  Since buses already cost more than cars to operate, why would we encourage the wasteful spending of money on streetcars (whose power is indirectly derived primarily from coal of all things) when we have an existing road and highway infrastructure that we will not be abandoning in place, as well as an existing bus system that will still be running, all of which we will still need to spend money to maintain and operate.  Nearly doubling the Rapid's millage means, at least to me, a likely doubling of waste. 

 

In the meantime, let's all just continue griping about "tea baggers", republicans, and any other convenient bogeyman instead of directly confronting some of the ugly facts about our existing and proposed transit options.  Honestly, I expected better from this group.  I didn't realize that in order to be a fan of cities and all they offer you also have to be a fan of every (likely) wasteful fantasy project that comes down the pike.

The Rapid does publish financial reports.

In the last fiscal year The Rapid had a surplus of a million dollars.

The SilverLine project came under budget at a million dollars.

You offer no evidence of waste.

Ridership grows every year.

The bus system under GRATA was mostly unusable with undesirable riders and disgruntled non-service oriented drivers.

The bus system under ITP, The Rapid has improved to be mostly usable with courteous, service oriented drivers and improved riders.

The Rapid does a good job with providing a vital infrastructure service.

The Rapid did try using smaller buses during slow times and it failed miserably.

There are many times when there is standing room only.

The television reports were hit pieces that edited all the good and put in the bad.

The BRT and Streetcar Lines are an attempt with CONTINUING to improve the system, providing a better infrastructure SERVICE.

The reality is that even the much improved system needs more improvement. Especially with weekend service.

I have been watching the ITP since they formed from GRATA and have found them to be very fiscally responsible.

How many people, including those from ITPwatch, go to the Rapid's meetings?

I have noticed that most who complain about The Rapid, do not use the system.

Time will tell, but I am convinced that the SilverLine will be a success and will generate economic developments. I'm sure many will be surprised with the number of people that use the park-n-ride program.

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The argument I hear is that subsidizing cars is okay, but not transit. We collectively subsidize vehicles much more than we subsidize transit regardless of how much one uses the road. It seems that your individual preference is to use cars thus everyone should subsidize your transportation costs, but since your preference is not to use transit you shouldn't have to pay for other people's transit system. I for one am perplexed by the self-serving argument that asks others to help pay your costs while refusing to pay for others in the same sentence, despite the fact that it actually reduces societal costs, your transportation costs and can drive property values. 

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I don't think I or anyone is arguing about the sheer existence of transit.  However, in order to cogently discuss an expansion of transit, it is necessary to understand the transit we already have (including cars), who rides it, and what it costs.  What I and some others have argued is that we already have a transit system that is underutilized--and frankly, this includes the roads which aren't all that full most of the time.  I have added to that discussion that the existing public transit system is a very expensive operation that costs significantly more than cars to operate, and for better or worse, is heavily subsidized by people who generally don't use it.  Facts are facts, even if they're ugly, and even if they grind against my general love of cities and distaste for suburbs. 

 

No matter how much I might love cities and all they can offer, I want to be sure that money is being wisely spent.  The existing transit system wastes enormous amounts of money.  What is proposed are more taxes and more expenditures to expand that same system, and to leave the same wastrels in charge of it--wastrels who, when questioned, apparently don't answer questions and run from TV cameras.  I don't like that, or trust it.  At two mils, I would be paying close to $400.00 a year in property taxes for something I would never use.  It depends on the returns, and property value increases, but over a lifetime of ownership of my house, the opportunity cost of the Rapid to me comes close to a cheap new car, or about 2000 miles a year in my car. That's significant.  Hopefully that helps explains why I can on a little strong out of the box and called this a "transfer program".  So far as it affects me and many others, it is--and far more so than most other things property tax money goes for.

 

The ever-present counter argument is that it will get people out of their cars into the trains.  I doubt it.  But so what if it would?  All indications are that streetcars cost even more to install and operate than buses!  Since buses already cost more than cars to operate, why would we encourage the wasteful spending of money on streetcars (whose power is indirectly derived primarily from coal of all things) when we have an existing road and highway infrastructure that we will not be abandoning in place, as well as an existing bus system that will still be running, all of which we will still need to spend money to maintain and operate.  Nearly doubling the Rapid's millage means, at least to me, a likely doubling of waste. 

