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GRDadof3

Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids

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I feel what is meant, is that Bus 12 is designed for 'locals' and bus 50 is for 'GV students'.    Since more or less that's how it has been and looks like that's what will continue.   

~10 years ago I rode bus 50 and never once saw someone that wasn't a student.  I guess not many people wanna cram onto a bus chock full of college students?   I believe at that time the bus terminated at the bus station as well.

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1 hour ago, HavingAhoot said:

I love the looks but this intersection continues to get messed up. they gave up on the pedestrian markers and now the trees....

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I think because of the 196 detour, a lot more trucks are using that intersection than were planned. I actually saw the tree, run over with tire tracks all over the landscaped median. 

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18 minutes ago, thebeerqueer said:

Bless WoodTV's hearts ...

"The Laker Line will use antiquated buses which are 60 feet long, replacing the current buses which are just 40 feet long. The added length will allow more people to ride, increasing the capacity on the route by about 50 percent."

I hope they meant to say articulating buses. 

https://www.woodtv.com/news/grand-rapids/the-rapid-breaks-ground-on-new-laker-line/2049133453

 

There's no mention as to whether or not the antiquated buses will have  restricted diamond lanes during rush periods.  Can anyone confirm if LMD will have lane restrictions?  If it does not, using the term BRT for the Laker Line will be a bit fraudulent.  I would hate to see them spend all this money on antiquated buses, only to have them function as a regular bus.  (Also can we please only refer to articulated buses as antiquated buses from now on?)

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29 minutes ago, MJLO said:

There's no mention as to whether or not the antiquated buses will have  restricted diamond lanes during rush periods.  Can anyone confirm if LMD will have lane restrictions?  If it does not, using the term BRT for the Laker Line will be a bit fraudulent.  I would hate to see them spend all this money on antiquated buses, only to have them function as a regular bus.  (Also can we please only refer to articulated buses as antiquated buses from now on?)

I would imagine the right lanes in each direction on LMD would have the lane restrictions but can't confirm.  How about this, as of Saturday afternoon, there were no diamonds or any signs indicating bus lane restrictions. 

100% support the permanent change to antiquated buses. That being said, WoodTV has fixes the typo. :tw_bawling:

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1 hour ago, MJLO said:

There's no mention as to whether or not the antiquated buses will have  restricted diamond lanes during rush periods.  Can anyone confirm if LMD will have lane restrictions?  If it does not, using the term BRT for the Laker Line will be a bit fraudulent.  I would hate to see them spend all this money on antiquated buses, only to have them function as a regular bus.  (Also can we please only refer to articulated buses as antiquated buses from now on?)

There are no plans for lane restrictions on LMD for the Laker Line due to the high volumes of traffic and the relative steadiness at which it flows. That said, the buses will be equipped with traffic signal priority.

Not that designating bus only lanes would make any difference with the existing lack of enforcement. If you've ever been on Monroe or Division during rush hour, there's just as many cars in the Silver Line lanes as there are in the regular travel lane.

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17 minutes ago, MJLO said:

Sigh...  I totally understand why there aren't dedicated lanes on LMD.  A few pages ago I called that they wouldn't be able to implement restricted lanes due to existing traffic volumes and congestion.  They simply cannot call this Bus Rapid TransitIt is only an enhanced bus line.  Every day from 4-7 there will be nothing rapid about these buses.  In terms of lack of lane enforcement, I blame this on regional leadership, as well Rapid leadership.  Diamond lanes are a completely foreign concept in Michigan culture.   From both a resident understanding, to  how to enforce them.  Slapping up diamond signs with hours and intermittent painted lanes, aren't enough to educate the resident base.  Especially along the Silver Line route.  At the very least they need digital signage indicating when a lane is closed.  IMO the execution of the Silver Line was half assed. Naive at best. 

This region has come so far in the years I've been following it.  It is issues like this that represent that last little gap that can get the area from where we are- to where we are trying to go.  It seems like there is a lack of creativity to overcome obstacles.  Were things like reversible lanes at all considered for these BRT corridors?  It doesn't take a genius to figure out that traffic patterns shift between the morning and afternoon.  Let the commuters be a little more inconvenienced driving up and down LMD while watching these busses fly by.  Human beings are lazy creatures of convenience.  Watch a culture shift happen when it's actually easier to take a bus.  I get that it takes money to implement more effective signal systems and reconfigure traffic.  What is the point of doing any of this if it can't be done right?  What we are ending up with are redundant bus services, with little  distinguishable differences....and then the people who implement these things can figure out why they aren't spurring development along these corridors?

