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Highway and Road Construction Updates


GRDadof3

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If MDOT gets serious about rebuilding 131 they will blow out those overpasses and add lanes. My daughter has worked in the past on 131 from 28th to 14 Mile road for capacity improvements. Reversible lanes were in the mix of options, I remember that.

Arizona DOT has added artwork since they added 1/2 % sales tax for the DOT. What looks like lots of art is actually incorporated into the ADOT standard plan book so you will see the same details on multiple projects. The also use colored crushed granite / rock for landscaping. Addresses erosion and the arid climate. 

The metro area could use some identification "Welcome to " signage and landscaping. The most that ever happened was some railing painting on WB 36th entrance to WB I-96. The US 131 / M6 interchange is one of the most desolate interchanges imaginable. There is not one tree / bush / landscaping feature. It doesn't project a good image. I brought this up to the metro area "beautification committee" and was told MDOT can't spend money on that, the funds would need to come from somewhere else. So it stays the same. There was talk of painting "Welcome to GR" on the RR bridge over Patterson. The lead person for the project never came up with any funds.

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5 hours ago, WMrapids said:

How would this work? Would they lower the speed limit? Just curious, that’s all.

No, it's a center lane that opens up to the busier traffic side for morning commutes and then reverses for afternoon commutes. Like an express lane. They have one in Ann Arbor/Brighton area. 

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A reversible lane has a system of gates to say allow NB traffic but not SB. The gates can be rearranged to allow SB traffic but not NB.  It would only allow traffic in at the beginning, no additional entrances and no exits. I90-94 nw of downstown Chicgo as it. It runs at a higher speed limit than the "local" lanes. The one on US23 only allows traffic to run on the left shoulder during rush hour at a reduced speed lmit. It has experimental status.

Edited by Raildude's dad
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I inquired to MDOT a while back about the 196 grand river bridge rebuild and adding some sort of aesthetics to it but they said that’s not in their budget. There are a few minor examples I can think of such as the 94/131 interchange in Kalamazoo with landscaping/lighting and nicer bridges but as mentioned the M6 build is it bland as it can get. Seems to be more common in most other states even the peer city I always look to DesMoines has a wide freeway through downtown with nice Landscapping and visual aesthetics. There may not be as much room for landscaping but a few trees and bushes and vines here and there seem to go along way.

as for 131, looking at a satellite image there should be room to widen if they redid all the bridges, the safest thing they could do is eliminate the left lane exits and convert into a right side exit. 

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18 hours ago, GR8scott said:

as for 131, looking at a satellite image there should be room to widen if they redid all the bridges, the safest thing they could do is eliminate the left lane exits and convert into a right side exit. 

Grand Rapids would not be Grand Rapids without the left lane exits!  I don't want to come home to visit a city where I don't have to enter the freeway on the right and immediately cross 5 lanes of traffic to exit the freeway on the left 1/4 mile later.  That would be no fun :D

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While we're at it we should just tear down 131 and figure something else out. It's burying heads in sand to say that rebuilding the highway for auto traffic is a smart move. That nasty, decrepit highway has already hurt tens of thousands through pollution of all kinds. I guess that's what an expanding metro needs, and poor people be damned.

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6 hours ago, 54equalsunity said:

While we're at it we should just tear down 131 and figure something else out. It's burying heads in sand to say that rebuilding the highway for auto traffic is a smart move. That nasty, decrepit highway has already hurt tens of thousands through pollution of all kinds. I guess that's what an expanding metro needs, and poor people be damned.

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So we just go back to foot paths? cars be damned! 

In a utopian world, they’d figure out a way to bury it or reroute so it doesn’t divide the east from west, but both would be ridiculously expensive and probably cause more displacement of people/businesses. 

I think our best hope is better bridges, realigning wealthy, and safer on/off ramps. 

Joe

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I would ask where are all these vehicles going to go? Division Ave, Grandville Ave? There's over 100,000 drivers every day that choose this route.  Don't forget there's probably 10,000 maybe more trucks  in that count.  

On 9/24/2021 at 5:29 PM, GRDadof3 said:

I did think that finishing in July was pretty ambitious for completely rebuilding I-196, making it 6 lanes, and rebuilding two bridges (Maryland). Some of the articles probably had the dates wrong (mixed up the Grand River bridge project with the other) 

I drove thru there yesterday. All the rain has certainly slowed down the progress. Lots to do yet.   And it's raining again today. :(

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2 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

So we just go back to foot paths? cars be damned! 

In a utopian world, they’d figure out a way to bury it or reroute so it doesn’t divide the east from west, but both would be ridiculously expensive and probably cause more displacement of people/businesses. 