 

In the meantime, let's all just continue griping about "tea baggers", republicans, and any other convenient bogeyman instead of directly confronting some of the ugly facts about our existing and proposed transit options.  Honestly, I expected better from this group.  I didn't realize that in order to be a fan of cities and all they offer you also have to be a fan of every (likely) wasteful fantasy project that comes down the pike.

 

That's the whole gist, it's not more expensive to run transit than automobiles. How much does it cost for the city of Grand Rapids, the county and the State to build and maintain streets and infrastructure for cars? Find those numbers and get back to us. You can't just use the direct numbers that come out of your monthly paycheck.

 

And you're stretching my point to the extreme to make yours. No one has ever mentioned that you have to like every idea on here. smdh.

 

Also, The Rapid's millage is 1.47 mills. And The Rapid is not currently seeking a millage increase to 2.0 mills for anything. Or am I missing something? If you're paying close to $400, then I would assume your house is worth about $524,000? (.00147 x assessed/tv of $272,000)?

 

There has been no mention of a milage increase for the streetcar or for the Laker Line BRT.

 

Just to reiterate, you don't think there should be a car buying program but you think it would be more efficient if it would work? You also said that the entire bus system in the area is a huge waste of money and a "wealth transfer" program, but you aren't questioning the sheer existence of transit in the area? I'm just trying to figure out where you stand.

 

Also, don't quote stats from itpwatch. They have been exposed as a shill for the tea-party in the area. I'm all for accountability and transparency in government run operations, but they are neither.

 

Hope that helps.

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The argument I hear is that subsidizing cars is okay, but not transit. We collectively subsidize vehicles much more than we subsidize transit regardless of how much one uses the road. It seems that your individual preference is to use cars thus everyone should subsidize your transportation costs, but since your preference is not to use transit you shouldn't have to pay for other people's transit system. I for one am perplexed by the self-serving argument that asks others to help pay your costs while refusing to pay for others in the same sentence, despite the fact that it actually reduces societal costs, your transportation costs and can drive property values. 

 

I'm not hearing that argument at all.  What I do hear is a difference over the degree of subsidy.   

 

Then there's this from Freakonomics:

 

'So there it is: to benefit the environment, probably the best thing to do is be very skeptical about adding new transit service and even to discontinue some service we are currently providing (sorry, liberals). Simultaneously, we should raise fees and taxes for driving (apologies to you conservatives).

 

http://freakonomics.com/2012/11/07/can-mass-transit-save-the-environment-right-wing-or-left-wing-heres-a-post-everybody-can-hate/

Edited by arcturus

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The Freakanomics transit argument has been thoroughly debunked, but I will take it directly out of the source he cites for justification (out right lie or mistake?) http://cta.ornl.gov/data/tedb32/Edition32_Chapter02.pdf

 

Section 2-14 states that rail transit is dramatically lower than cars for energy consumption. Buses (not transit in general as he writes) consume 26% more per passenger-mile. HOWEVER, no transit agency will ever tell you the only motivation to transit service is environmental. Further, the net environmental benefit is clearly in support of buses over cars. What Morris attempted to do is look at the silo of vehicle vs vehicle, but that does not take into account the full system impact of car vs transit that a more thorough researcher would examine.

 

From an environmental impact standpoint, transit systems support a more compact, urban type of development to achieve maximum efficiency and conversely urban development best operates in the context of rich transit service. The average car user travels more miles than the average bus user, so passenger-mile is the wrong measure. The right measure is energy consumed per passenger by mode type. The average bus user in an urban situation (where the majority of users originate) also has a greater impact on road network congestion, since road widening is highly unlikely in urban corridors -- thus each user has a greater incremental positive impacts on rates of congestion than a suburban bus user will have. So the theoretical to give the thousands of Rapid riders a car justified as being a more efficient alternative will yield inferior environmental benefits on energy consumption and land use impacts, because they would yield far greater adverse impacts on parking demand, congestion on inner-city roads, and land use that the author never takes into account for.

 

And there are several respected researches that take an academically rigorous approach of looking at system impacts of GHG emissions for various transportation modes. Cars nearly always lose out (diesel commuter rail sometimes lose to cars). Bikes always win (even over walking). 

Edited by Jippy

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Since we're citing articles and statistics.  There's this from: 

The Tea Party’s war on mass transit 

 

 

"... 'The Tea Party leaders and the Republicans who pander to them do not care about cost-effectiveness in the slightest,' wrote blogger Alon Levy in a comment about the bill on the Transport Politic. 'They dislike transit for purely cultural and ideological reasons.' To the Tea Party, transit smacks of the public sector, social engineering and alternative lifestyles.

