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GRDadof3

How can downtown GR tap into exploding GVSU enrollment

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I'm sure most have read about a 1900 student "village" that is being proposed for Allendale to house the rapidly growing student population at GVSU.

Plan unveiled for housing near GVSU

and the understandable reaction from Allendale residents:

Residents critical of plan for student village

You have these two converging economic/political forces:

1) 1900 additional housing units in Allendale creates a burden on that community and increases sprawl

2) 1900 additional housing units would be another mini-boom for downtown Grand Rapids, creating more demand for spinoff ventures and more retail.

3) 1900 additional students in downtown would virtually double the downtown population

4) 1900 additional housing units for GVSU will not be the end of it, there will be more if trends continue

Is it possible for downtown to tap into this MARKET DEMAND for housing?

- Can high speed transit, maybe even Bus Rapid Transit on Lake Michigan Drive, make downtown more desirable to students who take classes in Allendale?

- Can/should GVSU expand its classroom offerings downtown?

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Yes, Grand Rapids can and will tap in to the amazing growth of GVSU. But it will take Grand Valley deciding to move more of its "core" type classes to downtown. The engineering school is great as is the Devos campus west of 131. But I am going to take a guess that most of the 1900 units are targeted at underclassmen.

I would also like to think that Grand Rapids could work with the other colleges in town (Calvin, Aquinas, Cornerstone, GRCC, etc.) to increase their presence downtown. All of these colleges have a small presence downtown, but I do not think that any of them have actual student housing or dedicated programs located in DT. This would be another way to tap in to this growth outside of GVSU.

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I'm sure most have read about a 1900 student "village" that is being proposed for Allendale to house the rapidly growing student population at GVSU.

Plan unveiled for housing near GVSU

and the understandable reaction from Allendale residents:

Residents critical of plan for student village

You have these two converging economic/political forces:

1) 1900 additional housing units in Allendale creates a burden on that community and increases sprawl

2) 1900 additional housing units would be another mini-boom for downtown Grand Rapids, creating more demand for spinoff ventures and more retail.

3) 1900 additional students in downtown would virtually double the downtown population

4) 1900 additional housing units for GVSU will not be the end of it, there will be more if trends continue

Is it possible for downtown to tap into this MARKET DEMAND for housing?

- Can high speed transit, maybe even Bus Rapid Transit on Lake Michigan Drive, make downtown more desirable to students who take classes in Allendale?

- Can/should GVSU expand its classroom offerings downtown?

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As a student at the Siedman College of Business, I've wondered this for awhile. However, there is too much investment already made in Allendale to make it a reality. Every year, it seems as if there is new construction in Allendale, whether housing or academic building. They've done well by moving engineering, business, and health care downtown to integrate the curriculum with what's going on in the city, and this will continue. However, I doubt that we will ever see education, sciences, arts, etc. located downtown. However, now that I think about it, arts would be perfect down here with everything going on in Heartside, UICA, Museum, etc. I think the bottom line is that it's cheaper to stay and build out there. Tuition is relatively inexpensive, and it has always been a goal to keep it that way. It is really a strenght that the University has, and paying more for facilities would only increase tuitions. The only hope we have is if engineering, business, and health care portions of the school continue to grow, which I think will happen. Just an observation--there are many more students at the Devos campus each day than there were when I started 4 years ago.

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My one point was that if the current GVSU Campus Connector, which takes almost 30 minutes to travel about 10 miles, could be made quicker and more efficient, would more underclassmen choose to live downtown and take a high-speed bus out to campus on days they had class? Say on a bus that could cut that time in half to 15 minutes, through fewer stops, a dedicated lane, traffic-signal priority, actual level boarding stations for quicker loadings, etc. Much like the Bus Rapid Transit plan that is proposed for S. Division?

I think a lot of GVSU students think downtown is "cooler" than Allendale, and would live downtown if it worked at all with their schedules and there were some good housing options. Is that true? I tend to agree that the university would rather concentrate on expanding their Allendale campus, but the housing proposed is being done by private developers.

Even if 1/2 or 1/4 of that current demand could be met by downtown housing, it would be a huge influx for downtown residential. And we already know that GVSU students have embraced the current campus connector as ridership has skyrocketed.

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GVSU faces the same funding issues as everyone else. It costs more to build campus buildings downtown just like it does to build housing there. IIRC, someone that wanted to build student oriented multi family housing near the DT campus was ripped badly by the "neighbors". Therefore, the Allendale campus will be where they expand the most IMHO :shades:

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GVSU faces the same funding issues as everyone else. It costs more to build campus buildings downtown just like it does to build housing there. IIRC, someone that wanted to build student oriented multi family housing near the DT campus was ripped badly by the "neighbors". Therefore, the Allendale campus will be where they expand the most IMHO :shades:

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i dont know as that faster busses would make people want to live in GR as opposed to allendale if their classes are in allendale..... I believe the future of DT GVSU depends upon the growth of masters and doctorate programs, those would be more practical for students. 1) people with college degrees do not live in allendale (for the most part)(and that is just a guess) 2) people with college degrees dont work in allendale (once again an assumption) So DTGR could be on the way home or where people work making it easier to get their advanced degrees.

