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metrogrkid

Ideal Stations for Market/Monroe Streetrail Corridor?

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At 3.2 miles in length, the proposed ITP/Rapid Streetrail loop currently being analyzed for downtown's Monroe Avenue/Market Street corridor will pass through some of downtown's most valuable undevelopped sites as well as some of downtown's most heavily utilized destinations. With this in mind and with knowing that streetrail alignments generate 100's of millions to billions of dollars of transit-oriented development (TOD) within two blocks of their stations, great care must be taken in their placement on this corridor.

In my efforts to present some options that balance creating new high-density TODs on this corridor's blank slate sites with adding value and enhancement to existing corridor destinations, I suggest the following locations as primary sites for GR's downtown streetrail stations (from south to north):

1. CENTRAL STATION - obviously a no-brainer since any streetrail option has always been intended to connect with the metro area ground transit hub / can create additional complementary development around Central Station such as student housing (a la Hopson Flats), entertainment, restaurants, retail and office space.

2. CITY OF GR PUBLIC WORKS ISLAND STATION - the first northbound station coming out of Central Station / could be a catalyst for revisiting the development of this recently and greatly touted site (use the words RIVER and GRAND here only if you wish to feel like this --> :sick: again / move on, let the past go and think of a new future).

3. RHONDA TIRE / PETER SECCHIA SITE STATION - this site would lend itself well to a mixed-use development with the station straddling Market Street and creating access to vertical development on both sides of the street (inside the "dead space" bounded by US-131, Market and the Southbound Exit Ramp and on the site of Rhonda Tires) / lends itself well to hospitality-restaurant-travel services village (with integrated park-and-ride ramp) given proximity to US-131 interchange.

4. MARKET/FULTON SKYWALK JUNCTURE STATION - this two-part site, half comprised of the Market/Fulton lot owned by the very progressive Dan DeVos and the other triangular half occupied only by The Woods Bar and a few other small businesses, is probably the footprint with the greatest development potential in all of downtown / would be ideal for a world-class destination mixed-use development with a high-end atrium mall, office space, rental and condo housing and a convention hotel / is dynamic due to this site's direct access to the Skywalk System and its adjacent connections to VanAndel Arena and Plaza Towers.

5. PLAZA TOWERS/THE B.O.B STATION - this site could provide a shared station for both venues and support the expansions of both facilities (i.e. - The B.O.B's talks of adding a 2,000-seat auditorium/theatre and boutique hotel and Plaza Towers' plans for the 275 Fulton office building/housing/winter garden addition).

6. ROSA PARKS CIRCLE/MONROE/PEARL STATION - this site could provide a high-profile shared station for the dense mix of office, hotel, public square, institutional and entertainment uses that sit within two blocks of it / creates another high-profile inter-relating link with the central portion of the Skywalk System (via the National City Center lobby skywalk juncture) that includes National City Center, the Comerica Building and JW Marriott.

7. AMWAY GRAND PLAZA HOTEL STATION - enough said.

8. DEVOS PLACE/CALDER PLAZA STATION - this station would create a direct transit tie-in to Devos Place and create a physical connection between it and Calder Plaza / creates opportunites for partnership between ITP, City, County and Fifth Third Bank to develop a dense convention-oriented TOD at Fifth Third's ramp site with high-end destination retail atrium below a signature highrise with entertainment, convention hotel, housing and office uses.

9. OLDS MANOR SITE / GRAND RAPIDS PRESS SITE STATION - this location could spur the often discussed renovation/replacement of the Olds Manor/Post Office site into another Grand Plaza-esque development and The Grand Rapids Press site into a more dynamic convention-supportive mixed-use development with high-rise convention hotel, high-end destination retail, entertainment and housing uses.

10. TROWBRIDGE / MONROE STATION - this location could spur dense mixed-use TOD development of the former Department of Corrections Halfway House site and the surface lots serving the Riverwalk Fishermen's Boat Landing at the south end of Sixth Street Park and those bounded by Monroe, Trowbridge and the Icon On Bond development / site lends itself well to restaurant, housing, entertainment, hotel and urban neighborhood-style retail (i.e. - grocery, laundry, post office branch, drugstore, etc.).