 

I have to disagree, should 5 or 10% of the commuter population be given 50% of the roadway? No matter what you do, the Laker Line is going to be predominantly Lakers (GVSU students). I do think the Laker Line will take more students out of their cars, but as for the rest of of the LMD commuters, I feel like putting in diamond lanes would be punishing them. And honestly they could try if for a few weeks and the uproar would be pretty large, since there aren't a lot of alternatives other than O'Brien or going up to Leonard and taking that in and out of downtown, which is already a pretty hairy mess of pedestrians and cars. 

The MLive article says it will only cut 5 minutes off the drive from Allendale. I was a bit disappointed it wasn't more than that. But the extra capacity will help (and the antiquated/articulated buses will probably be at capacity in short order). 

The Silver Line should have been put on Century Avenue, which I just saw has a pretty sweet new bikes only highway section that won't get used. When is the city going to learn that putting in really nice bike infrastructure feeding into low income neighborhoods is not going to give any ROI? 

 

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17 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

I have to disagree, should 5 or 10% of the commuter population be given 50% of the roadway? No matter what you do, the Laker Line is going to be predominantly Lakers (GVSU students). I do think the Laker Line will take more students out of their cars, but as for the rest of of the LMD commuters, I feel like putting in diamond lanes would be punishing them. And honestly they could try if for a few weeks and the uproar would be pretty large, since there aren't a lot of alternatives other than O'Brien or going up to Leonard and taking that in and out of downtown, which is already a pretty hairy mess of pedestrians and cars. 

The Silver Line should have been put on Century Avenue, which I just saw has a pretty sweet new bikes only highway section that won't get used. When is the city going to learn that putting in really nice bike infrastructure feeding into low income neighborhoods is not going to give any ROI? 

I don't disagree with your statements.  I also can't imagine the political nightmare it is to implement what little they already have(especially in the western suburbs).   Truly if they wanted to implement a BRT system along LMD at minimum it would require investment of another lane, along with a combination of reversible traffic patterns to allow for both.  It has been long proven that W. Michigan residents aren't ready to step up for that kind of investment.    As it exists now they could be more creative and concrete on their implementation along Division Ave. It does not carry the commuter volumes seen on LMD.  They could reconfigure lanes, add digital signage, and actually enforce bus priority, and it would create something more resembling BRT.  I also think the added convenience would spur more demand to live along it.

I am a bit disappointed in the lost potential.  As it stands the reality is the region isn't willing to pay for what these leaders want.  What they are doing is buying the cheap knock off and hoping no one notices.  

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12 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

The MLive article says it will only cut 5 minutes off the drive from Allendale. I was a bit disappointed it wasn't more than that. But the extra capacity will help (and the antiquated/articulated buses will probably be at capacity in short order). 

 

It seems to me that the slow part of this route is from the Pew campus to 196, where the discussion about diamond lanes would be impractical, and the size of the bus being added does nothing to increase route speed, just addressing capacity.  

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26 minutes ago, cstonesparty said:

It seems to me that the slow part of this route is from the Pew campus to 196, where the discussion about diamond lanes would be impractical, and the size of the bus being added does nothing to increase route speed, just addressing capacity.  

LMD Backs up for a mile everyday westbound at Wilson, and sometimes eastbound as well.  It also gets slow around Covell coming out of the Ford interchange during rush periods.  This in addition to any congestion on the immediate Westside.  I'll wager afternoon riders on Westbound buses will experience almost no difference in commute time if any. 

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LMD is the 6th highest volume surface road in the area (28th, Alpine, E Beltline, Plainfield, 44th St) with a last published traffic count of about 32k vehicles.  If you throw diamond lanes in there, you sow havoc.  Add another lane (12 ft? x2?) and you're wiping out tons of homes/businesses.  How is this remotely practical?  I think the LakerLine solution was to try to increase capacity  and efficiency for the highest ridership line in the system without creating massive disruption with untenable solutions.    