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That was only because it was West of Seward and there were way too many concerns about parking in the area. Even SWAN said they would have supported it if it were proposed East of Seward. A project or two East of Seward on the DASH lots, or South of the housing on Fulton, would be more welcomed by SWAN, I believe.

My main question is, everything else being equal, would more GVSU students live downtown if it were much more accessible to Allendale?

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My main question is, everything else being equal, would more GVSU students live downtown if it were much more accessible to Allendale?

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The DT campus needs to become more of a sophisticated/practical campus for more practical majors....business, engineering, planning, science. The Allendale campus should remain more of the liberal arts campus for education, history, english, etc. Perhaps move the College of Ed out of Eberhard into a new Allendale facility and use the Eberhard space for the aforementioned practical majors.

More housing DT would be great but there will a large amount of NIMBYism involved and the west side as a whole lacks businesses with a campus ambiance. I would love to see mixed-use student housing with Subways, Starbucks, bars, etc. on the bottom and residential above. Hopefully the single-residential housing in the area come under the control of the university to create a 'student ghetto' like Western's but with better maintenance and supervision.

Then there is parking. I would love to see any additional parking be in the form of the existing GVSU parking structure but incorporate mixed-use principles to it.

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When I signed up to live on the downtown campus there was no line and no waiting list. GVSU students really didn't care to live downtown because their classes are in Allendale. Most of my classes were in Allendale too, but I just liked being downtown. :)

The more general ed type classes offered downtown are also offered in Allendale. It really is only the programs that are located downtown that require a student to take course downtown. Unless, of course, due to scheduling issues a student only has a slot open for a class that is only offered downtown at an acceptable time. Anyway, the bus remains a great connection and I think a light rail system could really shine on that route.

The downtown campus is really convenient for going to the bars as you don't have to drive. But downtown still doesn't offer a truly carless lifestyle so it's not all it could be...yet.

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If you make an anology to what has been happening at Western then hopes are low that you would see a lot of housing happening downtown. WMU's main campus in Kalamazoo sits about 1.5 miles west of downtown....and all the new housing is, well, very west of downtown and continually being made away from the city. The student ghetto, which lies between downtown and campus, has been loosing students for years (partially because enrollment is down). Therefore, I would suggest that most students (particularly freshmen) care only that they are close to other students and campus in car friendly settings rather than in a downtown area (although I feel the opposite of this myself).

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If you make an anology to what has been happening at Western then hopes are low that you would see a lot of housing happening downtown. WMU's main campus in Kalamazoo sits about 1.5 miles west of downtown....and all the new housing is, well, very west of downtown and continually being made away from the city. The student ghetto, which lies between downtown and campus, has been loosing students for years (partially because enrollment is down). Therefore, I would suggest that most students (particularly freshmen) care only that they are close to other students and campus in car friendly settings rather than in a downtown area (although I feel the opposite of this myself).

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When I went to Western, a lot of the older students would move further away from campus out to all the apartments that lined Drake and West Michigan Ave (I can't remember any of the names but Drake's Pond). I even knew a lot of students that moved into the (new at the time) apartments behind the mall on West Main, and the apartments up behind the valleys off of West Main (Cloister's maybe?). Then they would all drive to campus.

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When I went to Western, a lot of the older students would move further away from campus out to all the apartments that lined Drake and West Michigan Ave (I can't remember any of the names but Drake's Pond). I even knew a lot of students that moved into the (new at the time) apartments behind the mall on West Main, and the apartments up behind the valleys off of West Main (Cloister's maybe?). Then they would all drive to campus.

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Kalamazoo and Western however do have a pretty good mass transit system in place. You can catch a bus at any number of stops along the city's main arterials. Just like GV, WMU has bus lines which specifically serve its campus and students alone running from main campus to the Parkview campus. Heck, you could even take a bus from the valleys up to Sangren and avoid walking. It wasn't such an issue in the spring/fall but you where sure glad to have it in the dead of winter. They'd have to run 3 busses at a time during peak hours and they'd still be packed to the brim.

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When I signed up to live on the downtown campus there was no line and no waiting list. GVSU students really didn't care to live downtown because their classes are in Allendale. Most of my classes were in Allendale too, but I just liked being downtown. :)

The more general ed type classes offered downtown are also offered in Allendale. It really is only the programs that are located downtown that require a student to take course downtown. Unless, of course, due to scheduling issues a student only has a slot open for a class that is only offered downtown at an acceptable time. Anyway, the bus remains a great connection and I think a light rail system could really shine on that route.

The downtown campus is really convenient for going to the bars as you don't have to drive. But downtown still doesn't offer a truly carless lifestyle so it's not all it could be...yet.