 

How do we know this is a cultural battle and not an economic one? Because transit spending is far more fiscally fair than spending on roads and highways. Transit riders subsidize roads to a greater degree than drivers subsidize transit. And cities, which are the chief engines behind the American economy, rely on buses and trains to function. 'The economic future for states hinges largely on the performance of their metropolitan economies,' determined a recent Brookings Institution study.

 

 

Tea Party leaders know all of this. But they also knew that defunding NPR wouldn’t help balance the budget, and they voted to do it anyway. They knew that by law no federal money can go toward abortion services, yet they voted to defund Planned Parenthood too. The Tea Party is superb at disguising cultural battles as the pursuit of responsible thrift. And mass transit exists at the vortex of many of their No. 1 ideological targets. It’s brilliant, when you think about it.

 

Defunding transit is how you smack down urbanites, environmentalists, and people of color, all in one fell swoop. It’s how you telegraph a disdain for all things European. It’s how you show solidarity with swing-state suburbanites who don’t understand why their taxes are going toward subways they don’t even use. And it’s how you subtly reassure your base that you’re not concerned about the very poor. ..."

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I'm sorry, so you are bashing people on the ideological right, by citing an article form an ideological left website? This isnt even supposed to be a left-right issue.

 

 

Seriously, is it really too much for people to respect POVs without this childishness?

 

Whatever level of opposition people have to public transportation plans does not invite such disgusting claims like this:

 

 Defunding transit is how you smack down urbanites, environmentalists, and people of color, all in one fell swoop. It’s how you telegraph a disdain for all things European. It’s how you show solidarity with swing-state suburbanites who don’t understand why their taxes are going toward subways they don’t even use. And it’s how you subtly reassure your base that you’re not concerned about the very poor. ..." 

 

 

It's already bad enough that so many sites about urbanism have become home to way too many thought-police types looking to use it to push political agendas that have nothing to do with it. For the author of that article to level charges like that is beyond low, and is based on an insane level of zealotry that does nothing but polarize when transit advocates are specifically charged with selling people on these things they need them to pay for, not brow-beating them into compliance.

 

I'm not even sure where this "Tea Party" thing is even coming from? Is that like a code word for "you're evil for dissenting"?

Edited by GR_Urbanist

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I'm sorry, so you are bashing people on the ideological right, by citing an article form an ideological left website? This isnt even supposed to be a left-right issue.

 

 

Seriously, is it really too much for people to respect POVs without this childishness?

 

What ever level of opposition people have to public transportation plans does not invite such disgusting claims like this:

 

 

It's already bad enough that so many sites about urbanism have become home to way to many thought-police types looking to use it to push political agendas that have nothing to do with it, but to then for this author  of that article to level charges like that is beyond low, and is based is an insane level of zealotry that does nothing but polarize when transit advocates are specifically charges with selling people on these things they need them to pay for, not brow-beating them into compliance.

 

I'm not even sure where this "Tea Party" thing is even coming from? Is that like a code word for "you're evil for dissenting"?

 

No, most opponents of transit spending are actually libertarian, including Eric Larson of "Kent County something something for the not spending of tax dollars" and itpwatch. Not so much tea-party members, but farely close in their "small government" philosophy. It's just easier to say Tea Party then libertarian, and most people know what the Tea Party is.

 

In my experience, most transit opponents are white, male, 45 - 60 years old, top 10% earners, love to talk about math and economics even though they don't usually understand it, and vote Republican.

 

But locally The Rapid has broad support from many of the major employers who rely on it, like Steelcase, Meijer, Cascade Engineering, and many others. But I guess they don't matter in this discussion as much as an anesthesiologist/libertarian.

 

I love transit discussions. They're like lightning rods for political arguments. Yayy.....

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The Kent County Taxpayers Alliance (KCTA) is basically a wing of the Tea Party of West Michigan along with ITPwatch, which is a part of KCTA.
Eric Larson is doing what he thinks is right for the People. We agree on most issues, other than public transit. I have been involved with the Tea Party of West Michigan and left when I saw that the direction of their activism would not result in actually restoring power to the People.
I support The Rapid because I view Public Transportation as an infrastructure service. Although I do not agree with State or Federal Funding for local needs or services. That is the reason I voted against the last mileage increase. Yet I am glad it passed, as it also included many improvements other than the SilverLine. And since it passed, I am happy to see the SilverLine happen. I know it is good for the Grand Rapids area, but am sad seeing that people in other areas, states are paying for it also. My political views are Independent with no ideology. I am part if the Liberty Movement and have been involved with the Intelligence Community as a subject with brainwave technology. I understand how the government and even movements are controlled. You see my open Facebook page for more information.

