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Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids


GRDadof3

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If the Silver Line millage doesn't pass, I don't see how a rail project which would require a larger millage increase would.

The loudest opponents seem to be using the recession as cover, plain and simple. If the economy was great, they'd still be against this same project. For $1/month, you should be arguing based on the merits of the project. Maybe you're against it because the route sucks, or that it doesn't make sense to eliminate a lane for car traffic on Division Ave. during rush hour. Maybe you don't think it's going to spur significant economic development. I've no problem with these arguments. But people who are saying we shouldn't fork out $1/month because times are tough are not votes I would count on when times are good.

The rail project we talked about would be less expensive than the BRT, using several other similar commuter rail systems for benchmarks (Austin TX, Nashville TN and Ottawa ON). And it might possibly be able to travel faster and have fewer interruptions (cars turning into driveways, etc.), and it could conceivably go right to the ITP Central Station.

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So? People are using the recession as "cover" to not buy big screen TVs or big houses or new cars either. Most of us refer to it as a "good reason".

This whole 1$ a month is ADDED onto all the other X$ a month millages that we were told wouldn't amount to much.

Now what are the costs TOTAL for property owners for all of these minuscule proposals? Find that out, and then you will see a big reason why this has opposition.

And yes if times were good, THIS still is a waste of money and resources, because they haven't showed a real immediate reason for this other than they really want it and that D.C. is tossing money at them to do something.

If they came up with a sensible plan, that addressed a real need, and sold it on real tangible benefits...and not use D.C. dollars, I would support it.

The Rapid and Friends of Transit honestly believe the Silver Line will grab a good number of commuters off of 131, taking pressure off of 131 and putting fewer cars downtown. They, along with the companies that have done studies required by the FTA, think that the increased speed, fewer stops, level boarding platforms, and ticket kiosks will make it that much more attractive than the current Rapid route on Division. That's certainly debatable, but that's their stance. I agree that no transportation system should be funded by taxpayers unless it solves a specific transportation issue.

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The difference with this one is that the federal and state gov is chipping in a combined $40 million against the $3.3 million raised by the millage increase. For a local resident, that's extra money you won't see in other typical millage increases. If it's voted down, that federal and state taxpayer money's going to go to some other project that will have no impact on the people voting on this millage increase.

And where do you think the federal money is coming from? The federal money tree? Oh that's right, I forgot, they just print it and add it to the federal debt. :whistling:

There is a good mass transit system down Division already (and there has been for the history of busses in GR) and in the GR area for that matter. I just can't see the BRT generating all the development they say it will. I was in the 68th / Division area today and I got thinking why start at 60th? Go to 76th and pick up a number of apartment complexes, Pine Rest and the mobile home communities, more potential riders. Then it dawned on me - Gaines Township doesn't belong to the Rapids. No millage, no service

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And where do you think the federal money is coming from? The federal money tree? Oh that's right, I forgot, they just print it and add it to the federal debt. :whistling:

My argument had nothing to do with whether federal or state deficit should be increased to support this project. It had to do with people using the recession as an argument against this project. If you believe this project is not worthy of federal and state funding, then it still won't be worthy when the economy is better.

But as far as the project goes in terms of cost to the people voting, it's a pretty darn good deal when you know that most of the cost will be borne by people outside of the region. And like I said before, if that fed/state money doesn't go to this project, it will go to another project outside of the region.

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The rail project we talked about would be less expensive than the BRT, using several other similar commuter rail systems for benchmarks (Austin TX, Nashville TN and Ottawa ON). And it might possibly be able to travel faster and have fewer interruptions (cars turning into driveways, etc.), and it could conceivably go right to the ITP Central Station.

If it would indeed be less expensive, that sounds great and it should be considered if it hasn't already. The question is whether the same federal and state funds could be obtained for this project. Otherwise, you would have to ask for a substantially larger millage increase for the cities affected.

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The issue is we have a strong libertian group in West Michigan. This group is trying to stop all government spending. The problem with this idea is that some government spending is required and should be done. Since it is the federal governments job to handle Interstate Commerce it is them who has to set standards and provide the money to enact those standards. I am one who will say I am more libertian than conservative but thats because I feel some government programs are worthless and would be better handled by the states. In fact I think most federal level programs should be given to the states. Needless to say this group feels that a lot funding for NASA should be banned among other items. It would cause more harm than good in the long term IMHO if they had their way. I think providing funding for projects that make sense is ideal but providing funding for projects like the Bridge to nowhere is stupid. I remember when a libertian group was fighting M6. Given the facts I provided earlier if we did not have M6 I think the local roads would be in even worse shape than they already are. They are currently fighting the federal funding for US 31 project tooth and nail on their site. Given the limited access US 31 will have on the townships I find it hard to fathom why they oppose it. Giving Muskegon and Grand Haven better access to the entire interstate highway system provides better means for companies to locate in those areas.