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The thing that I don't understand about western is the mentaliity of students and new many new developments is like it is trying to distance itself from downtown, so its opposite of GVSU. There are 5,000 less students at wmu from its peak 4 years ago and each year there is a new apartment complex oppening up further out of town, there is a massive new one under construction I think called copper beach that is west of the pointe, which is west of 131 in Oshtemo twp. many students are moving out of the student ghetto because of bums, no joke, they are bad, they wont leave you alone, they walk up on your porch and in your house if its unlocked looking for cans, and most of them are mean. Along with really rundown housing, the new apartments look a lot more appealing to students even though they are way out.

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Going back to when I went to Western, when you got to your 4th year+ at WMU, living in the Knollwood area was for dorks, living on campus was for married couples, living in the ghetto was for grunges, and living out at Drake and beyond was "cool". In fact, it seemed like the further you were from campus, the cooler it was. I even knew a couple of people who lived way out in apartments in Portage in a really upscale apartment complex.

I can imagine that's magnified 10x at GVSU with downtown GR, which is way cooler than Drake Rd and West Michigan Ave, or Drake and West Main, or Allendale even.

The reason I brought up an express bus (BRT) system is that to do light rail would be really expensive ($30 - $40 Million/mile) when the area between downtown and Allendale is not very dense and there are no old rail ROW's that run along that corridor, plus there is no heavily travelled thoroughfare like 131 to supplement ridership. You'd have to run light rail mixed with traffic (slower), up the massive hill by I-196, through Standale, and through 3 1/2 miles of hilly countryside with a Grand River crossing (adds considerably to the cost). You're looking at $250 - $300 Million at least to Allendale, and 40% is countryside (where no one lives). Hard to sell that idea to taxpayers.

However, a BRT line could cut the current travel time in half even with mixing with traffic, could easily navigate the hills and bridges, and only be about $3 Million/mile or about $20 Million. There could only be a few stops such as at GVSU, in Standale near Meijer, one other along LMD somewhere and then downtown. Would that investment though make downtown GR living more attractive for GVSU students to make it worthwhile?

Personally, I think so.

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Going back to when I went to Western, when you got to your 4th year+ at WMU, living in the Knollwood area was for dorks, living on campus was for married couples, living in the ghetto was for grunges, and living out at Drake and beyond was "cool". In fact, it seemed like the further you were from campus, the cooler it was. I even knew a couple of people who lived way out in apartments in Portage in a really upscale apartment complex.

I can imagine that's magnified 10x at GVSU with downtown GR, which is way cooler than Drake Rd and West Michigan Ave, or Drake and West Main, or Allendale even.

The reason I brought up an express bus (BRT) system is that to do light rail would be really expensive ($30 - $40 Million/mile) when the area between downtown and Allendale is not very dense and there are no old rail ROW's that run along that corridor, plus there is no heavily travelled thoroughfare like 131 to supplement ridership. You'd have to run light rail mixed with traffic (slower), up the massive hill by I-196, through Standale, and through 3 1/2 miles of hilly countryside with a Grand River crossing (adds considerably to the cost). You're looking at $250 - $300 Million at least to Allendale, and 40% is countryside (where no one lives). Hard to sell that idea to taxpayers.

However, a BRT line could cut the current travel time in half even with mixing with traffic, could easily navigate the hills and bridges, and only be about $3 Million/mile or about $20 Million. There could only be a few stops such as at GVSU, in Standale near Meijer, one other along LMD somewhere and then downtown. Would that investment though make downtown GR living more attractive for GVSU students to make it worthwhile?

Personally, I think so.

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the students that go to school in allendale (the majority being 1-3rd year) are not 21 and that is a major draw for students living DT. im am almost certain that improved transp. between Allen. and DT would NOT make more people move DT. The school needs to expand DT to bring in more students. that is the only way

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so they do offer undergrad courses downtown?

Ok then, a quick draw would be more dollar draft nites on weeknights... that'll bring em down. I wonder how that works with all the empty nesters doing reservation agreements on downtown condos?

Might be a watch out 4 what ya.....

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The reason I brought up an express bus (BRT) system is that to do light rail would be really expensive ($30 - $40 Million/mile) when the area between downtown and Allendale is not very dense and there are no old rail ROW's that run along that corridor, plus there is no heavily travelled thoroughfare like 131 to supplement ridership. You'd have to run light rail mixed with traffic (slower), up the massive hill by I-196, through Standale, and through 3 1/2 miles of hilly countryside with a Grand River crossing (adds considerably to the cost). You're looking at $250 - $300 Million at least to Allendale, and 40% is countryside (where no one lives). Hard to sell that idea to taxpayers.

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I'm not talking about the 1st - 3rd year students. I'm talking about the 3000 - 4000 4th year+ students who are 21 and older. There certainly aren't even 1000 living downtown now, so where are they? I gotta believe downtown is more appealing than Allendale.

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