With all that said, the reason that I am against streetcars and light rail is because they require laying costly tracks and cabling which is not needed for a more flexible BRT system. I believe that a BRT system with fancy cars and stations would have the same attraction factor as streetcars or light rail. The options, features and flexibility with BRT systems are unlimited.
I especially do not want to see overhead cabling. They are an eyesore in my view.

The streetcar would be good for downtown, but I think an alternative would be as well.

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GRDad:  The fact of the matter is that buses do cost more.  Let's stop trying to hide the ball.  Only 4000 people take the bust to work.  The rest drive cars.  The roads aren't going anywhere.  The buses use those same roads to ferry people around, and they do more damage to them because the pounds per square inch exerted by their tires are dramatically higher.  When we're dealing with efficiency, we have to ask what the most efficient way is to ferry people around on the existing infrastructure network. 

 

So far as the Rapid's goal of 2 mils, it's right in their master plan.  It's no surprise they're coming up with project after project and vote after vote to raise taxes.  My figures for what I would be paying were based on their desired 2 mil rate.  At the current millage it is slightly less.  And yes, my house has an unusually high assessment for the city.  I paid a lot less than it is assessed at.  Still, currently I funnel more than $250 a year into the Rapids, less than $300.  Well over 1300 miles a year in comparative operational costs for my car including depreciation, maintenance, and gas but not registration and insurance (since the latter costs are not mileage dependent).

 

I don't care who runs ITPWatch, whether it's a flaming liberal or a crazy right winger.  His political affiliation is irrelevant.  All I care is that the guy has his figures right.  Based on what is printed in the Press here: http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/ken_braun_which_michigan_bus_s.html

and the figures on the ITPWatch website, with verifiable citation to federally mandated disclosures, I am convinced he is well within the ballpark.  He's also right that their failure to include capital costs when calculating passenger costs per mile is nonsense.  Buses aren't free.  Someone, somehow, pays for them.  By the Rapid's own admission, it costs them $.76 a mile to move a passenger assuming the bus itself is "free".  That is not efficient by any measure.  The one thing the ITPWatch website did turn me onto is the van program.  He supports it.  It is cost effective, it is efficient, and it is cheaper than running a car.  It just isn't very sexy, which I why I suspect you don't hear the Rapid clamoring about it.  Trains are much sexier, but I strongly question their necessity, their efficacy, and their economy.

 

And just because something is a "wealth transfer program" does not necessarily mean that it is inherently bad.  But let's call it what it is so that we can analyze it correctly.  The Rapid is not the Post Office which at least has to attempt to break even.  Transit, unfortunately, is one of those areas where people tend to turn a blind eye to cost/benefit, whether from an assumption that fares pay for it, or because they buy into this "economic development" hogwash, I don't know.  In big cities, fares can sometimes cover half the operational costs.  Ostensibly, there is still some transfer going on even in larger cities.  Here in GR, the passenger-covered costs are under 18% by the Rapid's figures, far worse by ITPWatch's figures (which exclude college-student hauling contracts).  In Lansing--a smaller city--25% of costs are covered. 

 

My thesis is simply that the Rapid is not a terribly well run operation as it stands, has excess capacity already, and that building even more capacity and entrusting these jokers to run it is probably not a good idea.  I don't care if its more buses, or some sexy new train.  And given that the Rapi by its own admission wants more money, whatever the study says, there will be a lot of reasons to thoroughly investigate its conclusions.

 

 

 

 

That's the whole gist, it's not more expensive to run transit than automobiles. How much does it cost for the city of Grand Rapids, the county and the State to build and maintain streets and infrastructure for cars? Find those numbers and get back to us. You can't just use the direct numbers that come out of your monthly paycheck.

 

And you're stretching my point to the extreme to make yours. No one has ever mentioned that you have to like every idea on here. smdh.

 

Also, The Rapid's millage is 1.47 mills. And The Rapid is not currently seeking a millage increase to 2.0 mills for anything. Or am I missing something? If you're paying close to $400, then I would assume your house is worth about $524,000? (.00147 x assessed/tv of $272,000)?

