Jump to content

Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids


Recommended Posts

I honestly haven't kept up with this thread too much, so I am going to ask simple (and probably stupid) questions:

1: The Light BRT line would run down division to 52nd(?) and back to the station on Grandville. It's basically linked buses that run in their own lane on the same road. Correct? Anticipated to start running in?

2: The Streetcar plan calls for tracks in the pavement running from Sixth Street to the Transit station. If everything goes as planned, it will be running in 2014. What do these cars look like?

They are two separate initiatives, correct? Two separate groups? (The streetcar plan is the one endorsed by Logie, right?).

Sorry, I haven't kept up as a lot has been speculation but as I'm reading the news stories about funding, routes, dates, etc. my eyes cross. :)

Thanks!

Joe

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Replies 3.8k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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....?  

Posted Images

I honestly haven't kept up with this thread too much, so I am going to ask simple (and probably stupid) questions:

1: The Light BRT line would run down division to 52nd(?) and back to the station on Grandville. It's basically linked buses that run in their own lane on the same road. Correct? Anticipated to start running in?

2: The Streetcar plan calls for tracks in the pavement running from Sixth Street to the Transit station. If everything goes as planned, it will be running in 2014. What do these cars look like?

They are two separate initiatives, correct? Two separate groups? (The streetcar plan is the one endorsed by Logie, right?).

Sorry, I haven't kept up as a lot has been speculation but as I'm reading the news stories about funding, routes, dates, etc. my eyes cross. :)

Thanks!

Joe

Joe,

Essentially, both projects are being championed by ITP. Not sure of Logie's official stance on the streetcar, but he was very supportive of all things rail a while back.

The BRT would use Division Avenue from 60th Street to downtown. Then it would run onto side streets to get to Michigan Street where it heads down the hill. The route goes south on Monroe Avenue then eventually to the terminal. The buses will be low floor and in their own lanes for some parts of the route. I'm not sure if they will be "linked" or do you mean articulated? Assuming ITP wins all the funds, I think the project could be up and running by 2012. :dontknow:Check here for updates.

1200347233brt1web08fb0.jpg

As for the streetcar, all we can speculate is that they will be modern equipment. There are many makes out there and the typical reference is Portland, OR's:

1201028306portland20blugo9.jpg

Other makes elsewhere:

naplesstreetcarcb6.jpg

istockphoto3872214modergh4.jpg

Edited by Rizzo
Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^Rizzo, you know what is funny is that there was a rather large picture of a streetcar in the Press on Saturday in response to a some whiny antithetic letter to the editor on the topic of streetcars. Of course they had to use the worst depiction possible, the Kenosha loop. I think it has been successful, but it definately gives people who have never ventured outside of GR the wrong impression of modern public transit. You would think the Press is trying to kill this thing.

http://www.motorbussociety.org/conventn/02...osha%204606.jpg

That kind of looks like it was modeled after something like this Omaha streetcar from the 1890s.

2237219366_0f919edb58_b.jpg

Edited by fotoman311
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update. I thought the streetcar line was being pushed by Logie and Grand Action folks but maybe they just said they liked the idea.

Would the streetcars have electric lines above ground? I know there are multiple ways / reasons for doing one vs. the other.

All in all, they sound like great projects!

Joe

Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^Rizzo, you know what is funny is that there was a rather large picture of a streetcar in the Press on Saturday in response to a some whiny antithetic letter to the editor on the topic of streetcars. Of course they had to use the worst depiction possible, the Kenosha loop. I think it has been successful, but it definately gives people who have never ventured outside of GR the wrong impression of modern public transit. You would think the Press is trying to kill this thing.

http://www.motorbussociety.org/conventn/02...osha%204606.jpg

The Press is, or at least they don't think it's at all serious. You'll notice that the Press' coverage of the streetcar is very different from the Business Journal's, RapidGrowth's, MiBiz's and a host of other media. The Press has even compared the streetcar system to an old bus trolley that used to drive around downtown GR.

153-1.jpg

It's like comparing a new superhighway to a dusty two-lane road. Yes, they both move cars, and that's where the similarities end.

Here's the letter, with the heading "Fiscal restraint needed":

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ss....xml&coll=6

The writer just uses the usual playbook terms like "train to nowhere" and "empty buses" (despite record ridership this year). And he doesn't seem to understand that the Rapid nor the city are going to dole out $72 Million to build the streetcar system.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The writer just uses the usual playbook terms like "train to nowhere" and "empty buses" (despite record ridership this year). And he doesn't seem to understand that the Rapid nor the city are going to dole out $72 Million to build the streetcar system.

