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Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids


GRDadof3

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The GM Bailout may demand GM to study the feasibility of using some shops to build light rail trains and buses.

I'm not even sure if GM remembers how to build locomotives, much less light rail equipment. It once built railway locomotives through its Electro-Motive Division. Personally, I think this might back fire.

Edited by Rizzo
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The GM Bailout may demand GM to study the feasibility of using some shops to build light rail trains and buses.

I'm not even sure if GM remembers how to build locomotives, much less light rail equipment. It once built railway locomotives through its Electro-Motive Division. Personally, I think this might back fire.

If there some guaranteed demand it might make sense, but I don't see the feds making that kind of large commitment. Didn't Boeing try making rail cars for a while? That didn't end well.

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Rizz:

Here's what I posted at itoldthepresident.org:

"President-Elect Obama:

With the State of Michigan's Governor - Jennifer Granholm - working feverishly to remake Michigan into a national center of alternative energy and green practices (such as transit-oriented development), I would like to take a moment to make sure you are aware of Michigan's showplace for these issues: Metropolitan Grand Rapids.

Since this region, known as "Michigan's West Coast", has crossed the one million-population threshold in 1996, it has grown into a four county area of 1.3 million people midway between Chicago and Detroit. Among recent significant happenings including the world-wide showcase of GR during President Gerald R. Ford's burial, the garnering of national LEED-certification per capita dominance and the current $2 billion of downtown development, Metro GR is poised to begin the institution of world-class fixed guideway mass transit.

With this region's growing leadership concensus in supporting streetrail, bus rapid transit (rubber-tired lightrail) and metrowide commuter rail, Metro Grand Rapids - with support from you - could be positioned as a national example of how transit and transit-oriented development can work hand-in-hand in struggling cities across America to redevelop/reinvigorate sagging urban areas and create thousands of new jobs from the construction and development of these sysytems as well as the ongoing jobs created by the residential/retail/office/entertainment functions housed within and adjacent to the stations of the resulting transit-oriented developments.

The fact that this scenario supports green practices in a highly visible fashion and would create a green alternative for the Big Three auto companies to manufacture transit vehicles for and ongoing replacement parts for would go far toward bolstering the Obama call for change. It would create change in a way that was far removed from being rhetorical and that would be seen in the future as ingenious, practical, pragmatic and environmentally responsible.

Sincerely,

<Metrogrkid>

President, <Local Society Enhancement Organization>

Associate of Patrick Miles Jr., Obama Harvard Classmate & <Local Society Enhancement Organization> Legal Counsel"

Digging the GR love but how can Granholm tout Michigan as a forerunner in TOD development when they don't even really have any...let alone a vialbe mass transit system. Meanwhile Portland has a fully functioning street car and Boston has loads of TOD development. At this point such projects anymore are just merely keeping up with the times. If we wanna be a progressive leader lets construct that bullet train from Detroit to Chicago!

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I'm not sure about the rail either, though there may be big contracts available from other states and cities. Buses make sense. They should also consider using vacant factory space/production lines and skilled laborers to build wind turbines. My understanding is that many of the turbines being erected in MI are shipped in. MI ranks 14th in the Union for potential wind energy; I expect to see many more wind farms going up in the next few years.

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I'm not sure about the rail either, though there may be big contracts available from other states and cities. Buses make sense. They should also consider using vacant factory space/production lines and skilled laborers to build wind turbines. My understanding is that many of the turbines being erected in MI are shipped in. MI ranks 14th in the Union for potential wind energy; I expect to see many more wind farms going up in the next few years.

GM used to build buses (right LA Dave? - we used to ride them in GR) and locomotives. They got out of the business because it wasn't part of their core business and I'm sure profitability. So now the company is in the sh**er due to the economy and Congress "decides" they should reenter those product lines? Oh and build cars Congress thinks they should build, not what consumers want to buy (No one made us buy big SUV's and pickups - this aint Russia)). I cannot believe some of the idiotic statements from Congress.