 

There has been no mention of a milage increase for the streetcar or for the Laker Line BRT.

 

Just to reiterate, you don't think there should be a car buying program but you think it would be more efficient if it would work? You also said that the entire bus system in the area is a huge waste of money and a "wealth transfer" program, but you aren't questioning the sheer existence of transit in the area? I'm just trying to figure out where you stand.

 

Also, don't quote stats from itpwatch. They have been exposed as a shill for the tea-party in the area. I'm all for accountability and transparency in government run operations, but they are neither.

 

Hope that helps.

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I'm sorry, so you are bashing people on the ideological right, by citing an article form an ideological left website? This isnt even supposed to be a left-right issue.

 

 

Actually, just googling "why do conservatives hate mass transit" or something like that will give you a laundry list of articles.  I picked one at random.  However, I'm fairly sure the source material is irrelevant and that your response would've been the same regardless.  Perhaps in the land of rainbows and unicorns this isn't supposed to be a left-right issue, however, in the real world it has become one because elements of the "right" have made it so.  All I wanted to do was point out that for every article online with a viewpoint and statistics against public transit, it is easy to find a opposing viewpoint with just as many statistics for public transit. 

 

With that being said, I think we've learned two things here:

 

1) John E hates overhead cabling unless that overhead cabling is strung across the Grand River

2) GR Urbanist feels it is important to respect other's POVs without childishness.  However, be warned that if you have a different POV than his you may be a dingbat, a NIMBY or something else

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GRDad:  The fact of the matter is that buses do cost more.  Let's stop trying to hide the ball.  Only 4000 people take the bust to work.  The rest drive cars.  The roads aren't going anywhere.  The buses use those same roads to ferry people around, and they do more damage to them because the pounds per square inch exerted by their tires are dramatically higher.  When we're dealing with efficiency, we have to ask what the most efficient way is to ferry people around on the existing infrastructure network. 

 

So far as the Rapid's goal of 2 mils, it's right in their master plan.  It's no surprise they're coming up with project after project and vote after vote to raise taxes.  My figures for what I would be paying were based on their desired 2 mil rate.  At the current millage it is slightly less.  And yes, my house has an unusually high assessment for the city.  I paid a lot less than it is assessed at.  Still, currently I funnel more than $250 a year into the Rapids, less than $300.  Well over 1300 miles a year in comparative operational costs for my car including depreciation, maintenance, and gas but not registration and insurance (since the latter costs are not mileage dependent).

 

I don't care who runs ITPWatch, whether it's a flaming liberal or a crazy right winger.  His political affiliation is irrelevant.  All I care is that the guy has his figures right.  Based on what is printed in the Press here: http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/ken_braun_which_michigan_bus_s.html

and the figures on the ITPWatch website, with verifiable citation to federally mandated disclosures, I am convinced he is well within the ballpark.  He's also right that their failure to include capital costs when calculating passenger costs per mile is nonsense.  Buses aren't free.  Someone, somehow, pays for them.  By the Rapid's own admission, it costs them $.76 a mile to move a passenger assuming the bus itself is "free".  That is not efficient by any measure.  The one thing the ITPWatch website did turn me onto is the van program.  He supports it.  It is cost effective, it is efficient, and it is cheaper than running a car.  It just isn't very sexy, which I why I suspect you don't hear the Rapid clamoring about it.  Trains are much sexier, but I strongly question their necessity, their efficacy, and their economy.

 

And just because something is a "wealth transfer program" does not necessarily mean that it is inherently bad.  But let's call it what it is so that we can analyze it correctly.  The Rapid is not the Post Office which at least has to attempt to break even.  Transit, unfortunately, is one of those areas where people tend to turn a blind eye to cost/benefit, whether from an assumption that fares pay for it, or because they buy into this "economic development" hogwash, I don't know.  In big cities, fares can sometimes cover half the operational costs.  Ostensibly, there is still some transfer going on even in larger cities.  Here in GR, the passenger-covered costs are under 18% by the Rapid's figures, far worse by ITPWatch's figures (which exclude college-student hauling contracts).  In Lansing--a smaller city--25% of costs are covered. 

 

My thesis is simply that the Rapid is not a terribly well run operation as it stands, has excess capacity already, and that building even more capacity and entrusting these jokers to run it is probably not a good idea.  I don't care if its more buses, or some sexy new train.  And given that the Rapi by its own admission wants more money, whatever the study says, there will be a lot of reasons to thoroughly investigate its conclusions.

