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Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids


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I agree that meters should be as cheap as possible. In my opinion they are there to creat turnover for street parking so that a parking spot is not monopolized by people who want to store there car for free. I also think that a limited amount of time in a parking ramp should be free. Two hours would be ideal as it is long enough for most people to accomplish any errands, shopping, etc. I don't think we will see it as long as Ellis sits on the parking committee as it would hurt his business quite a bit if his main competitor was free for two hours.

 

I don't understand your logic.  Are you saying that people currently pass up an open metered spot to park in an Ellis garage, because the meters cost too much?  I haven't observed this to be the case, and I can't see it happening.

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

Fancy new Laker Line stop at the zoo!

There are several levels of automation, and we essentially have to pass through each one. Level 0 - No automation. Level 1 - Extremely limited automation that still requires input from driver. Li

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I don't understand your logic.  Are you saying that people currently pass up an open metered spot to park in an Ellis garage, because the meters cost too much?  I haven't observed this to be the case, and I can't see it happening.

 

Wait... What?  Is that seriously how you read that?

 

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Wait... What?  Is that seriously how you read that?

 

tumblr_ma0feaG2111qi00ie.jpg

 

I think I made my statement poorly.  What I'm saying is that I don't thinking making the meters free would have any effect on the number of cars parking in an Ellis lot. It wouldn't "hurt his business" if the meters were free.  If there is an open meter spot within walking distance of where someone wants to, they will park in it before choosing to parking in a garage, whether it is free or cost $2/hr.  

 

Because of the limited nature of the on-street parking spaces, if you make them free for 2 hours, you're going to reduce turnover in those spaces and essentially drive MORE traffic to the garages because there will be less on-street spaces available.  Or, people will just drive around more, looking for an even harder to find free parking space and increasing congestion.

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Reducing on-street parking rates would have the perverse effect of driving more parking into garages, including private ones. The only ones that would then have access to on-street parking would be the first ones there. Thus, instead of the regular turn-over of vehicles the store clerks and restaurant workers would take the spaces, and thus push customers to less convenient parking locations. 

 

I would raise on-street parking rates and lower garage parking rates in effort to maximize parking usage to about 90% throughout the main parts of the day. Variable parking rates that are very clearly communicated to a driver maximize the asset, increase the ease of parking, and consistently make on-street parking spaces available. The thing that usually gives drivers the most angst is pulling into a parking space, lot or garage and not knowing the cost. The cost should be visible from the street in big numbers.

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I don't think that reducing meter rates would have much of an effect on parking garages. That is IF a couple of changes are made to how they are utilized.  the max time should be 2 hours, preferably 1 hour, and there should be no option to renew with your phone or online or any other remote method.  this would  keep most store clerks and other workers out of the spots. no job allows for someone to leave every hour to refill the meter, especially if they receive a mandate from their employer not to park in the meters directly in front of the store, similar to at the mall or other big box store where employees are directed to park at the back of the parking lot.  

 

I think I made my statement poorly.  What I'm saying is that I don't thinking making the meters free would have any effect on the number of cars parking in an Ellis lot. It wouldn't "hurt his business" if the meters were free.  If there is an open meter spot within walking distance of where someone wants to, they will park in it before choosing to parking in a garage, whether it is free or cost $2/hr.  

 

Because of the limited nature of the on-street parking spaces, if you make them free for 2 hours, you're going to reduce turnover in those spaces and essentially drive MORE traffic to the garages because there will be less on-street spaces available.  Or, people will just drive around more, looking for an even harder to find free parking space and increasing congestion.

I think that you misunderstood what I was saying. I was not referring to meters being free or reduced having an effect on Ellis' parking.  I was referring to city owned garages offering free parking for a couple of hours.  I also don't think that making the meters cheaper would reduce turnover as a consequence of less meters being available.  there are already few meters available at any given time. the goal is make it difficult to park there all day, not by raising rates as most people could care less about the fee charged if it is convenient, but by making it inconvenient to stay there more than an hour or two.  you could increase the price of a ticket for an expired meter, remove the ability to remotely pay for your meter, decrease the length of time available to park at a meter as potential options.

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I would raise on-street parking rates and lower garage parking rates in effort to maximize parking usage to about 90% throughout the main parts of the day. Variable parking rates that are very clearly communicated to a driver maximize the asset, increase the ease of parking, and consistently make on-street parking spaces available. The thing that usually gives drivers the most angst is pulling into a parking space, lot or garage and not knowing the cost. The cost should be visible from the street in big numbers.