End of Rant :whistling:

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GM used to build buses (right LA Dave? - we used to ride them in GR) and locomotives. They got out of the business because it wasn't part of their core business and I'm sure profitability. So now the company is in the sh**er due to the economy and Congress "decides" they should reenter those product lines? Oh and build cars Congress thinks they should build, not what consumers want to buy (No one made us buy big SUV's and pickups - this aint Russia)). I cannot believe some of the idiotic statements from Congress.

End of Rant :whistling:

I agree. While GM should stop fighting CAFE standards, the surest way to run them into the ground is to force the U.S. automakers to make cars that Americans are not going to be able to afford (hybrids come with a premium, a fact that most in congress aren't aware of). Unless congress attaches to it some kind of tax credit for car buyers to make hybrids match up with standard cars.

Even Toyota and Honda got into the truck/SUV markets in the U.S., driven by consumer demand.

Having the Detroit 3 build trains? What lunacy. It'd take them 20 years to catch up with the Germans in train building.

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Funny, that's exactly what I've been thinking. Why is it that we are the only super-power in the world that doesn't have a bullet train? California, just this Nov 4, decided to build one. How long did it take us to catch up to the Europeans and Japanese? At least a quarter century. Could you imagine the jobs created by building a whole bunch of bullet trains? The cities that would be the terminal points would explode with new growth opportunities. How awesome would it be to go from Orlando to Detroit (my personal wish) or Chicago to LA? The commute times would be cut significantly and more people could transit to vacation spots or for business. Also, it would ellieviate the congestion in the skies and give peolpe another option.

Would bullet trains benefit commerce as well or are they usually just meant for passenger service?

If we wanna be a progressive leader lets construct that bullet train from Detroit to Chicago!
Edited by d8alterego
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Funny, that's exactly what I've been thinking. Why is it that we are the only super-power in the world that doesn't have a bullet train? California, just this Nov 4, decided to build one. How long did it take us to catch up to the Europeans and Japanese? At least a quarter century. Could you imagine the jobs created by building a whole bunch of bullet trains? The cities that would be the terminal points would explode with new growth opportunities. How awesome would it be to go from Orlando to Detroit (my personal wish) or Chicago to LA? The commute times would be cut significantly and more people could transit to vacation spots or for business. Also, it would ellieviate the congestion in the skies and give peolpe another option.

Would bullet trains benefit commerce as well or are they usually just meant for passenger service?

From what I understand, there are two advantage of taking a high-speed train vs. taking an airplane. One is trains offer much faster check in times than planes and the other is trains offering better access to city centers than far flung airports. As long as transit authorities continue to locate train stations in city centers and keep check in times to a minimum as the use of trains gains in popularity, trains will hold an edge over airplanes esp. in regional travel.

Edited by tamias6
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The GM Bailout may demand GM to study the feasibility of using some shops to build light rail trains and buses.

I'm not even sure if GM remembers how to build locomotives, much less light rail equipment. It once built railway locomotives through its Electro-Motive Division. Personally, I think this might back fire.

I believe the Electo-Motive Division was a profitable part of GM even up until the time that they sold it and that GM sold it to continue financing car operations. I never understood the mentality of getting rid of every part of GM that was profitable to focus solely on making cars/trucks which was not profitable. I guess now they have run out of things to offer at the fire sale. I doubt that it is very efficient to turn the car plants into rail plants as opposed to just increasing existing facilities at current rail companies. Not to mention where are they going to get the plans, would they have to start development from scratch or are we talking about producing other companies designs at GM's plants. But if Congress can guarantee that there would be a market for the products, Congress's fault there is no market, why the heck not. My hope in supporting this would be that this would lead to greater economies of scale and more mass production of rail/bus vehicles decreasing the costs to transit companies and making transit projects more palatable. Of course there is the large possibility that it would be a colossal waste of time and money.

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Well then let's get that Detroit-Chicago extension built! ;) I would take a bullet train home in a heartbeat to Michigan if it was offered from Orlando.

As long as transit authorities continue to locate train stations in city centers and keep check in times to a minimum as the use of trains gains in popularity, trains will hold an edge over airplanes esp. in regional travel.
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Digging the GR love but how can Granholm tout Michigan as a forerunner in TOD development when they don't even really have any...let alone a vialbe mass transit system. Meanwhile Portland has a fully functioning street car and Boston has loads of TOD development. At this point such projects anymore are just merely keeping up with the times. If we wanna be a progressive leader lets construct that bullet train from Detroit to Chicago!