I think our best hope is better bridges, realigning wealthy, and safer on/off ramps. 

Joe

Honestly, doesn't the rail yard and topography already divide east from west? Isn't that why 131 is where it is in the first place?

If we're trying to be more sustainable, maybe convert Hynes and/or Century to low-speed corridors lined with free parking and charging stations? Cars aren't going anywhere - the hope is that their emissions are cut and eventually eliminated as the world's fleet shifts to electric. We're going to have to deal with their other negative impacts separately from their carbon emissions. 

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12 hours ago, 54equalsunity said:

While we're at it we should just tear down 131 and figure something else out. It's burying heads in sand to say that rebuilding the highway for auto traffic is a smart move. That nasty, decrepit highway has already hurt tens of thousands through pollution of all kinds. I guess that's what an expanding metro needs, and poor people be damned.

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Yes, let's put 120,000 cars a day and probably 10,000 trucks onto the city streets of GR. That makes total batshit crazy sense. Oh wait, people will ride the bus instead... 

5 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

I would ask where are all these vehicles going to go? Division Ave, Grandville Ave? There's over 100,000 drivers every day that choose this route.  Don't forget there's probably 10,000 maybe more trucks  in that count.  

I drove thru there yesterday. All the rain has certainly slowed down the progress. Lots to do yet.   And it's raining again today. :(

This weather pattern is supposed to last through Sunday now. Dang. 

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On 10/13/2021 at 10:27 PM, 54equalsunity said:

While we're at it we should just tear down 131 and figure something else out. It's burying heads in sand to say that rebuilding the highway for auto traffic is a smart move. That nasty, decrepit highway has already hurt tens of thousands through pollution of all kinds. I guess that's what an expanding metro needs, and poor people be damned.

Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk
 

Spare your political rant for a different place, this is URBANplanet, urban areas have highways and growing ones need to be modernized. Everything pollutes but it would pollute a lot less if most vehicles were electric so maybe that should be your aim? Not sure where you got your 10s of thousands numbers but 131 was build to run in the MIDDLE of the city and poor people may have followed due to lower property values but it wasn’t designed to hurt poor ppl. It’s a major throughfare serving HUNDRED thousands each DAY and modernizing it by widening, safer right side exits/lanes, maybe even sound barrier/Landscapping/pedestrian crossings should save time in commutes reducing pollution also making it safer reducing accident injuries costs and pollution, imagine tearing it down and forcing hundred thousand more vehicles into city streets increasing time, costs and pollution way more. 

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131was put where it was for several reasons. The city fathers wanted it right to downtown so people could get to downtown. Rogers Plaza was being built - the first enclosed mall in the area and the downtown businesses were worried.  The railroad yard offered a path of least resistance. No homes, at least very few,  were displaced, in fact the rail yard was re-orientated with highway funds to accommodate the highway.  The city wanted it bad enough to help pay for the "freeway". Even north of Bridge Street the highway was put close to the businesses along the river and only removed houses on the east side of Turner to the river. and then thru the old dumps on the east side of Turner north of Ann.

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On 10/15/2021 at 8:23 PM, Raildude's dad said:

131was put where it was for several reasons. The city fathers wanted it right to downtown so people could get to downtown. Rogers Plaza was being built - the first enclosed mall in the area and the downtown businesses were worried.  The railroad yard offered a path of least resistance. No homes, at least very few,  were displaced, in fact the rail yard was re-orientated with highway funds to accommodate the highway.  The city wanted it bad enough to help pay for the "freeway". Even north of Bridge Street the highway was put close to the businesses along the river and only removed houses on the east side of Turner to the river. and then thru the old dumps on the east side of Turner north of Ann.

This is true for 131. Other cities were not so lucky...many, many people were displaced by Detroit freeways, for instance.

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22 hours ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

This is true for 131. Other cities were not so lucky...many, many people were displaced by Detroit freeways, for instance.

Is there really any point in discussing the potential political and humanitarian mistakes of the past when it comes to freeways now?   Seems like a debate for a different thread.  Whatever displacement that transpired 50-70 years ago can't be fixed by removing them in 2021.  They are a vital part of economic health, and last I checked no one is under threat of losing their homes or way of life by updating and maintaining what is already there at this point.   