I've been reading about other cities projects and the reported investment generation. I've got a hard time thinking this $72 million is "free" or a good use of "our" money. If these projects are such investment generators, why can't the DDA or someone set up a tax increment capture for the $72 million. If it truly generates all the investment touted, a small tax portion for the system should be very doable. Better yet, no federal bidding regulations :thumbsup:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been reading about other cities projects and the reported investment generation. I've got a hard time thinking this $72 million is "free" or a good use of "our" money. If these projects are such investment generators, why can't the DDA or someone set up a tax increment capture for the $72 million. If it truly generates all the investment touted, a small tax portion for the system should be very doable. Better yet, no federal bidding regulations :thumbsup:

No, it's not "free", but I think it's a bit premature to judge the financing of it before any financing plan has been proposed. No? A tax capture may very well be part of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No, it's not "free", but I think it's a bit premature to judge the financing of it before any financing plan has been proposed. No? A tax capture may very well be part of it.

Yes I'm assuming "they" will go for federal funding. After all, that's what earmarks are for :shades:. I don't see any current state or local pots of money to tap :whistling: . And, all the politicians are babbling about new and innovative sources of funding without raising taxes. It thought smoking wacky tobacy was illegal. :dontknow:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I'm assuming "they" will go for federal funding. After all, that's what earmarks are for :shades: . I don't see any current state or local pots of money to tap :whistling: . And, all the politicians are babbling about new and innovative sources of funding without raising taxes. It thought smoking wacky tobacy was illegal. :dontknow:

I think you might be onto something. Maybe a marijuana tax is the answer to our mass transit funding problems. :thumbsup:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I'm assuming "they" will go for federal funding. After all, that's what earmarks are for :shades:. I don't see any current state or local pots of money to tap :whistling: . And, all the politicians are babbling about new and innovative sources of funding without raising taxes. It thought smoking wacky tobacy was illegal. :dontknow:

I think before lumping it in with Granholm's ideas, we should wait to hear what ideas are proposed. That's all I'm saying.

I just think that some people (not you RDD) have already decided they are against mass no matter how it is funded.

Link to post
Share on other sites

And a new train service in Spain that is trying beat airline travel time - the train clocks in at 220mph :shades:

I've ridden the old Ave in Spain. It's not as fast as the new one, but it's still blazing. The downside to the super-rapid trains in Spain is that unlike the "normal" commuter trains where you just hop on and pay the conductor or show tickets when he comes by, the Ave is expensive ($65 per person round-trip from Madrid to Sevilla four years ago) and you have to get to the station an hour ahead of time. The entire experience, while thrilling while aboard, reminded me of air travel.... get there early, wait around, get on the train early, wait on board until you're allowed to leave the station, etc.

There's no question high speed rail is incredibly effective in Europe... but it's really nothing more than an airline replacement (similar price, similar traveler experience, similar annoyances).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've ridden the old Ave in Spain. It's not as fast as the new one, but it's still blazing. The downside to the super-rapid trains in Spain is that unlike the "normal" commuter trains where you just hop on and pay the conductor or show tickets when he comes by, the Ave is expensive ($65 per person round-trip from Madrid to Sevilla four years ago) and you have to get to the station an hour ahead of time. The entire experience, while thrilling while aboard, reminded me of air travel.... get there early, wait around, get on the train early, wait on board until you're allowed to leave the station, etc.

There's no question high speed rail is incredibly effective in Europe... but it's really nothing more than an airline replacement (similar price, similar traveler experience, similar annoyances).

I know it's off topic a little, but I've ridden the TGV in France (LGV Paris to Marseille) and I have to disagree somewhat with your assessment of high speed rail transit as merely an equal replacement for airline travel. I found the experience far superior. I took the RER from my hotel in Paris to the Gare de Lyon and waited only 20-30 minutes for my train, waved goodbye to my parents, boarded the train (no security process - my parents could have come right on to the platform with me), found a seat and made my self as inconspicuously American as possible.

The ride itself was breathtaking as well. While you don't get the birds eye view of air travel, the views from the train were still superb, especially on our way out of Metropolitan Paris at normal speed.

The ride was very smooth and I fell asleep several times.

The only downside really was waiting in the station in Marseille for my connecting train to Aix-en-Provence.

Don't get me wrong, I love air travel, but the way Europeans have set up High Speed rail, it's a cheaper, more efficient time saver. Recall that Europe is smaller than the US, thus the added time requirements of Air travel negate the advantages of that mode between many cities (especially now that the new route between Dover and London is complete - the route between London and Paris is highly competative).