 

x99, are you not reading my posts about taking this elsewhere? Do I need to post in all caps?

Actually, just googling "why do conservatives hate mass transit" or something like that will give you a laundry list of articles.  I picked one at random.  However, I'm fairly sure the source material is irrelevant and that your response would've been the same regardless.  Perhaps in the land of rainbows and unicorns this isn't supposed to be a left-right issue, however, in the real world it has become one because elements of the "right" have made it so.  All I wanted to do was point out that for every article online with a viewpoint and statistics against public transit, it is easy to find a opposing viewpoint with just as many statistics for public transit. 

 

With that being said, I think we've learned two things here:

 

1) John E hates overhead cabling unless that overhead cabling is strung across the Grand River

2) GR Urbanist feels it is important to respect other's POVs without childishness.  However, be warned that if you have a different POV than his you may be a dingbat, a NIMBY or something else

 

That cabling across the river comment just made my day. Sorry John E, he's got ya.

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Actually, just googling "why do conservatives hate mass transit" or something like that will give you a laundry list of articles.  I picked one at random.  However, I'm fairly sure the source material is irrelevant and that your response would've been the same regardless.  Perhaps in the land of rainbows and unicorns this isn't supposed to be a left-right issue, however, in the real world it has become one because elements of the "right" have made it so.  All I wanted to do was point out that for every article online with a viewpoint and statistics against public transit, it is easy to find a opposing viewpoint with just as many statistics for public transit. 

 

With that being said, I think we've learned two things here:

 

1) John E hates overhead cabling unless that overhead cabling is strung across the Grand River

2) GR Urbanist feels it is important to respect other's POVs without childishness.  However, be warned that if you have a different POV than his you may be a dingbat, a NIMBY or something else

 

Ok, in the future you need to avoid unsophisticated Google searches. You dont know the politics of the people on this forum, and it is irrelevant nor is it any of your business. It is nothing more than your attempt to try to engage in some weird political demonetization into order to silence people and go way off topic.

 

And even if it was? So what? Is there a sign on this forum saying that only hard-core "liberals" can only comment here. JohnE, and x99 have made their leanings clear as is their choice. That has nothing to do with me, and that does not invite you or anyone else to dismiss their views on that alone like being on the political left is required to be interested in this subject. Maybe if you opened you mind a little, you would find that many people from all walks of life partake in this field and have different takes on how to get to the same place. If we are all expected to tow some ideological line, then I fully expect it to be spelled out for everyone.

 

And you haven't "learned" anything, because you refuse to pay attention. That last part of your post reeked of juvenile trolling. I pointed out that hideous line from the article you posted that accused anyone that isnt basically 1000% no questions asked for any and all public transit plans as being racist, or against "poor" people. If you actually read that thing before posting it (which you all but admitted you did not) then you should have had enough integrity to avoid using it as some sort of assessment of anyone that dared question the feasibility of this streetcar proposal, which is the subject people are talking about here until you took it upon yourself to flamebait.

 

Now if you find my use of the term "NIMBY" which I didn't realize I invented or "dingbat" to be too harsh, then by all means go ahead and respond to me when I use them. The difference is that I, unlike what is happening here, did not direct them at anyone on this forum in the form of a personal attack against anyone's real or implied belief system.

Edited by GR_Urbanist

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Ok, in the future you need to avoid unsophisticated Google searches. You dont know the politics of the people on this forum, and it is irrelevant nor is it any of your business. It is nothing more than your attempt to try to engage in some weird political demonetization into order to silence people and go way off topic.

 

And even if it was? So what? Is there a sign on this forum saying that only hard-core "liberals" can only comment here. JohnE, and x99 have made their leanings clear as is their choice. That has nothing to do with me, and that does not invite you or anyone else to dismiss their views on that alone like being on the political left is required to be interested in this subject. Maybe if you opened you mind a little, you would find that many people from all walks of life partake in this field and have different takes on how to get to the same place. If we are all expected to tow some ideological line, then I fully expect it to be spelled out for everyone.

 

And you haven't "learned" anything, because you refuse to pay attention. That last part of your post reeked of juvenile trolling. I pointed out that hideous line from the article you posted that accused anyone that isnt basically 1000% no questions asked for any and all public transit plans as being racist, or against "poor" people. If you actually read that thing before posting it (which you all but admitted you did not) then you should have had enough integrity to avoid using it as some sort of assessment of anyone that dared question the feasibility of this streetcar proposal, which is the subject people are talking about here until you took it upon yourself to flamebait.