<insert sad sigh> The text forwarded to President-Elect Obama is not stating that Granholm is "touting" Michigan as any transit forerunner - you can believe she knows it currently is still auto-dominated Michigan. It infers instead that Granholm has the sense to see that Michigan - with the lead of current Grand Rapids and Detroit transit projects - can become a national showplace of state-of-the-art mass transit and the sustainable TOD that would spring from it.

It amazes me how many people really do not have the capacity to look beyond what Michigan "is not", "has not" or "cannot" (refered to also as "stating the obvious" or having "20/20 hindsight"). Many leaders in this state - from ITP/The Rapid's Peter Varga to Governor Granholm - are thankfully in the mindset of planning ahead for what Michigan can be made into. This type of thinking is what took Michigan from being "not a bio-tech state" to now being widely seen as the next site for a Michigan version of Mayo or Cleveland clinic infrastructure. The same type of thinking can MAKE Michigan a new showplace for the newest practices in world-class intermodal mass transit and TOD.

". . . . Having the Detroit 3 build trains? What lunacy. It'd take them 20 years to catch up with the Germans in train building"

My parents always said the following: ". . . . the future is what you make it, not what you wait for. Those that wait for the future to be decided for them are those that have no say in it . . . .". At this time in both Metro GR's and Michigan's futures, wiser words were never spoken. Let's heed them and make the transit-connected and transit technology-producing Michigan the State needs to be. We have alot of catching up and innovating to do and the train is most definitely pulling out of the station.

Edited by metrogrkid
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<insert sad sigh> The text forwarded to President-Elect Obama is not stating that Granholm is "touting" Michigan as any transit forerunner - you can believe she knows it currently is still auto-dominated Michigan. It infers instead that Granholm has the sense to see that Michigan - with the lead of current Grand Rapids and Detroit transit projects - can become a national showplace of state-of-the-art mass transit and the sustainable TOD that would spring from it.

It amazes me how many people really do not have the capacity to look beyond what Michigan "is not", "has not" or "cannot" (refered to also as "stating the obvious" or having "20/20 hindsight"). Many leaders in this state - from ITP/The Rapid's Peter Varga to Governor Granholm - are thankfully in the mindset of planning ahead for what Michigan can be made into. This type of thinking is what took Michigan from being "not a bio-tech state" to now being widely seen as the next site for a Michigan version of Mayo or Cleveland clinic infrastructure. The same type of thinking can MAKE Michigan a new showplace for the newest practices in world-class intermodal mass transit and TOD.

My parents always said the following: ". . . . the future is what you make it, not what you wait for. Those that wait for the future to be decided for them are those that have no say in it . . . .". At this time in both Metro GR's and Michigan's futures, wiser words were never spoken. Let's heed them and make the transit-connected and transit technology-producing Michigan the State needs to be. We have alot of catching up and innovating to do and the train is most definitely pulling out of the station.

Not when GM is burning through $6 Billion a month and with over $110 Billion in legacy costs outstanding. They'll never survive 5 years or so and $Billions in R&D that it would take for them to ramp up to full "train locomotive" production. It took them that long to switch over to tanks, planes and artillery for WWII, and they were GUARANTEED a big customer (the U.S. government).

There's also that saying "Keep reaching for the stars, but keep your feet planted firmly on the ground."

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To give you an idea GRDad. Ford motor company built an airplane factory and airfeild after Pearl Harbor. By 1944 it was producing almost 14 planes a day. Now that is what our American Car Companies can do. So do not ever tell me that they can not compete. The problem for them is that they got stuck with Americans buying SUVs and Trucks hands over fists and not protecting thier car edge. If they protected thier car edge they would never have been in the situation that they are in. I think the key thing is that they are going to reduce the amount of brands and types of vehicles. That will allow them to change and add new electric models faster. What they need is some cash aka loans to get them from right now to next model year. That will allow them an ability to do the restructering.