As a result, High speed rail in the United States would work well as a regional connector vis-a-vis the Northeast Corridor, Midwest Regional Highspeed Rail Initiative, Windsor-to-Quebec in Canada, California High Speed Network, Florida High Speed network etc.

On the other hand going from Chicago to Seattle by train, while possible easily bows to the superiority of Air Travel on that route.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bush seeks to virtually eliminate federal funding for public transit and ultimately undermine Amtrak in favor of highway development.

http://www.passengerrailtoday.com/ - from the article on the page entitled "Bush Budget Draws Fire"

The ink was hardly dry on the President’s fiscal year 2009 budget submission before the critics surfaced.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is outraged that the Bush Administration’s budget request for FY 2009 would cut $202.1 million for public transportation and proposes to transfer an estimated $3.2 billion dedicated for public transportation to fund highway projects.

It's like he's slashing and burning his way out of office - what an ass. Pardon my Freedom... i mean French.

I'm assuming the cuts would come largely from New Starts and Small Starts funding and projects that have not begun construction would be particularly vulnerable - a la Grand Rapids BRT and streetcar projects (though I thought the streetcar project was slated to be locally funded).

Edited by tracer1138
Link to post
Share on other sites

Bush seeks to virtually eliminate federal funding for public transit and ultimately undermine Amtrak in favor of highway development.

http://www.passengerrailtoday.com/ - from the article on the page entitled "Bush Budget Draws Fire"

The ink was hardly dry on the President’s fiscal year 2009 budget submission before the critics surfaced.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is outraged that the Bush Administration’s budget request for FY 2009 would cut $202.1 million for public transportation and proposes to transfer an estimated $3.2 billion dedicated for public transportation to fund highway projects.

It's like he's slashing and burning his way out of office - what an ass. Pardon my Freedom... i mean French.

I'm assuming the cuts would come largely from New Starts and Small Starts funding and projects that have not begun construction would be particularly vulnerable - a la Grand Rapids BRT and streetcar projects (though I thought the streetcar project was slated to be locally funded).

I don't know that the BRT was expected to get funding for 2009 (?) I don't think they've even completed all the studies yet. However, Bush's cuts will push a lot of projects expected to receive funding in 09 into the next year. If the funding isn't restored or increased, GR's BRT may be bumped.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that the BRT was expected to get funding for 2009 (?) I don't think they've even completed all the studies yet. However, Bush's cuts will push a lot of projects expected to receive funding in 09 into the next year. If the funding isn't restored or increased, GR's BRT may be bumped.

I'd like to think that the democratic majority in Congress will not stand for these cuts. But I wouldn't bet my house, either.

Here's a summary from a recent forum on the future of Transportation in America co-sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists:

"The League co-hosted a Presidential Candidates' Forum on Transportation & Infrastructure on January 31, 2008. The forum was hosted by The NYU Wagner Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management. Presidential candidates from both parties were invited to participate but the only candidates represented were Senators Obama, Clinton and Gravel as well as Representative Kucinich (still on the ballot in New York).

"The forum was a great opportunity to hear from the campaigns on their views in regards to the role bicycling should play in our national transportation system. Overall, each believes that as a nation we must fundamentally change the way we look at transportation policy and how it impacts other national policies such as health, energy, environment, economy. They all agree that integrating land use and providing alternative transportation options such as walking and bicycling must be a key component to any integrated system and that bicycle projects should indeed be funded in part by federal transportation dollars..."

I think it's safe to say that "alternative transportation options" and "fundamentally changing the way we look at transportation policy" would also include mass transit.

There's a little more info here:

http://www.wagner.nyu.edu/rudincenter/conferences/

and here's a link to the webcast of the forum (looks like it's requires realplayer). I haven't had a chance to view it yet, but I plan to this weekend perhaps:

http://livevideo.nyu.edu:8080/ramgen/archi...tation_panel.rm

Edited by fotoman311
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that the BRT was expected to get funding for 2009 (?) I don't think they've even completed all the studies yet. However, Bush's cuts will push a lot of projects expected to receive funding in 09 into the next year. If the funding isn't restored or increased, GR's BRT may be bumped.

I don't think so either. From my understanding it wasn't even funded, all that happened was that the feds declared the project good to compete for funding.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Varga tapped for transit funding task force

The Rapid's CEO Peter Varga was appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm for a spot on the state's transportation funding task force. The nine member group will evaluate strategies that maximize return on investments for surface and air transportation. The task force will also identify other alternatives to current funding sources.