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17 hours ago, grandrollerz said:

If the trend of wide open throttle motorcycles, straight pipe harleys,  modded late-model civics/audis/bmws and fake growling after-market loudness on boomer mustangs, chargers and camaros  continues....it will mean less people wanting to live downtown because of the noise, so yes it could impact their/my way of life.  Now that EB 96 is open at the bridge, all of these jags are yee-hawing up the EB96 hill and making an excessive amount of noise.  It bounces off all of the buildings and echoes all throughout the valley/neighrborhoods.  which you could say is because the highways run right through the heart of downtown.   it's excruciating and it's about every 1-2 minutes by my (admittedly) obsessive counting...I know, I know "if it's too loud, you're too old"...blah blah blah.   Regular highway noise blends into the background, in a low roar.....but this crap cuts through and it sounds like I'm at a monster truck show *all the time*.  They know the sound echos off of the Spectrum Health buildings and they LOVE it.  My office overlooks the Michigan and Coit intersection and they can't resist vroom-vrooming at the stoplights and then gunning it to echo their manly loudness off the hospital buildings.....so it really is less of a highway problem, and more of an asshole problem i guess.  sorry, slightly ranty, slightly off topic.

Then move. :)

I see those same assholes all over downtown, on streets. It's not the highway's fault that is bringing them downtown. They'd find a way to get there no matter what because it means they have an audience. 

I hate to say it but I don't know how the police are going to stop this behavior. The highways are really State Police jurisdiction and they're all spread out around West Michigan. By the time you call them, the assholes will be long gone. 

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3 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

Then move. :)

I see those same assholes all over downtown, on streets. It's not the highway's fault that is bringing them downtown. They'd find a way to get there no matter what because it means they have an audience. 

I hate to say it but I don't know how the police are going to stop this behavior. The highways are really State Police jurisdiction and they're all spread out around West Michigan. By the time you call them, the assholes will be long gone. 

If I’m not mistaken, Grand Rapids does have a noise ordinance.  There are (were?) scattered signs posted around town noting enforcement intentions of this ordinance.  Not that is practical to actually enforce, but if we have laws on the books that are literally never enforced, then their value is nil.  

Edited by cstonesparty
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22 hours ago, cstonesparty said:

If I’m not mistaken, Grand Rapids does have a noise ordinance.  There are (were?) scattered signs posted around town noting enforcement intentions of this ordinance.  Not that is practical to actually enforce, but if we have laws on the books that are literally never enforced, then their value is nil.  

Noise ordinances only work for noise-makers who are stationary (partiers, leaf blower at 10 at night, fireworks after allowable hours, construction work, etc). They don't work for loud cars and motorcycles driving through a neighborhood. And no signs are going to get the douchebags to not be loud in their cars (that are modified to make more noise). 

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On 10/15/2021 at 5:32 PM, GR8scott said:

Spare your political rant for a different place, this is URBANplanet, urban areas have highways and growing ones need to be modernized. Everything pollutes but it would pollute a lot less if most vehicles were electric so maybe that should be your aim? Not sure where you got your 10s of thousands numbers but 131 was build to run in the MIDDLE of the city and poor people may have followed due to lower property values but it wasn’t designed to hurt poor ppl. It’s a major throughfare serving HUNDRED thousands each DAY and modernizing it by widening, safer right side exits/lanes, maybe even sound barrier/Landscapping/pedestrian crossings should save time in commutes reducing pollution also making it safer reducing accident injuries costs and pollution, imagine tearing it down and forcing hundred thousand more vehicles into city streets increasing time, costs and pollution way more. 

The privilege and lack of vision in this thread is incredible. There is so much harm to be done by "modernizing" 131. There isn't room for more lanes. There are still houses right next to the freeway in some places, and it's extremely obvious that 131 was not meant to fit as a "modern" freeway from 196 to 28th St by the lack of shoulders and tight on/off ramps. Not that it would do any good, anyway. Anyone who's been paying attention in the last 70 years is familiar with induced demand. Add more noise and air pollution to the mix and all we're doing is continuing the failure of a pattern that we've been stuck in since the 1950s.

If any of you think electric cars are going to save us then I have a bridge to sell you. The only way forward is to shift the majority of investment into non-car transportation. Apparently none of you have been outside of America, because if you had you would realize that car-based infrastructure is only one piece of a much larger puzzle, and if we can't solve that without littering our downtown with parking garages then we should all just give up and go home. 

Calling this take political is like calling the "debate" about taking the COVID-19 vaccine political. It's not. It's pure common sense. 

If you want "political," how about we give up on 131 and drive a freeway through some white people's homes on the western edge of the metro to give the trucks a thru route? This state has done a great job of that with black folks, even if GR hasn't. And with the attitude of MDOT, one of the most egregious transportation (i.e., cars and trucks) departments in the country, it's definitely still possible today. 

If I get banned for this then whatever. It's worth it to not hear this crap. 

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Well, i think the point you made: "While we're at it we should just tear down 131 and figure something else out" is what got discussion going.

