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metrogrkid

A Regional Opportunity Oversight Between Ford Airport and GVSU-Allendale

30 posts in this topic

Because of tremendous local effort by visionary regional citizens on an uphill-battle transit millage, it recently passed. With all of the transit expansion possibilities in the future that it now makes more attainable, it could be considered by some to be reasonable to notice that between Grand Valley State University-Allendale and Gerald R. Ford International Airport exists an alignment that includes the following from west to east:

-Standale/Wilson

-Millennium Park/John Ball Zoo

-GVSU-Robert Pew

-Central Station Rail/Bus

-Calder Plaza/DeVos Place

-Hillside Medical District/Grand Rapids Community College

-GRCC-Fulton Street

-Aquinas College

-Eastown

-Spectrum-Blodgett

-Gaslight Village/EGR

-Breton Village Towne Center

-Calvin College

-Western Michigan University-East Beltline

-Woodland Mall

-AeroTech Business Park

It would seem that such an alignment would be capable of growing a very dense and uniquely linear/vertical urban hub connected by fixed-guideway transit between Ford and Allendale (with sprawl-limitation public covenants in place to limit development to within a zone of 1-10 blocks from the 18 rail stations within the 22-mile rail corridor).

Such a corridor today does have the advantages of passing through the 700,000-person hub of the greater 1.3 million-person Grand Metro Area, of being midway between Chicago and Detroit as well as being a part of what many regional supporters refer to as "the Grand Riviera" - one that stretches for 47 miles of Lake Michigan's shoreline between Muskegon and Saugatuck as the beachfront of Michigan's West Coast.

. . . . just sayin' and wonderin' . . . . things that make you go, hmmm . . . .

metrogrkid

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A timely video from Los Angeles (the posterchild for "Automobile-centric City Exhibit A") that could remove all of GR's excuses for getting fully behind transit:

LOS ANGELES: Making Public Transportation Cool

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There is no demand for downtown to and from the airport service. It's been tried twice?. (The search feature on this forum is horrid. I know the facts have been posted in threads in this forum but I have no luck finding them).

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There is no demand for downtown to and from the airport service. It's been tried twice?. (The search feature on this forum is horrid. I know the facts have been posted in threads in this forum but I have no luck finding them).

I'd use it. They may find a lot more people want to use it now than several years ago with all the new development.

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There is no demand for downtown to and from the airport service. It's been tried twice?. (The search feature on this forum is horrid. I know the facts have been posted in threads in this forum but I have no luck finding them).

Downtown/Airport service would only be a small portion of the ridership on his proposal. There is clearly a ton of demand for service between and among the stations he listed.

The problem with his proposal is cost and exactly what mode of transportation he's talking about. Light rail would be great on Lake Michigan Drive, but slow through downtown, unpopular through East GR and nearly impossible to mix with Beltline-style traffic. BRT could work on that route, but it doesn't have the same development-spurring potential.

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Downtown/Airport service would only be a small portion of the ridership on his proposal. There is clearly a ton of demand for service between and among the stations he listed.

The problem with his proposal is cost and exactly what mode of transportation he's talking about. Light rail would be great on Lake Michigan Drive, but slow through downtown, unpopular through East GR and nearly impossible to mix with Beltline-style traffic. BRT could work on that route, but it doesn't have the same development-spurring potential.

Khorasaurus1:

As someone that has a background in Urban Planning from Baltimore MD's Morgan State University, I get feeling very hopeful for GR's future when I read comments like yours above - YOU GET THE ENTIRE OPPORTUNITY outlined at the beginning of this thread, not just a singular piece of it. I hear you on the real world costs associated with doing all of that correctly and effectively. Likewise with having the urban planning piece within my DNA, I sometimes forget that while people such as I are capable of laying out the overlapping/interconnected pieces that define and shape world-class regions throughout America and the world, we often appear to be unaware of the multi-billion dollar price tags that come with our scenarios for sustainable growth (of which seamless/vital transit is the spine).

While such an impression is arrived at very easily by most people, upon a deeper look from the more thoughtful among us, they can see that we actually see the big implementational/operational costs as an ongoing-society enhancement cost just like how a dedicated portion of taxes are currently used to fund freeway/road expansion, maintenance and development at their interchanges. They would probably be the same thinkers that see clearly that the cost of supplanting road infrastucture subsidy with the subsidization of the transit infrastructure that makes transit stations the new freeway interchanges and hubs of development is currently being vilified by those who are enriched by individual transportation - in GR and throughout the rest of automobile-hardwired America.