As for how a person who does live in one of 6 cities wants to fight this project is comical. I would rather see him fight the state on not providing the revenue sharing they are supposed to for the cities. By not providing said revenue it is causing these cities to have to either cut services or raise property taxes. In cases of Income tax collection all that can be done is going down to just 600 dollars for exemptions. That alone is a way for some cities to go but that hits the poor especially hard since it would double if not triple their tax burden.

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The Rapid and Friends of Transit honestly believe the Silver Line will grab a good number of commuters off of 131, taking pressure off of 131 and putting fewer cars downtown.

This would still require a park and ride lot, and if the last stop is 60th/Division, there really isn't a good way of getting to there from M6/131. I suppose you could hit 54th/Division, but per http://www.rapidsilverline.org/how-will-it-work/how-to-ride there isn't any plan for any parking infrastructure at this at this time.

I was in the 68th / Division area today and I got thinking why start at 60th? Go to 76th and pick up a number of apartment complexes, Pine Rest and the mobile home communities, more potential riders. Then it dawned on me - Gaines Township doesn't belong to the Rapids. No millage, no service

There go my dreams of an M6 cross town.

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Uhm the Fishers Station (54th and 60th on Division) has had a design Charatte. The current head of the ITP, Jay Hoekstra was part of the charette. As a result the first thing that was stated was a need for a park and ride at 54th and Division. Since there is a bunch of land a small strip mall with an empty parking lot, there is plenty of space for a park and ride at present. As for building a parking structure I doubt there will ever be a need for one in the current design. If the cities of Wyoming and Kentwood decide that there is a need for taller buildings I can see a parking structures inside the buildings that were laid out.

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Uhm the Fishers Station (54th and 60th on Division) has had a design Charatte. The current head of the ITP, Jay Hoekstra was part of the charette. As a result the first thing that was stated was a need for a park and ride at 54th and Division. Since there is a bunch of land a small strip mall with an empty parking lot, there is plenty of space for a park and ride at present. As for building a parking structure I doubt there will ever be a need for one in the current design. If the cities of Wyoming and Kentwood decide that there is a need for taller buildings I can see a parking structures inside the buildings that were laid out.

I think Jay Hoekstra was there on behalf of GVMC. I believe The Rapid works closely with the local MPO for planning consultation.

For those that are joining us, the design charrette for 'Fisher Station' was only an illustration of transit supportive land use densities.

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True it was showing what can be supportive by a BRT but that plan is what the cities of Wyoming and Kentwood are working towards. I should also mention that Gaines Township was there and did place some input into it. I am thinking Gaines is looking at taking over the area west of Division to 131 if they were to incoperate as City of Dutton/Cuttlerville.

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True it was showing what can be supportive by a BRT but that plan is what the cities of Wyoming and Kentwood are working towards. I should also mention that Gaines Township was there and did place some input into it. I am thinking Gaines is looking at taking over the area west of Division to 131 if they were to incoperate as City of Dutton/Cuttlerville.

And Byron Township is just going to give up that part of the township and that commercial / industrial tax base? Byron won't give any more to Wyoming north of M-6. They're drawn the line in the sand after Metro Health.

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True it was showing what can be supportive by a BRT but that plan is what the cities of Wyoming and Kentwood are working towards. I should also mention that Gaines Township was there and did place some input into it. I am thinking Gaines is looking at taking over the area west of Division to 131 if they were to incoperate as City of Dutton/Cuttlerville.

That's not what I said. What the design charrette was purposed for was to illustrate what medium to high density development looks like -- which is needed to support rapid transit. Not spin off development supported by the bus project. As far as I found there weren't any market studies to quantify potential development.

Edited by Rizzo
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Its bullcrap that a group that could not even vote for this set thier eyes on this millage. It reminds me a lot of the Wyoming Fire and Police Millage were 3 of the 5 main contribiturs to its defeat were not even residents.

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If it would indeed be less expensive, that sounds great and it should be considered if it hasn't already. The question is whether the same federal and state funds could be obtained for this project. Otherwise, you would have to ask for a substantially larger millage increase for the cities affected.

Commuter rail and light rail can qualify for FTA New Starts funding. Application process might be a bit different.

aowwt, you can't blame this loss on those groups that were opposing it. You can blame it on the metro area losing tens of thousands of jobs over the last year.

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^Plus you can forget any transit projects through 2010. Right now they should be thinking about hunkering down for this year and building infrastructure for a sales tax in 2011-2012. Then work at passing a local initiative in 2013-2014. This way an across the board improvement can begin. This millage after millage is just not going to work.

Its bullcrap that a group that could not even vote for this set thier eyes on this millage. It reminds me a lot of the Wyoming Fire and Police Millage were 3 of the 5 main contribiturs to its defeat were not even residents.