 

Most retail studies show that you need to have parking attached to or within visible distance of a door, and it needs to be at nominal or no cost.  Increasing meter costs frees up meters, but makes them undesirable for retail use.  Increasing meter and parking costs, like most of the "MobileGR" initiative, appears designed to encourage transit for the sole purpose of nurturing the giant office park/medical/educational complex.  If we've resigned ourselves to that fate, then I suppose it makes sense to manipulate rates and attempt to rig behavior to the extent that market will put up with it.

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Make meters very cheap ($1/hour) for the first hour and then rise incrementally after that to $5/hour or more. That will keep wait staff from using them and facilitate their use for retailers. Make all meters able to use credit cards, or parkmobile, whichever people prefer.

 

Keep the hourly rate in ramps relatively inexpensive or free for the first hour, but raise the monthly rates for those ramps that are heavily in demand and lower the rates in the ramps that are not used as much.

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I know it's not transit, but in relation to this discussion, I rode the new "bike track" along Monroe near Riverside Park yesterday. It is very nice, and the connection across North Park Bridge to the White Pine Trail is awesome now. There were quite a few people out using it when I was out (in the middle of the morning).

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I know it's not transit, but in relation to this discussion, I rode the new "bike track" along Monroe near Riverside Park yesterday. It is very nice, and the connection across North Park Bridge to the White Pine Trail is awesome now. There were quite a few people out using it when I was out (in the middle of the morning).

 

I rode it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a really great way to bypass the park to the White Pine Trail. The only down side is we passed two groups of runners using the cycle track and were not keen on moving over for bikes on the CYCLE TRACK. I've experienced this phenomenon on other bike lanes throughout the city, why do runners in Grand Rapids feel entitled to the bike lanes?

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I rode it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a really great way to bypass the park to the White Pine Trail. The only down side is we passed two groups of runners using the cycle track and were not keen on moving over for bikes on the CYCLE TRACK. I've experienced this phenomenon on other bike lanes throughout the city, why do runners in Grand Rapids feel entitled to the bike lanes?

 

Did you holler out, "bike on your right (or left)?" My daughter both runs and bikes (triathlon athlete) and tells me it is not usual for a biker to blow past her w/o saying anything which catches her by surprise. She will gladly move over if the bikers tell her which side they will pass.

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I've never understood why runners around here feel compelled to run in the street. It seems like a common problem. I could see if there was some problem with the sidewalk, but frequently there isn't. They shouldn't be surprised if a biker blows by them, they should move to the sidewalk.

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On that note, places like Ada Township have invested in a lot of nice bike paths but bikers still ride on the roads, even when there's a perfectly nice bike path 10 feet away.  If runners should move for the bikers then the bikers should move for the cars. 

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I'm an occasional runner (emphasis on occasional—I've only run a single 5k), but I often will run in the street. The asphalt surface is slightly more forgiving than concrete (less strain on joints), and there's less of an issue with blind driveways (due to hedges, buildings, etc.). That being said, I tend to stick to neighborhood streets, run early in the morning, and make sure to stay aware of traffic around me (no headphones).

 

 

On that note, places like Ada Township have invested in a lot of nice bike paths but bikers still ride on the roads, even when there's a perfectly nice bike path 10 feet away.  If runners should move for the bikers then the bikers should move for the cars. 

Multi-use paths are usually intended for low-speed traffic—15 mph or lower. A decent biker on a road bike can easily approach 25 mph on a level surface. In addition to being a hazard for low-speed users (runners, kids, recreational bikers, dogs, etc.), it's also a hazard for the bikers themselves, as vehicle drivers don't expect high-speed traffic on those paths.

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How come bikers in the street bike lanes don't have to have a license or any type of certification showing they understand how to properly use those lanes?

Having a couple classes and requiring a test for a nominal fee (help offset the cost of street paint) would go a long way in creating a safer environment for bikers and motorists.

Limit those lanes to 16+ years old and a valid license plus bikers insurance in case you hit a pedestrian or a dog or a parked car or what not.

I'm all for saving the plant but let's be safe and share the burden of cost.