 

Now if you find my use of the term "NIMBY" which I didn't realize I invented or "dingbat" to be too harsh, then by all means go ahead and respond to me when I use them. The difference is that I, unlike what is happening here, did not direct them at anyone on this forum in the form of a personal attack against anyone's real or implied belief system.

 

Thank you so much for such a respectful response to my point of view.

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Thank you so much for such a respectful response to my point of view.

 

Only his opinions deserve respect. Not the other way around.. 

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Only his opinions deserve respect. Not the other way around.. 

 

Unbelievable!

 

It's like you rent even trying to comprehend what I wrote. Where on Earth did I say that? And where on Earth did I say your opinions aren't?

 

 

 

Thank you so much for such a respectful response to my point of view.

 

 

I actually am being very polite and respectful despite your snarky posts, personal attacks, flamebaiting attempts, and general offensive tone you keep showing towards people on this forum. 

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Unlocking this thread because several people have some new news to add.

 

Good timing too because I had a vision last night that when the Laker Line gets upgraded, GVSU should take the opportunity to "green" their downtown campus. I was also thinking they should shut down the street that runs under the s-curve to only pedestrians (make it a plaza), and make the street that runs along 131 (Front?) into a service drive only accessible to the Rapid and service vehicles. Would make it much more pedestrian friendly.

 

Either that or close the portion of that street that runs from Lake Michigan Drive, past Burger King and to the s-curve underpass. Make THAT a park area/green area.

 

I was going to draw up some sketches, didn't get a chance yet.

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Unlocking this thread because several people have some new news to add.

 

Good timing too because I had a vision last night that when the Laker Line gets upgraded, GVSU should take the opportunity to "green" their downtown campus. I was also thinking they should shut down the street that runs under the s-curve to only pedestrians (make it a plaza), and make the street that runs along 131 (Front?) into a service drive only accessible to the Rapid and service vehicles. Would make it much more pedestrian friendly.

 

Either that or close the portion of that street that runs from Lake Michigan Drive, past Burger King and to the s-curve underpass. Make THAT a park area/green area.

 

I was going to draw up some sketches, didn't get a chance yet.

 

I could get behind pedestrianizing that area, except for buses and bikes.  Maybe a "shared space" setup, something like Georgia St in Indianapolis.  Interesting that when I went to look for a view of Georgia St, Google's Street View gives a great "before" photo.

eP29CCw.jpg

 

 

Bing provides the "after".  The lack of normal size curbs makes it a more friendly area to walk across.  When we were there for the Drum Corps World Championships, at lunch time they had 7 or 8 food trucks lined up on one side of the plaza in the narrow motor vehicle lane.  Though built when Indy hosted the Super Bowl, it is directly in front of the convention center and provides a great event space, though I imagine it can be underutilized at other times.

NVsYt9W.jpg

 

 

 

The area you're talking about is one of my main bicycle routes under 131, and already has shared lane markings (sharrows), so it should definitely have some kind of bicycle accommodation if it's closed to motor vehicles (except buses).

Edited by fotoman311
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The challenge is not having it become another Monroe with the pedestrian mall. The only truly successful bus-only road I have seen is 16th street in Denver.

http://goo.gl/maps/YRlGY

 

Even the Indianapolis example looks completely devoid of people on a nice day. 

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The challenge is not having it become another Monroe with the pedestrian mall. The only truly successful bus-only road I have seen is 16th street in Denver.

http://goo.gl/maps/YRlGY

 

Even the Indianapolis example looks completely devoid of people on a nice day. 

 

It's completely devoid of people now. Except for the occasional homeless person going to work the highway off ramps. Making it a park/green space and a bus-service vehicle drive (and with bike infrastructure) would be a huge upgrade, even if no one used it. :) Comparing it to a pedestrian mall or retail zone is apples to oranges.

 

This is the section of Mount Vernon I'm talking about:

 

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=mount+vernon+avenue,+grand+rapids&hl=en&ll=42.965226,-85.679283&spn=0.003103,0.005284&sll=42.965593,-85.677695&sspn=0.008777,0.021136&t=h&hnear=Mt+Vernon+Ave+NW,+Grand+Rapids,+Michigan+49504&z=18

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