1134163323375f11zm7.jpg

More at RideTheRapid.org

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! I so badly want to express my opinion on Bush in writing (it in no way would be appropriate here), yet I'll settle with an emoticon: :angry:

I can express my opinion of Bush like this :rofl: because I didn't vote for him ever, warned everybody I knew not to and have felt like you do now this entire time he has been YOUR President. I love how I have to use a magnifying glass now to find all the incredible shrinking Bushophiles now. It is an absolutely GOLDEN moment. :yahoo:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Carless in Grand Rapids for a few days. No big deal as The Rapid was within access, so it became primary transportation for the duration. I haven't utilized The Rapid in some time, so I decided to use the experience as a reintroduction. My thoughts while riding some routes have helped to solidify my opinion of local transit and the future of it.

A few things:

  • Used the opportunity to help a family member learn the basics -- they are now sold on using the Rapid to get downtown more often. Might even use it daily for errands until they feel confident in using it for time sensitive activities (work, appointments, etc.)
  • In my opinion some routes are staffed with very helpful and courteous drivers. A+ on customer service
  • I hold firm that you don't have to ride transit to be able to praise or criticize it. Everyone with some kind of interest should get involved. It's my belief that continuing and expanding The Rapid's services will only provide more tangible benefits to the greater region. The Rapid seems to give Grand Rapids more tools for attracting economic opportunity much like good schools, low crime, roads, and the airport are touted.

    So here's a thumbs up to the folks at ITP and The Rapid! :good:

Edited by Rizzo
Link to post
Share on other sites

Carless in Grand Rapids for a few days. No big deal as The Rapid was within access, so it became primary transportation for the duration. I haven't utilized The Rapid in some time, so I decided to use the experience as a reintroduction. My thoughts while riding some routes have helped to solidify my opinion of local transit and the future of it.

A few things:

  • Used the opportunity to help a family member learn the basics -- they are now sold on using the Rapid to get downtown more often. Might even use it daily for errands until they feel confident in using it for time sensitive activities (work, appointments, etc.)
  • In my opinion some routes are staffed with very helpful and courteous drivers. A+ on customer service
  • I hold firm that you don't have to ride transit to be able to praise or criticize it. Everyone with some kind of interest should get involved. It's my belief that continuing and expanding The Rapid's services will only provide more tangible benefits to the greater region. The Rapid seems to give Grand Rapids more tools for attracting economic opportunity much like good schools, low crime, roads, and the airport are touted.

    So here's a thumbs up to the folks at ITP and The Rapid! :good:

Ha! While you were in GR critiquing the Rapid, I was in Chicagoland critiquing the Metra. We rode the Metra from Mount Prospect into downtown Chicago, and it was great! We left at about 11:00 AM, so the ride was a little longer than usual (about 45 minutes to downtown). Usually they have "express" service at rush hour with fewer stops, and it would only be about a 20 minute ride. Metro UPNW Line Schedule, UP-NW Map, Metra system map. Driving the Kennedy Expwy from that area near O'Hare to downtown Chicago would take you at LEAST 45 minutes during rush hour, so I would think the Metra or CTA are both no-brainers for a lot of people (although not enough people apparently).

Anyway, Mt. Prospect sits on the Union Pacific Northwest Line, very smooth ride, $3.80 one way, park on site $1.50 for the whole day, kids rode for free! :thumbsup:

Here's the scene in the village of Mount Prospect, population 56,000, but surrounded by the areas of Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Rosemont, and minutes from O'Hare, so I'd say there's at least 1/2 Million+ people within a 10 mile radius. Back in the late 90's, Mount Prospect really pushed to revitalize its downtown around the transit stop, and now there are mixed-use TOD's every where you look. Same situation at every stop along the line, with Des Plaines having large developments recently built/going up.

Here's a Bird's Eye View.

Looking NW toward Arlington Heights along the platform:

2278126235_ce3fe69e4c_b.jpg

The outbound train roaring through:

2278917518_a1506c0576_b.jpg

It's cool how it blows the snow away!

2283192101_9d9f88d6e8_o.jpg

2278127129_f6bff13720_b.jpg

A relatively new mixed use development right across the street from the station:

2278918342_9c17e411e9_b.jpg

I was surprised to see that Caribbou Coffee packed with Moms with kids.

Another mixed-use development on a side street:

2278130009_7343b9ec84_b.jpg

Even the backside of the Caribbou Coffee development was nicely done:

2278132013_234991f18b_b.jpg

I was very impressed. I could visualize a very similar scene in towns like downtown Grandville, Hudsonville, Ada or Comstock Park along GR's rail lines.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.