Said another way, "If we can afford through taxation to underwrite crumbling roads, sprawl and environment destroying personal transportation, then we can also choose to connect the hubs of most peoples' current trips to mixed-use multi-modal fixed-guideway transit hubs". The alignment of hubs listed between the termini hubs of Ford Airport and GVSU-Allendale would become the central spine for the region's mass transit network with BRT lines connecting to them like north/south transit ribs and linehaul busses running as circulators to and from the BRT lines (ITP's current plans for Market/Monroe and Fulton/Westbank City streetrail lines would provide downtown coverage with connection to the Central Station Rail/Bus hub and function as Downtown GR's better version of a downtown people mover with its own stations at downtown GR's key centers of activity on both sides of the Grand River).

Such a scenario will make it so that more people will be able to live here from all over the world and spend/make their money here more readily. The attainment of the 21st Century infrastructure of successful world-competitive areas demands planning of best-cases with smaller phases implemented prior that can allow upstart areas like Metro GR to get there.

:whistling: :whistling: :whistling:

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There may be sufficient demand for your proposal from Allendale to Woodland mall. That remains to be seen. I don't know how you can say

There is clearly a ton of demand for service between and among the stations he listed.
There is no demand for the airport to downtown, it's been offered twice IIRC as direct /express service. I can almost guarantee there's no demand from the intermediate stops.

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Light rail is versatile enough for this type of right of way. The propensity isn't quite there yet, but could be later if aggressive mixed density/mixed use land development occurred on both flanks. BRT may be a good fit for short to mid term if there is very little high order of private/public master planning. Demand potential may be hindered over the long term with bus only solutions. This is especially the case when you have a corridor that can explode.

Data (2009) for this corridor is showing very little travel density originating and terminating within the corridor. That sort needs to be high. Demand is spread to thin in key areas and not consistently heavy enough throughout -- importantly land use is too monolithic. Lots of travel is generated away from the corridor for those who work or live there. For this kind of project to be comfortable for me I'd like to see at least 50,000 more people who will live AND work within a half mile of this corridor. Most of those people have to work or live downtown or where parking infrastructure is at cost. About 3,100 people live and work in the corridor -- that's just too low and doesn't appear to be growing significantly.

Several good things going for this proposal are swaths of MDOT right of way and long term trip generators (institutional, transport hubs and downtown employment.) I'm a little worried on the scale of it though and the possible need to approach CSX right of way.

Significant shortcomings and hurdles, but could be a well of potential.

In my opinion, in the mid term I think you can do with far less and achieve the same results in different corridors.

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Now, compared to the proposed streetcar on North Monroe, this idea makes more sense... I've always felt the whole purpose behind the North Monroe streetcar was to make DeVos Place more marketable to convention planners anyway; however, an east/west route would be so much more beneficial to out-of-town visitors and evening tourists.

As others have noted, I'm skeptical there's very much commuter demand along this corridor. Some stops listed, like Aerotech or WMU, make no sense at all. I would never not drive to either of those places. Keep in mind, I'm even more doubtful there's any commuter demand along North Monroe, either.

The problem with his proposal is cost and exactly what mode of transportation he's talking about. Light rail would be great on Lake Michigan Drive, but slow through downtown, unpopular through East GR and nearly impossible to mix with Beltline-style traffic. BRT could work on that route, but it doesn't have the same development-spurring potential.

Given how much EGR has invested in Gaslight Village in the past few years, and their general favorable view of transit, I bet EGR would be open to a new transit project, save for those few who own property adjoining the route. Especially since there's a giant parking ramp there that could be put to good use. I think a bigger challenge would be finding the space to plan the route.

As for the East Beltline, the large median probably allows it to accommodate trains better than any other road around here.

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Obviously, this proposal is a vision for the future. I can't help, but address some concerns for the future. You won't get sufficient demand by planning the route in full and waiting 20-30 years for growth. The current land use capacity the municipalities dictate won't let you get to the magic numbers either. The good thing is that this route could be built effectively in phases where growth is occurring now and into the near future.