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1 hour ago, cstonesparty said:

LMD is the 6th highest volume surface road in the area (28th, Alpine, E Beltline, Plainfield, 44th St) with a last published traffic count of about 32k vehicles.  If you throw diamond lanes in there, you sow havoc.  Add another lane (12 ft? x2?) and you're wiping out tons of homes/businesses.  How is this remotely practical?  I think the LakerLine solution was to try to increase capacity  and efficiency for the highest ridership line in the system without creating massive disruption with untenable solutions.    

https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-11151-22141--,00.html

Actually  MDOT's 2017 average daily traffic counts put LMD's volume almost 42,000  daily drivers for the busiest stretch of this route.  That is busier than any stretch of 28th, and only behind Alpine between the I-96 exit ramps and North Center Dr. The area that comprises LMD from Collindale to Wilson was developed from 1960's to 80's with little zoning oversight.   At some point, whether you factor in transit or not, the continually building traffic volumes along Lake Michigan Drive must be addressed.  This means the homes and businesses that are too close to the road (mostly ugly and not well kept) will face the fate of a widening road regardless.  We are talking an extra 12-15 feet of road.  If structures are THAT close to the street they probably need to go anyway.

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You actually highlight another problem. Allendale has grown 650% since 1970.  All Ottawa County TWPs that border Kent have collectively grown more than 230% since 1970.  The states infrastructure has largely been set since the 1960's when Allendale had 3,500 residents.   The city of Walker had less than half the residents it does now.  There are no direct north/south connections in Ottawa County east of  US-31.  That means  the 122,000 residents now living  in the townships  bordering  Kent  County basically have 3 options to enter Greater Grand Rapids.  More than 80% of these folks either have to zig zag through country roads to get to I-196, or funnel down LMD .  The eastern portions of Ottawa County will likely remain the fastest growing in the state in the coming years.   Ottawa County is about to cross over the 300k resident mark and become the 7th most populous county in Michigan, so expect the stressors along LMD only to get worse. 

I do think part of this solution involves transit.  I fully understand the math about 5% of the commuters getting 50% of the road, and I don't want to oversell impracticality for the sake of idealism.  The truth is we don't know what the mode share would be if taking the bus was faster than a vehicle.   I'm all for an enhanced bus service along LMD.  I find it disingenuous at best that they are calling it BRT when it is not.   There are no priority lanes, and no signage.  Signal priority will be worthless if a bus is stuck in traffic and is 4 or 5 cycles back from the intersection.  There are currently no plans to bring eastern Ottawa County's infracture to meet it's current volume(let alone plan for the future). LMD will continue to be the only option for the majority of those residents.  It would be awesome if city and transit leadership would power through solutions to make that happen, including widening the thoroughfare.  And yeah,  if some homes and business built during a different, less populated era are removed so be it.   It's just a part of life for places experiencing growing pains. 

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1 hour ago, MJLO said:

  There are no direct north/south connections in Ottawa County east of  US-31. 

This is why I have suggested extending M-6 b/w Hudsonville and Gerogetown, through Allendale and then eventually Poopersvile.  Will it ever happen?  Probably not.  imagine being able to come from the East side of the state to GVSU and  being able to completely avoid downtown.  Here's my crude drawing.  If you look on google maps closer, there wouldn't really be a whole lot of structures in the way.  The areas will only continue to grow, maybe MDOT could plan ahead :tw_open_mouth:

 

331.thumb.png.c5427403a955c5eedced14bb3601da40.png331.thumb.png.aac97379115624cbd3a4e109338af4df.png

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Actually  MDOT's 2017 average daily traffic counts put LMD's volume almost 42,000  daily drivers for the busiest stretch of this route.  That is busier than any stretch of 28th, and only behind Alpine between the I-96 exit ramps and North Center Dr. The area that comprises LMD from Collindale to Wilson was developed from 1960's to 80's with little zoning oversight.   At some point, whether you factor in transit or not, the continually building traffic volumes along Lake Michigan Drive must be addressed.  This means the homes and businesses that are too close to the road (mostly ugly and not well kept) will face the fate of a widening road regardless.  We are talking an extra 12-15 feet of road.  If structures are THAT close to the street they probably need to go anyway.