Dude, don't put the success on them. They were just a drop in the economic tsunami. "My home value is falling yet I have to pay more taxes?" "My buddy lost his job, am I next?" They will take it home to their supporters that they alone made voters respond in opposition. Bet you when 2010-2011 comes around and The Rapid needs another renewal that KCFFR will say they were instrumental in defeating this millage. It will be in their literature.

Edited by Rizzo
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Yeep and the thing is that they been fighting every millage request when they should be banging the door on lansing to tell them to stop cutting money to the cities. I can not wait for the Monday Worksession meeting at Wyoming. I am going to have so much fun! :whistling:

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Yeep and the thing is that they been fighting every millage request when they should be banging the door on lansing to tell them to stop cutting money to the cities. I can not wait for the Monday Worksession meeting at Wyoming. I am going to have so much fun! :whistling:

The cutting of revenue sharing and the request for the Silver Line are two different issues. It's not like The Rapid system totally lost all funding today (which has actually happened in several cities throughout the country lately).

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But the issue is that we have a good grassroots party that is spending their time on hurting the cities instead of supporting the cities in getting what we need from lansing. By having to cut services because we have no money to support those services. I like to see what developers would want to go into Grand Rapids Metro area when police gets slashed by half because we have no more money to support them. Thats what is going to happen in the near term. The Liberitain Party can hang thier hat on that one wasting money on a group of cities trying to support themselves instead of pestering Lansing to give the money back to the cities that is rightfully theirs.

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But the issue is that we have a good grassroots party that is spending their time on hurting the cities instead of supporting the cities in getting what we need from lansing. By having to cut services because we have no money to support those services. I like to see what developers would want to go into Grand Rapids Metro area when police gets slashed by half because we have no more money to support them. Thats what is going to happen in the near term. The Liberitain Party can hang thier hat on that one wasting money on a group of cities trying to support themselves instead of pestering Lansing to give the money back to the cities that is rightfully theirs.

Again, you're talking two different issues.

And to be honest, developments around transit stations are great, but they don't really create jobs (they're usually residential with a few ground floor retail jobs). Find a way to solve a transportation issue that creates a ton of long-term jobs, and anti-tax people might open their pocketbooks (or at least won't be so vehemently against it).

All people care about right now is jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.....oh, and their rapidly shrinking property values.

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Speaking of development. aowwt, I don't mean to pester. Seeing how this thing is over, can you say who that developer in the wings was or what was planned -- any details?

Looks like The Rapid is going to take steps to learn what its options are concerning the Silver Line. :dontknow:

Also, K'Zoo passed its transit millage by an overwhelming 63%. I think had the Silver Line not been on the ballot this would have been 52%-48%/55%-45% in favor.

I did a quick graphic to illustrate the vote at the precinct level. Although, most of the cities were solidly against and didn't need to be illustrated. One precinct in GR was tied and is represented in gray. Grand Rapids and Kentwood, however....

3507042495_9e2d57f939_o.png

Edited by Rizzo
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Speaking of development. aowwt, I don't mean to pester. Seeing how this thing is over, can you say who that developer in the wings was or what was planned -- any details?

Looks like The Rapid is going to take steps to learn what its options are concerning the Silver Line. :dontknow:

Also, K'Zoo passed its transit millage by an overwhelming 63%. I think had the Silver Line not been on the ballot this would have been 52%-48%/55%-45% in favor.

I did a quick graphic to illustrate the vote at the precinct level. Although, most of the cities were solidly against and didn't need to be illustrated. One precinct in GR was tied and is represented in gray. Grand Rapids and Kentwood, however....

We don't need sustainability, we don't need fancy mass transit, we don't need a world class zoo, we don't need better water treatment and a cleaner Grand River. We have plenty of nice sandy beaches here in West Michigan in which we enjoy burying our heads and that's enough for us.

grumpy.jpg

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Yeah...

Way to start lashing out at people for voting no.

If you want to call us stupid, good luck on expecting YES votes in the future.

The responsibility lies with ITP for not making a better case or having a better plan. As far as I saw, we either got hyperbole or half-baked promises, and no honest to goodness idea of why this was needed. To sum up their campaign:

1) Build BRT.

2) ???

3) Profit!

They had 5 years to get this right, but they arrogantly just assumed that people will go along with anything they say, foolishly thinking that we saw mass transit as a no-brainier that we will toss cash at. All they had to do was to stick it on a ballot. We are not a guarantee source of funds, and we dont appreciate being insulted for making a free decision. I think a lot of people saw this as an effort by, for, and of BRT activists, and not something that really tried to honestly benefit the majority of people.

Come up with a better plan next time, use reasonable language, and respect opposition as being valid and not a bunch of hicks who are burying their head in the sand.

Edited by GR_Urbanist
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