Right of way accumulation could start within the next few years via streetcar implementation. The key here is acquiring right of way for a project this long. Then implement extensions every five years or so.

Just to note, downtown and suburban employment commutes alone will not drive this route into sensibility. It's important that a diversity of trips begin and end within or near the corridor throughout the day, not just at peak commute times (8-10am and 4-6pm.)

If you want light rail, trip generators need to be very diverse to generate transit need around the clock otherwise you have expensive capacity wasted off peak when people are at work. At millions of dollars a mile that capacity is just too expensive.

To increase the chance of ridership outside of employment you go back to the fundamentals and build walkable neighborhoods coupled with good long term anchors that are not forced to provide more than enough parking. This route needs more of that -- much more.

If you really want this route it will need to be an all hands on deck approach and a very forward mentality at all levels. You need plenty of talented people who get that mixed density walkable environments are more possible with rail transit. You also need substantial private and public partners who can coordinate and plan out a bold vision and set goals.

I'm not sure if the public wants walkable neighborhoods and transit fast enough for the sake of this proposal.

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MetroGR: I love this proposal, but the costs involved are significant. While we can and should be diverting funds from road expansion to transit expansion, we also need to continue to maintain our roads. Right now, there is very little road expansion going on in the state. If the choice was between your proposal and more roads (i.e. the proposed complete reworking of the I-96/I-196/East Beltline interchange), then clearly your proposal is the way to go. But as of right now, neither is happening, so it isn't just a matter of redirecting road funding.

Regal: Obviously East GR would love to have light rail to Gaslight Village. My concern is with the routing south of Lake Drive. Breton is (intentionally) very narrow and can get very congested during "East Rush Hour" (3 o'clock when the schools let out). Light rail on the corridor would have to fight this traffic, making both train and car traffic inefficient and possibly diverting cars onto residential streets like Lake Grove and Pinecrest.

As for the Beltline, sure there's a median, but how would the train interact with people making Michigan lefts? Would it cross the cross streets at grade?

Raildude's Dad: I'm not sure why you're so convinced that everyone loves driving to the airport. Parking costs there are astronomical. How many people will pay for cabs at the beginning and end of their trip? Is it inconceivable rather hop on the light rail and being taken to the terminal for $2?

I understand the Air Porter failed, but not all airport ridership would be coming from downtown. People from both GVSU campuses, Standale/Walker, Heritage Hill, Eastown, East GR, Calvin, etc also need to get to the airport on occasion, and all would have the cheap and efficient option of the train. Some may still choose to drive or cab (likely due to heavy luggage), many would not.

And then there are the visitors to the city who arrive without a car. They have five options: 1) rent a car, 2)hotel shuttle, 3) have someone pick them up, 4) No. 17 bus to Woodland Mall, then a transfer, 5) cab. All have serious flaws. This group would flock to light rail that would take them directly from the terminal to Woodland Mall, Calvin College, East GR, Eastown, Medical Mile, GRCC, Downtown, GVSU-Downtown, John Ball Park, Allendale, etc. If you don't believe me, check any city that has direct transit from their airport to major nodes in the city (Seattle, Philadelphia, Minneapolis). Obviously those cities are bigger, but that doesn't change the principle.

Finally, the purpose of this train would not be merely to take people to the airport. The airport just provides a natural terminus. If you wonder where the ridership would come from, check the ridership on the No. 50, 6, and 17 buses, then add some because this would be a continuous, efficient route and because it would be a train, and, as we all know, trains are for hip, urban commuters and buses are for poor people.

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MetroGR: I love this proposal, but the costs involved are significant. While we can and should be diverting funds from road expansion to transit expansion, we also need to continue to maintain our roads. Right now, there is very little road expansion going on in the state. If the choice was between your proposal and more roads (i.e. the proposed complete reworking of the I-96/I-196/East Beltline interchange), then clearly your proposal is the way to go. But as of right now, neither is happening, so it isn't just a matter of redirecting road funding.

Regal: Obviously East GR would love to have light rail to Gaslight Village. My concern is with the routing south of Lake Drive. Breton is (intentionally) very narrow and can get very congested during "East Rush Hour" (3 o'clock when the schools let out). Light rail on the corridor would have to fight this traffic, making both train and car traffic inefficient and possibly diverting cars onto residential streets like Lake Grove and Pinecrest.