11. SIXTH STREET / MONROE STATION - this location, the northern endpoint of the Monroe/Market Corridor, would serve the planned North Monroe Hotel project and create many opportunities for adjacent entertainment, housing, restaurant and retail uses.

Weigh in and add to the vision of a best-case scenario for the Monroe/Market Streetrail Corridor stations.

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When I first read the article, my first thought was to have a nearby stop to that huge vacant piece of property along the river s/o the Central Business District. The spot where there was suppose to be that grandios development. I don't recall the name of it, but I remember hearing how big of a deal it was. Make sure a stop goes around there whether the project gets built or not. It could help steer what goes on that land in the future either way.

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This was totally an episode of the Simpsons.

With that said, I don't get this.

If a trolley loop does happen, wouldn't it make the most sense to just use the same DASH stops?

I'm not too informed on this because I frankly haven't taken it seriously. Is there really discussion out there to build light rail to boost a couple of downtown infill projects? I'm sure there is already a thread out there about this, but 3.2 miles along Monroe/Market sounds like a joke to me.

If it's only going to be a couple of miles, the only stops this really makes sense to me is at GVSU, Van Andel Arena, GRCC and Spectrum Health. I don't know how you tie that into the Rapid Transit, but those are the only spots I can see people riding this to. People seem to get in and out of everything else, including DeVos Place, without any problems already.

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This was totally an episode of the Simpsons.

With that said, I don't get this.

If a trolley loop does happen, wouldn't it make the most sense to just use the same DASH stops?

I'm not too informed on this because I frankly haven't taken it seriously. Is there really discussion out there to build light rail to boost a couple of downtown infill projects? I'm sure there is already a thread out there about this, but 3.2 miles along Monroe/Market sounds like a joke to me.

If it's only going to be a couple of miles, the only stops this really makes sense to me is at GVSU, Van Andel Arena, GRCC and Spectrum Health. I don't know how you tie that into the Rapid Transit, but those are the only spots I can see people riding this to. People seem to get in and out of everything else, including DeVos Place, without any problems already.

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I think DSchoon asked this but wouldn't this streetrail system be a waste of money if it just loops around the downtown area? Why not just use DASH buses?

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Just another development tool for private investors by private investors. I still think the way this thing is sailing through that some unlikely folks will swoop in with a foundation. Secchia has expressed great interest in this project.

Remember that if this will be a true looped system there will be multiple corridors, not simply a Monroe corridor. It may be wise to run a looped system not simply down Monroe, but up or return on other surface streets. That way you can at least spread out the service and capture the population with a real circulatory function. It's about moving people and as an aside spurring many millions of dollars in potential investment.

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I think DSchoon asked this but wouldn't this streetrail system be a waste of money if it just loops around the downtown area? Why not just use DASH buses?

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The goal should be to build a comprehensive transit system that will eventually serve the entire metro area and reduce congestion, reduce car travel, take pressure off of the downtown parking system, and let development come to the streetcar if it wants to.

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A trolley 'loop' as described sounds like it would be of dubious value. But maybe I'm over-reacting, having lived in Detroit during the conception and construction of Coleman Young's PeopleMover.

I do agree, GRDAD, that you've got to establish a set of goals and then go from there. Of the goals you state, I agree with most all of them, but I question the goal of 'reduce congestion'. The word congestion actually comes from the Latin for 'to carry', and I believe conjestion...a persistent demand to carry traffic...is one of the necessary factors for an efficient urban transportation infrastructure.

I also don't agree that the system has to serve the entire metro area. Sure, it should provide points of contact with the suburbs, but the system I envision would be clearly one that served to enhance the value of life (and therefore property) within the city itself. I believe the system needs to help create an urban culture centered around existing neighborhoods that's increasingly seen as an intelligent alternative to the suburban car-centric lifestyle.

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If you look at the long list of light rail systems that have been built in the last 20 - 25 years, they all serve entire metro areas, not just the "cities"... No one is building a true "streetcar system" like cities knew in the early 19th Century, because the Feds won't pay for it.

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No doubt, GRDad, that Fed money is the driver of these projects, and they've got to serve as many congressional districts as possible to get the green light. But the examples you cite...Austin, Denver, Nashville, San Diego, Portland...as cities and as metro areas, are on a much larger (sprawling) scale than GR. In a lot of those regions, the tail (the suburbs and or county authorities) is wagging the dog (the city).