 

 

Every cyclist I know also drives a motor vehicle, and is required to pass a driver's test every couple of years and pays gas taxes (which pay for roads), many pay city taxes (which pay for roads) and property taxes (which pay for county roads). 

 

I recall in driver's ed in high school we covered bicycle safety, at least one chapter. As an avid cyclist, I would challenge any "car only" driver to a battle of motorist laws.  :) 

On that note, places like Ada Township have invested in a lot of nice bike paths but bikers still ride on the roads, even when there's a perfectly nice bike path 10 feet away.  If runners should move for the bikers then the bikers should move for the cars. 

 

Bicycles are legally allowed to be on the road, treated as a slow moving vehicle, even if there is a non-motorized path nearby. And as stated earlier, the non-motorized paths in Ada are extremely dangerous to bike on at any speed more than 10-12 mph. You're more likely to get run over by a car backing out of a hidden driveway than you are by a car traveling alongside you on the road. 

 

I don't expect runners to get off the bike track. But if I say "on your left," it would be nice if they didn't hog the entire track and moved over a bit. Same with trails like the White Pine Trail. It's a two-way trail, which seems to be lost on some people. 

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How come bikers in the street bike lanes don't have to have a license or any type of certification showing they understand how to properly use those lanes?

Having a couple classes and requiring a test for a nominal fee (help offset the cost of street paint) would go a long way in creating a safer environment for bikers and motorists.

Limit those lanes to 16+ years old and a valid license plus bikers insurance in case you hit a pedestrian or a dog or a parked car or what not.

I'm all for saving the plant but let's be safe and share the burden of cost.

In my view, many of the new bike lanes (in the city) are experimental designs. The ones on Division between the overpass with Michigan and Fulton lead motorists to improper lane use; every trip, a right-turning driver causes issues. (I can only imagine how newbie bicyclists handle these situations. No wonder they're still on the sidewalks.)

 

Also, maintenance. North Monroe has "door zone bike lanes" with the pavement striping atop serious potholes. Division's "facilities" badly need sweeping. So far no one has honked or yelled at me for using the traffic lane, but it's coming.

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Mi Road funding 101

 

I routes were built with Federal gas tax funds and are rebuilt / widened with Federal gas tax funds. Routine maintenance is with MI gas tax funds.

 

County roads are constructed and maintained with MI gas tax funds. They get some federal funding for projects, not maintenance. The Road Commissions do not get any property tax dollars There is some township funding for  improvements but county roads are maintained primarily with MI gas tax funds.

 

Cities get MI gas tax funds but usually supplement with city funds.

 

MI gas taxes are a combination of tax and the pump and vehicle registrations.

 

Goggle Mi Act 51 if you want more details:)

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But if I own two cars. I pay gas tax twice. If I own a car and bike, I only pay gas tax once for two modes of transportation.

Also, motorcyclists have to pass a test to legally operate one. It's not "included" with their normal drivers license. Same with CDL, chauffeur, etc. Why should bikes be exempt from safety classes and endorsements just because your road law knowledge is (questionably) better than average? That's just disingenuous.

What about the issue of insurance? Operating any device at 20+ mph warrants some type of protection for one's self and others. If a person rides in the road, that person should be legally required to carry cyclist insurance. Health insurance only goes so far and bikes in roadways comes with an expansive list of dangers that a health plan may not and/or not want to cover.

 

 

"Questionably?" Well you didnt' have to step into "dick" zone, but there ya go. :)

 

Cycling accidents (if I do damage to your car or person) are covered under the cyclist's homeowners insurance (your insurance company would likely go after my HO policy company). This applies if you ride on sidewalks and hit an old lady and her dog too. Damage to your bike is not covered though, unless you specifically have a rider on your policy. 

 

If you get hit on your bike and end up in the hospital, it's covered under your health insurance.

 

Seriously, the last thing this state needs is more regulations and insurance requirements. It's already too much of a nanny state as it is.

 

Comparing bikes on the roads to motorcycles is not even appropriate. Probably more closely related to a slow moving farm tractor, without an engine.

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Mi Road funding 101

 

I routes were built with Federal gas tax funds and are rebuilt / widened with Federal gas tax funds. Routine maintenance is with MI gas tax funds.

 

County roads are constructed and maintained with MI gas tax funds. They get some federal funding for projects, not maintenance. The Road Commissions do not get any property tax dollars There is some township funding for  improvements but county roads are maintained primarily with MI gas tax funds.