In short, it's a completely unrealistic, and would be disastrous to the local economy just to stick it to cars while people "figure something out" that would remotely replace the sheer amount of activity those roads handle.

Can you imagine bringing that unfinished thought to people in the metro area unironically?  Even if this was done, the costs would be astronomical, the logistics a nightmare, and the years of gridlock would make the recent highway closure over the river look like a nothingburger (btw it took me 20 minutes one day to get from the Ford Museum to the post office because of the traffic that diverted to surface streets when the highway was closed last summer).

 

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>how about we give up on 131 and drive a freeway through some white people's homes on the western edge of the metro to give the trucks a thru route? 

Well the highway went through mostly just "white people's homes", and farmland when it was built in the 60s. The GR area is fortunate that the land most of 131 went through was former railroad property, factories, and otherwise sparsely occupied land out side of strips of residential on the west side near the river. And looking at "thru routes" like the East and S. Beltline, you see that these projects have avoided disruption of populated areas years before they really would have been an issue if they didnt. If anything, those highways give a lot of people just the basic ability to live someplace affordable in far less "polluted" places while having quick access to the other parts of the Metro area. I have family scattered from Comstock Park to Hudsonville because they can no longer afford to live in the city (not to mention a bit safer), and believe me, every time I have to take a trip to these places from central GR, I am grateful for 131 and associated highways & Beltlines that get me there far faster than anything else outside of a private helicopter. They all also live next to some incredible parks and trails.

It isnt that any of us don't dream fondly of electric commuter trains or other mass-transit whizing us around like they have in NYC or Seattle (making 131 redundant and allowing for it to no longer be needed), it's just that we also understand that this ideal simply isnt a thing you can just do because it "feels" better or even looks more aesthetically pleasing. Cars are a thing here. That isnt going to be socially engineered out, and so we are going to have to give a little in that direction as long as nothing better exists.

Coming from someone that rails against surface parking lots as much as I do, even I had to refine my dislike of car infrastructure to get that it isnt just all going to change just because.

Edited by GR_Urbanist
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18 hours ago, 54equalsunity said:

The privilege and lack of vision in this thread is incredible. There is so much harm to be done by "modernizing" 131. There isn't room for more lanes. There are still houses right next to the freeway in some places, and it's extremely obvious that 131 was not meant to fit as a "modern" freeway from 196 to 28th St by the lack of shoulders and tight on/off ramps. Not that it would do any good, anyway. Anyone who's been paying attention in the last 70 years is familiar with induced demand. Add more noise and air pollution to the mix and all we're doing is continuing the failure of a pattern that we've been stuck in since the 1950s.

If any of you think electric cars are going to save us then I have a bridge to sell you. The only way forward is to shift the majority of investment into non-car transportation. Apparently none of you have been outside of America, because if you had you would realize that car-based infrastructure is only one piece of a much larger puzzle, and if we can't solve that without littering our downtown with parking garages then we should all just give up and go home. 

Calling this take political is like calling the "debate" about taking the COVID-19 vaccine political. It's not. It's pure common sense. 

If you want "political," how about we give up on 131 and drive a freeway through some white people's homes on the western edge of the metro to give the trucks a thru route? This state has done a great job of that with black folks, even if GR hasn't. And with the attitude of MDOT, one of the most egregious transportation (i.e., cars and trucks) departments in the country, it's definitely still possible today. 

If I get banned for this then whatever. It's worth it to not hear this crap. 

LMAO, using the word "privilege" on this topic shows you associate everything with politics. Modernizing the freeway would actually help with your freeway fears you mentioned including reducing traffic jams....less pollution, adding sound barriers....less noise, making it safer.....less accidents ect. Ive spent a good deal in other countries and you comparing the US against European cities shows you dont think about things like population density, subsidies, gas prices, land prices, commutes, driving patterns, car culture (especially in MI) and a bunch of other factors that would be reasons why Grand Rapids Michigan is behind places like Paris France in the shift to non-car transportation. In fact, name me another american city metro area that is smaller and/or less dense than GR with better non-car transportation options? And Im really an advocate for a variety of transportation solutions including rail, air and water....but still waiting.....And you bringing race into this discussion? The area you mention between 28th and 196 that is now heavily hispanic but it was virtually all white when the freeway was built so they already did that with the white ppl homes, and in other words the poor/minorities CHOSE to move close to the freeway that also runs central to the city, not the other way around. And if you ever been to CA or NYC, or Chicago, you would see houses that are actually right next to freeways and emanate domain that eats up their property to expand freeways. This would not be the case here, a quick google map satellite image and I didnt see any residential properties that border 131 in that stretch, so rest assure, you dont have worry about people loosing their homes over this infrastructure improvement.

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