As for the Beltline, sure there's a median, but how would the train interact with people making Michigan lefts? Would it cross the cross streets at grade?

Raildude's Dad: I'm not sure why you're so convinced that everyone loves driving to the airport. Parking costs there are astronomical. How many people will pay for cabs at the beginning and end of their trip? Is it inconceivable rather hop on the light rail and being taken to the terminal for $2?

I understand the Air Porter failed, but not all airport ridership would be coming from downtown. People from both GVSU campuses, Standale/Walker, Heritage Hill, Eastown, East GR, Calvin, etc also need to get to the airport on occasion, and all would have the cheap and efficient option of the train. Some may still choose to drive or cab (likely due to heavy luggage), many would not.

And then there are the visitors to the city who arrive without a car. They have five options: 1) rent a car, 2)hotel shuttle, 3) have someone pick them up, 4) No. 17 bus to Woodland Mall, then a transfer, 5) cab. All have serious flaws. This group would flock to light rail that would take them directly from the terminal to Woodland Mall, Calvin College, East GR, Eastown, Medical Mile, GRCC, Downtown, GVSU-Downtown, John Ball Park, Allendale, etc. If you don't believe me, check any city that has direct transit from their airport to major nodes in the city (Seattle, Philadelphia, Minneapolis). Obviously those cities are bigger, but that doesn't change the principle.

Finally, the purpose of this train would not be merely to take people to the airport. The airport just provides a natural terminus. If you wonder where the ridership would come from, check the ridership on the No. 50, 6, and 17 buses, then add some because this would be a continuous, efficient route and because it would be a train, and, as we all know, trains are for hip, urban commuters and buses are for poor people.

See what I mean? There ARE people that get the concept of visioning out a best case scenario and then, as Mayor Logie used to say, "GETTING TO YES", or simply, as Rizzo understood, getting it done in cohesive phases defined by the thoughful best case scenario. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN Khorasaurus1? Your urban planning sense is GREAT and much-needed in the struggle to drag Metro GR kicking and screaming toward a world-class transit future. You expertly pointed out the four very important and overlapping user groups that make this corridor outstanding: 1] the 40,000+ college students that attend the five college campuses on the alignment; 2] the regional residents that work at or near the alignment's station sites; 3] the regional visitors to the destinations on the alignment and 4] the convention attendees arriving by air and needing to commute between DeVos Place and Ford. :camera:

Now, at the great risk of having everyone scream about cost (and believe me, I know what I am about to suggest is THE most costly vision I could possibly iterate - and also THE most impactful in the long run), I have another wrinkle about the Allendale/Ford alignment that I didn't reveal yet. ;) The best case mode for this corridor would be a BART-/MARTA-/WMATA-style metrorail system with the majority of the system elevated except 1] at the GVSU-Allendale Station at the bottom of the Little Mac Bridge Ravine, 2] at the Medical Hill Station underneath Spectrum-Butterworth & GRCC-Main Campus and 3] underneath the GRCC-Fulton Street Campus. Remember, this is a best case vision. Getting to best cases like this and addressing the greater costs and challenges involved requires thinking outside the box, being open-minded and finding ways to make transit decisions now that can make it possible to phase them into reality for the future. Heck, it would help for the vision process if "a certain someone in our UP-GR collective" :whistling: could put together an fly-through computer animation of this corridor and its stations. Seeing the future has a way of making it more attainable.

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See what I mean? There ARE people that get the concept of visioning out a best case scenario and then, as Mayor Logie used to say, "GETTING TO YES", or simply, as Rizzo understood, getting it done in cohesive phases defined by the thoughful best case scenario. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN Khorasaurus1? Your urban planning sense is GREAT and much-needed in the struggle to drag Metro GR kicking and screaming toward a world-class transit future. You expertly pointed out the four very important and overlapping user groups that make this corridor outstanding: 1] the 40,000+ college students that attend the five college campuses on the alignment; 2] the regional residents that work at or near the alignment's station sites; 3] the regional visitors to the destinations on the alignment and 4] the convention attendees arriving by air and needing to commute between DeVos Place and Ford. :camera:

Now, at the great risk of having everyone scream about cost (and believe me, I know what I am about to suggest is THE most costly vision I could possibly iterate - and also THE most impactful in the long run), I have another wrinkle about the Allendale/Ford alignment that I didn't reveal yet. ;) The best case mode for this corridor would be a BART-/MARTA-/WMATA-style metrorail system with the majority of the system elevated except 1] at the GVSU-Allendale Station at the bottom of the Little Mac Bridge Ravine, 2] at the Medical Hill Station underneath Spectrum-Butterworth & GRCC-Main Campus and 3] underneath the GRCC-Fulton Street Campus. Remember, this is a best case vision. Getting to best cases like this and addressing the greater costs and challeges involved requires thinking outside the box, being open-minded and finding ways to make transit decisions now that can make it possible to phase them into reality for the future. Heck, it would help for the vision process if "a certain someone in our UP-GR collective" :whistling: could put together an fly-through computer animation of this corridor and its stations. Seeing the future has a way of making it more attainable.

I'm pretty sure studies have shown that the great majority of convention goers at Devos Place come from within a 2 or 3 hour drive. Most are not flying and never see the airport.

You're talking multi-billion dollars in transit investment. The community barely supported a $35 Million transit investment a few weeks ago.

I'm with Raildude'sDad. There are a lot of transit enhancements that can be made in the next 5 - 10 years that would do way more to advance the area than a plan (that will never happen) that is more suited for a major city like Seoul.

You realize The Rapid undertook a year-long 20 year (public input) master planning process last year that came up with some pretty sweet ideas that they will be feasibly looking at over the next 20 years, right?

I'm not against dreaming big, but when you get people excited about something that will never happen, then they're disappointed when you implement feasible (and valuable) alternatives. Under-promise, over-deliver (not the other way around).

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See what I mean? There ARE people that get the concept of visioning out a best case scenario and then, as Mayor Logie used to say, "GETTING TO YES", or simply, as Rizzo understood, getting it done in cohesive phases defined by the thoughful best case scenario. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN Khorasaurus1? Your urban planning sense is GREAT and much-needed in the struggle to drag Metro GR kicking and screaming toward a world-class transit future. :camera:

Now, at the great risk of having everyone scream about cost (and believe me, I know what I am about to suggest is THE most costly vision I could possibly iterate - and also THE most impactful in the long run), I have another wrinkle about the Allendale/Ford alignment that I didn't reveal yet. ;) The best case mode for this corridor would be a BART-/MARTA-/WMATA-style metrorail system with the majority of the system elevated except 1] at the GVSU-Allendale Station at the bottom of the Little Mac Bridge Ravine, 2] at the Medical Hill Station underneath Spectrum-Butterworth & GRCC-Main Campus and 3] underneath the GRCC-Fulton Street Campus. Remember, this is a best case vision. Getting to best cases like this and addressing the greater costs and challeges involved requires thinking outside the box, being open-minded and finding ways to make transit decisions now that can make it possible to phase them into reality for the future. Heck, it would help for the vision process if "a certain someone in our UP-GR collective" :whistling: could put together an fly-through computer animation of this corridor and its stations. Seeing the future has a way of making it more attainable.

Gee, thanks. I'm just a planning nerd and a GR-lover like most others on this forum.

If we're going to throw out cost and play fantasy transit system, I'd have it elevated down the center of Lake Michigan Drive, then go underground near 196. It would go underground below LMD to Monroe, then under Monroe and Michigan up to the Medical Mile, then under Bostwick I guess to Fulton, under Fulton/Lake Drive/Breton/Burton to about Calvin, where it would come out of the ground and run elevated along the Beltline and 44th into the Airport.

Stations:

GVSU-Allendale

8th Avenue

Standale

Shawmut Hills

Upper West Side

John Ball Park

Lane Avenue

GVSU-Downtown/West Riverfront

Rosa Parks Circle

DeVos Place/Calder Plaza

Medical Mile

GRCC

Veterans Park/Monument Square

Heritage Hill (Fulton/College)

Eastern Avenue

Cherry/Diamond

Eastown

Blodgett Hospital

Gaslight Village

Breton Village

Calvin College

Woodland Mall

44th Street

Ford Airport

In all seriousness though, the costs of that wouldn't be worth the ridership. It's fun to fantasize though, and serious transit on that corridor would be a major asset for the region. In the real world, I'm excited to see some of the elements of the Rapid's master plan come to fruition, such as commuter buses from Rockford, Hudsonville, etc. and reduced headways across the system.