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To give you an idea GRDad. Ford motor company built an airplane factory and airfeild after Pearl Harbor. By 1944 it was producing almost 14 planes a day. Now that is what our American Car Companies can do. So do not ever tell me that they can not compete. The problem for them is that they got stuck with Americans buying SUVs and Trucks hands over fists and not protecting thier car edge. If they protected thier car edge they would never have been in the situation that they are in. I think the key thing is that they are going to reduce the amount of brands and types of vehicles. That will allow them to change and add new electric models faster. What they need is some cash aka loans to get them from right now to next model year. That will allow them an ability to do the restructering.

I didn't say they can't compete. Sure, they CAN do it, if there is an incentive (like War with Germany and Japan and a war chest full of American bought war bond cash). Let us not forget the two hottest selling vehicles in America for the past two decades have been the Ford F-Series pickups and Chevy Silverados (by a whopping margin). Most of those people are not going to switch to Chevy Volts. In fact, most of those people aren't going to buy any new cars any time soon.

How many hybrids were sold in America in 2007? 330,000, or about 2% of cars sold in America. Even with gas prices as high as they were, only 2%. So the Detroit 3 should give up their 50% of the U.S. auto market and concentrate on excelling in that 2% segment?

I'm with RDD. Sure the Detroit 3 can probably do all these things. But as part of the Washington financing deal? No.

I guarantee that even under the watchful eye of a Washington Car Czar, GM and the others next Summer are going to be begging for more time and more money to develop these technologies (and find buyers for it). I'd love it if every car and truck on the road were hybrid or electric. Find a way to make it cheap enough for Americans to buy, with declining wages and tightening credit, and it will happen. Oh, and then take all the hundreds of millions of existing gas guzzlers off the road somehow.

This is getting way off of transit though.

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Actually this is right with the topic. You have to look at the whole picture. I will talk about this more but just think about this, transit is just moving something or somebody from point A to point B. The How, Why, Where, and such are the things we are trying to get everybody informed on. So lets take this 48 page topic and get it to the point where we can honestly start filling in these points.

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Actually this is right with the topic. You have to look at the whole picture. I will talk about this more but just think about this, transit is just moving something or somebody from point A to point B. The How, Why, Where, and such are the things we are trying to get everybody informed on. So lets take this 48 page topic and get it to the point where we can honestly start filling in these points.

Sure, as long as we can all agree that GM will not be building locomotives any time soon, and definitely not with a Washington "bridge loan". :P

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You guys are forgetting one thing. Assuming GM can do the business -- where's the business going to come from? Don't expect rail love in the next stimulus.

It might be right to point out that a local company may stand to greatly profit from transit investments made locally and nationally. That is if the Federal government does the right thing. Cookie to the first guy who gets it.

Edited by Rizzo
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According to the Business Journal, the Streetcar project has gotten the green light from ITP. They've established a nine-step strategic plan to implement the project, the first of which setting up an oversight committee and a non-profit that will act like Grand Action to get funding in place.

Maybe someone here can get the actual minutes from the meeting? Rizzo?

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You guys are forgetting one thing. Assuming GM can do the business -- where's the business going to come from? Don't expect rail love in the next stimulus.

The freight transportation industry as a whole is down right now just like everyone else. My brother works for FedEx Freight and while they are actually doing quite well he is constantly telling me of smaller, regional carriers who are either being bought up by bigger fish or going under.

Edited by j3shafer
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Found this article on the various types of BRT... Thought some might enjoy.

http://www.planetizen.com/node/36406

BRT: A Case of Mistaken Identity

As Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, has become a much-discussed alternative among transportation planners, Jeff Wood of Reconnecting America argues that a rose by any other name does not smell as sweet. When comparing transportation options, it is important to understand the true definition.

Recent alternatives analyses have added a newcomer to the list of transit options. Light rail, heavy rail and bus alternatives have been joined by a hybrid bus option, known as Bus Rapid Transit or BRT. Proponents of this technology claim that it gives the benefits of rail at a lower cost, citing the success of systems in Curitiba, Brazil and Bogota, Columbia. Opponents believe the technology is being oversold and the full costs and benefits are misrepresented. But the biggest question everyone has is: What qualifies as Bus Rapid Transit?

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