But with its smaller footprint, GR still has the opportunity over the next 20 years to use light-rail as a lever to induce fundamental change in how the region grows.

An intra-city Light rail is something the city of GR can use to create urban density, to help people to more affordably live and work and shop and attend school within in the city. It can be something that creates a huge incentive to make the choice to cut your carbon footprint and live in the neighborhoods that are already in close proximity to downtown.

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If spurring development within the city is the goal then serving the city only would be the only real way to go. the problem is that frequent stops are needed so that there is no more than a 10 or 15 minute walk to any destination from the stop. to run a line out to the suburbs with that many stops would make the trip painfully slow for people making the trip. Chicago is a great example of this. they have their EL train that serves the city but Metra serves teh suburbs. Metra stops are 5 or so miles apart. people drive the the station and take the train into the city vs. the EL where people walk to it and us it for transportation within the city. a car is not needed at any point. If that was extended to the suburbs then trips would take too long and people would probably just use thier cars because it would be much faster.

If they implemented a spur out to one destination simliar to chicago's yellow line which serves skokie, that may make sense. there are no stops for quite a way and the train travels at a high rate of speed. once it reaches the city (or evanston) it then takes it original form of frequent stops. (Not bus line frequent, which is painful to get anywhere).

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No doubt, GRDad, that Fed money is the driver of these projects, and they've got to serve as many congressional districts as possible to get the green light. But the examples you cite...Austin, Denver, Nashville, San Diego, Portland...as cities and as metro areas, are on a much larger (sprawling) scale than GR. In a lot of those regions, the tail (the suburbs and or county authorities) is wagging the dog (the city).

But with its smaller footprint, GR still has the opportunity over the next 20 years to use light-rail as a lever to induce fundamental change in how the region grows.

An intra-city Light rail is something the city of GR can use to create urban density, to help people to more affordably live and work and shop and attend school within in the city. It can be something that creates a huge incentive to make the choice to cut your carbon footprint and live in the neighborhoods that are already in close proximity to downtown.

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I honestly don't read the transit thread too often (shame on me). How far along is the streetcar concept. I know Logie and others are major backers. But is this past the pipedream stage (asking a stupid question).

In light of my general lack of knowledge, I do agree that to make it work, start with the most densely populated stops, and add in the "To be Developed" sections later. I do think a stop near a major Dash lot is imperative, but maybe Central Station would take care of this.

I was in San Francisco in September, and one of the things that I absolutely loved abou their streetcar line, is that they had a "mish-mash" of streetcars from all over the world. It really gave it a great eccletic feel (some were german, some were vintage British, a lot were from US cities who no longer have Streetcars (I kept looking for GR). :)

Somewhere around (I think Muskegon), there was a house that was built from two intact Grand Rapids streetcars. I would love to see these cars hunted down and put back into service!

Joe

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I honestly don't read the transit thread too often (shame on me). How far along is the streetcar concept. I know Logie and others are major backers. But is this past the pipedream stage (asking a stupid question).

In light of my general lack of knowledge, I do agree that to make it work, start with the most densely populated stops, and add in the "To be Developed" sections later. I do think a stop near a major Dash lot is imperative, but maybe Central Station would take care of this.

I was in San Francisco in September, and one of the things that I absolutely loved abou their streetcar line, is that they had a "mish-mash" of streetcars from all over the world. It really gave it a great eccletic feel (some were german, some were vintage British, a lot were from US cities who no longer have Streetcars (I kept looking for GR). :)

Somewhere around (I think Muskegon), there was a house that was built from two intact Grand Rapids streetcars. I would love to see these cars hunted down and put back into service!

Joe

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I posted in the Transit thread that the next meeting of the task force to develop the streetcar line is meeting Jan. 24th at 7:30 AM at The Rapid, if you're interested in hearing what they have in mind..

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It's meant to be the first "ribbon" of a total system throughout Grand Rapids. You have to start somewhere. They didn't build all the highways in Michigan in one full swoop.

I agree with Rizzo that moving the return loop over one or two streets would increase the ridership and redevelopment opportunities (Ottawa or Ionia).

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