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You're talking multi-billion dollars in transit investment. The community barely supported a $35 Million transit investment a few weeks ago.

One thing I notised amongst those actively speaking against the millage on the rapid's facebook, was that they supported the idea of a downtown EL or a subway. Whilst their arguments were for fiscal reasons, for some of them, they demonstrated that their reason for voting no was that they just don't like buses.

Granted, I agree that the actual demand for the light rail suggested may not be there yet, and there's better projects to pursue before then. It certainly seems viable long into the future, however, and I wouldn't be opposed to ROW preservation for future needs.

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Khorasaurus1, Michigan lefts are usually more rail transit friendly than other ways of intersecting street traffic. There are many cities that have defied the notion that rail and streets can't coexist. Even in Grand Rapids rail, people, bikes and autos coexisted given the amount of traffic and organized mess that was going on. I believe Toronto and Australian cities have a Michigan Left variant that does well with routing street railway traffic, pedestrians and autos. One of the common fears is that these trains resemble the operating characteristics of loaded freight trains -- which is typically unfounded.

Also, just a reminder that a portion of the eastern flank of this proposal is actually in the pipeline.

I must confess that this route is probably inevitable (way way out,) given the institutions that line this corridor. It's just too expansive for me to feel comfortable about at the moment (i.e. cost.) A more mini-version is far more doable for the next 25 years, although it wont connect GVSU Allendale to the Ford.

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Khorasaurus1, Michigan lefts are usually more rail transit friendly than other ways of intersecting street traffic. There are many cities that have defied the notion that rail and streets can't coexist. Even in Grand Rapids rail, people, bikes and autos coexisted given the amount of traffic and organized mess that was going on. I believe Toronto and Australian cities have a Michigan Left variant that does well with routing street railway traffic, pedestrians and autos. One of the common fears is that these trains resemble the operating characteristics of loaded freight trains -- which is typically unfounded.

Can you explain in more detail how that would work? I'm having trouble picturing it. It seems like there would be a problem with u-turning traffic crossing rails with trains going the same direction as them. I understand that the trains aren't like heavy rail freight trains...i.e. they can stop if necessary...but they shouldn't have to make stops every time there are cars queuing at the Michigan left turnarounds.

Streetcars work well on 2-6 lane urban thoroughfares, but the Beltline is an odd combination of near-freeway-speed traffic and frequent median crossings.

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It's simple. Instead of pulling into the U part of the michigan turn to wait for a change to go, you wait in the feeder lanes that already exist on most of them. Adjust the stoplight's position and provide a sign saying to look for rail traffic. Hook it into the rail system so that it doesn't turn green when rail traffic is approaching and keeps the parallel lanes of the actual roadway moving until after the train passes.

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I must confess that this route is probably inevitable (way way out,) given the institutions that line this corridor. It's just too expansive for me to feel comfortable about at the moment (i.e. cost.) A more mini-version is far more doable for the next 25 years, although it wont connect GVSU Allendale to the Ford.

Rizz, your conclusion is exactly the kinds of precursor concepts that occur when one starts from an overarching vision that heaps on all the bells and whistles first. See how you saw the full-tilt corridor then broke it into bite-size pieces that can be more readily implemented in the shorter-term? That's the thinking that urban planners try to inspire with their creating system concepts that are unencumbered by immediate real world obstacles. Any thoroughly laid out vision can be phased into reality by taking those current real world obstacles/demands and using them as pathfinders for solutions to overcoming them.

Keep in mind that, as Khorasaurus1 also knows, that ITP's Routes 50, 6 and 17 already have trailblazed this corridor. Also keep in mind that Metro GR will probably never be large enough to have any more than this corridor for a metrorail/grade-seperated type of system. However, the opportunity for the GVSU/Ford alignment to connect at Central Station with a Cedar Springs/Gun Lake Casino US-131 commuter rail line (to evolve from ITP's current plans for the North/South US-131 corridor) and with commuter lines out to Holland and Muskegon along I-196 and I-96 respectively would probably be the only other long-term transit rail corridors that would be appropriate for our horizon metro population of 3 million people (circa 2050-2060).