 

Cities get MI gas tax funds but usually supplement with city funds.

 

MI gas taxes are a combination of tax and the pump and vehicle registrations.

 

Goggle Mi Act 51 if you want more details:)

 

I stand corrected on the property tax portion, but it doesn't change my assertion that bicyclists do pay taxes that pay for roads.

 

But for argument's sake, let's "gas tax" bicycles. Since a pretty semi-regular bike rider probably puts 20 miles on their bike a week during the summer months (that's probably being generous), and we'll take the avg fuel efficiency of a small car at 35 mpg, that means the cyclist will use about 2/3's of a gallon of gas a week, that's 2/3's of the 19 cent gas tax per gallon or about 13 cents a week for 16 weeks, or about $2.08. It seems to me that by time that $2.08 goes to the state and gets filtered back to the roads, it wouldn't even pay for one pothole patch.

 

That $2.08 would more than be offset by the bicycle owner who never takes it out of his garage, but would be taxed anyway.

 

I consider myself a pretty avid cyclist (moreso in warmer months), and have put 7400 miles on my bike in 4 years. At 35 mpg, I've used about 211 gallons of "gas" equivalent, which equates to about $40 for 4 years.

 

Jusy sayin.

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In a prime example of Egg-On-Face-Of-City-And-Its-Stupid-Overpriced-Consultants (something I always love) is this:  http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/07/bike_share_grand_rapids_spokef.html

Consultant recommends city spend a minimum of half a million up to two million to get a bike share up and running by 2017.  A month later, a few guys already took care of it, with 60 bikes already in service.  I'm seeing them chained up all over the place now.  The pricing might need a little tweaking, but that they got this going so quickly, and probably for next to no money, is pretty impressive.  Nice job.

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In a prime example of Egg-On-Face-Of-City-And-Its-Stupid-Overpriced-Consultants (something I always love) is this:  http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/07/bike_share_grand_rapids_spokef.html

Consultant recommends city spend a minimum of half a million up to two million to get a bike share up and running by 2017.  A month later, a few guys already took care of it, with 60 bikes already in service.  I'm seeing them chained up all over the place now.  The pricing might need a little tweaking, but that they got this going so quickly, and probably for next to no money, is pretty impressive.  Nice job.

Does seem like the city was taking a moon-shot approach :) Glad someone stepped in and got it done.

Joe

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In a prime example of Egg-On-Face-Of-City-And-Its-Stupid-Overpriced-Consultants (something I always love) is this:  http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/07/bike_share_grand_rapids_spokef.html

Consultant recommends city spend a minimum of half a million up to two million to get a bike share up and running by 2017.  A month later, a few guys already took care of it, with 60 bikes already in service.  I'm seeing them chained up all over the place now.  The pricing might need a little tweaking, but that they got this going so quickly, and probably for next to no money, is pretty impressive.  Nice job.

Cool idea.  Would love to see how it works!

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I can't remember if I mentioned the idea here or in the Michigan Street Corridor thread, but it would be cool to take the rail line that runs behind Flatlanders and turn it into a rail trail like the White Pine Trail. Lo and behold, the city has long-term plans to do something like that.

Or at least a "shared use" path. Not sure if that means running alongside the railroad tracks and leaving them in place? 

http://grcity.us/enterprise-services/Lights-Signals-and-Signs/ArcGIS Mapping Configuration Files/GR Bike Facilities 12_18_6_11_2015.pdf?utm_source=Road+Construction+Distribution+List&utm_campaign=5adf23052d-Road_Construction_Recap7_28_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e9201dafa9-5adf23052d-86974113

 

 

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I can't remember if I mentioned the idea here or in the Michigan Street Corridor thread, but it would be cool to take the rail line that runs behind Flatlanders and turn it into a rail trail like the White Pine Trail. Lo and behold, the city has long-term plans to do something like that.

Or at least a "shared use" path. Not sure if that means running alongside the railroad tracks and leaving them in place? 

http://grcity.us/enterprise-services/Lights-Signals-and-Signs/ArcGIS Mapping Configuration Files/GR Bike Facilities 12_18_6_11_2015.pdf?utm_source=Road+Construction+Distribution+List&utm_campaign=5adf23052d-Road_Construction_Recap7_28_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e9201dafa9-5adf23052d-86974113

 

 

The tracks are still used, so as far as I know it would run next to it.

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