What?  In Standale there's cross access on most of the properties so one doesn't have to enter LMD to go 3 stores down. There are not many homes or business close to the road. Plus, the ROW is generous at 100 feet rather than the statutory 66 feet due to the fact that it is M-45 - a state trunk line and has been for almost 100 years. There is room for 7 - 12 lanes in the 100 foot ROW with room for a 5 foot sidewalk on each side.

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40 minutes ago, Raildude's dad said:

What?  In Standale there's cross access on most of the properties so one doesn't have to enter LMD to go 3 stores down. There are not many homes or business close to the road. Plus, the ROW is generous at 100 feet rather than the statutory 66 feet due to the fact that it is M-45 - a state trunk line and has been for almost 100 years. There is room for 7 - 12 lanes in the 100 foot ROW with room for a 5 foot sidewalk on each side.

Thank you for the clarification.  I poorly worded my response.  I didn't intend to suggest that buildings were two close to the road in Standale.  I was thinking about the lack of uniformity in what was built, and the chaos signs and wires everywhere.  I mixed two different subjects.  I do not agree with the thought that multiple homes and businesses would be torn down if it were widened.  I can't think of anything in the Walker portion that is too close to the road.  I feel like there would be some properties that would lose space on the Grand Rapids portion,  IIRC they are mostly residential.

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21 hours ago, TheSutterKing said:

Not sure how it would be done, but another lane from allendale to downtown on LMD would be ideal.

The only way I could support this is if it is a dedicated bus lane. Adding lanes to trunk-line such as this doesn't solve congestion problems, it just induces demand and fills the lanes with cars again. 

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13 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

What?  In Standale there's cross access on most of the properties so one doesn't have to enter LMD to go 3 stores down. There are not many homes or business close to the road. Plus, the ROW is generous at 100 feet rather than the statutory 66 feet due to the fact that it is M-45 - a state trunk line and has been for almost 100 years. There is room for 7 - 12 lanes in the 100 foot ROW with room for a 5 foot sidewalk on each side.

100' ROW??!! Dang, lol.   I don't think you'd want a 5 foot sidewalk anywhere near a 7-12 lane roadway. You'd have to put up permanent fences (aka Las Vegas Boulevard).  Can you imagine? 

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I do think this Laker Line is not TRULY a BRT, other than the raised platforms and larger buses. An additional bus-only lane could have been added in the more congested areas, but as others have said, you would have had to take out quite a few homes and businesses from Wilson to Covell. 

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13 hours ago, Floyd_Z said:

This is why I have suggested extending M-6 b/w Hudsonville and Gerogetown, through Allendale and then eventually Poopersvile.  Will it ever happen?  Probably not.  imagine being able to come from the East side of the state to GVSU and  being able to completely avoid downtown.  Here's my crude drawing.  If you look on google maps closer, there wouldn't really be a whole lot of structures in the way.  The areas will only continue to grow, maybe MDOT could plan ahead :tw_open_mouth:

Theres aren't structures in the way, but there are some significant residential developments that it certainly would have to plow through.  You can also see the east/west trail of lakes and muck (between Georgetown and Hudsonville) that perhaps could add challenges.

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14 hours ago, Floyd_Z said:

This is why I have suggested extending M-6 b/w Hudsonville and Gerogetown, through Allendale and then eventually Poopersvile.  Will it ever happen?  Probably not.  imagine being able to come from the East side of the state to GVSU and  being able to completely avoid downtown.  Here's my crude drawing.  If you look on google maps closer, there wouldn't really be a whole lot of structures in the way.  The areas will only continue to grow, maybe MDOT could plan ahead :tw_open_mouth:

 

331.thumb.png.c5427403a955c5eedced14bb3601da40.png331.thumb.png.aac97379115624cbd3a4e109338af4df.png

Yes, it'd be pretty trick running through that area, and with affecting/buying out the least number of land owners.  As JoSchmo said you'd probably have to have bridges through a lot of the celery flats. 

1258512734_M6extension.thumb.jpg.7f200ae3911bf1e20d4cfe86db13e413.jpg

 

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