You can't plan for the best transit future if you don't start with what would be the best-case vision that links a majority of a region's key destinations together. Reality will always alter the look and result of any vision but the result is always much better if the vision was much more comprehensive and grand to begin with. The fact that Chicago is a world-level city today owes that outcome to an urban planner - Daniel Burnham - who posed this challenge to the leadership of 1871's much smaller wooden city of Chicago that had then recently burnt to the ground: "....Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized...."

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As for the Beltline, sure there's a median, but how would the train interact with people making Michigan lefts? Would it cross the cross streets at grade?

Raildude's Dad: I'm not sure why you're so convinced that everyone loves driving to the airport. Parking costs there are astronomical. How many people will pay for cabs at the beginning and end of their trip? Is it inconceivable rather hop on the light rail and being taken to the terminal for $2?

I'm sure most folks do like our family does. When we fly out, my sister or her husband drops us off and picks us up. When they fly out, we drop them off and pick them up. You say parking is astronomical. When the 3 of us went to FL in February for a week, we spent close to $3000 on a condo, rental car and airfare. It was pretty low budget, no theme parks, golfing or eating out 2 times a say. Just a lot of beach time. $72 for a week of covered parking if we had to park at the airport is about 2% of our trip expense, not a very big portion of the trip. As for your train, then I can schlep our luggage on and off the train then a bus and carry it 3 blocks from the bus stop on Alpine to our house. It would take almost as long to get home by train / bus as the non-stop from FL. No thanks, I'll drive my car and pay the $72 so I don't have to scape snow & ice or schlep luggage. It's $54 out in the long term surface lot.

Here's what happens when light rail and cars mix :whistling:

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Here's what happens when light rail and cars mix :whistling:

Exactly why to plan a best-case transit future for Metro GR that ends up with grade-seperated metrorail and commuter rail systems. :camera:

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I'm sure most folks do like our family does. When we fly out, my sister or her husband drops us off and picks us up. When they fly out, we drop them off and pick them up. You say parking is astronomical. When the 3 of us went to FL in February for a week, we spent close to $3000 on a condo, rental car and airfare. It was pretty low budget, no theme parks, golfing or eating out 2 times a say. Just a lot of beach time. $72 for a week of covered parking if we had to park at the airport is about 2% of our trip expense, not a very big portion of the trip. As for your train, then I can schlep our luggage on and off the train then a bus and carry it 3 blocks from the bus stop on Alpine to our house. It would take almost as long to get home by train / bus as the non-stop from FL. No thanks, I'll drive my car and pay the $72 so I don't have to scape snow & ice or schlep luggage. It's $54 out in the long term surface lot.

Here's what happens when light rail and cars mix :whistling:

How much of the $3000 was for the rental car for 7 days? Would it have been useful for you if there was a train to the beach? Or even one in the town you were in that could take you to and from the beach and your hotel. I don't know where you went, and maybe a train might not make any sense there, but I'm not sure how you can spend 70+ dollars and parking and several hundred on a rental car and still claim there is "no demand" for public transportation to the airport.

As for you specifically, obviously you probably wouldn't use the train to get to the airport, because you do not live along the corridor where it would run. Using yourself as an example is like saying because people from Naperville don't use the El to get to O'Hare that there is no demand for public transportation to the airport in Chicago. When I lived in Grand Rapids, I did live along the corridor MetroGRKid proposed, and I would use it to get to the airport if his fantasy became reality. I also used to live in Philadelphia, where I walked six blocks to the train every single time I flew somewhere. It was a cheaper and easier alternative to a cab or driving.

And accidents happen even when only cars and other cars mix on roads. Hell, accidents happen when cars are alone on roads. I'm glad you agree that light rail on the Beltline would be awkward, but my point was much more nuanced than that.

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It's simple. Instead of pulling into the U part of the michigan turn to wait for a change to go, you wait in the feeder lanes that already exist on most of them. Adjust the stoplight's position and provide a sign saying to look for rail traffic. Hook it into the rail system so that it doesn't turn green when rail traffic is approaching and keeps the parallel lanes of the actual roadway moving until after the train passes.

This is an interesting idea. I think it would be great on slower-moving corridors with Michigan lefts (44th for instance). But I think it would hurt the Beltline from a traffic efficiency perspective, and since any rail on the Beltline would not be replacing that many Beltline trips (it would probably only run between Burton and 28th or 44th), efficiency for the traffic is a serious consideration.

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