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Old 11-04-2007, 08:00 PM
 
22 posts, read 110,972 times
Reputation: 20

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Living in Portland, I was always disappointed that the MAX (light rail)didn't seem to ever be where you needed it to be. If you happened to live along it and work downtown, it's great. Other than that, there was only one line going from one suburb west of downtown to another east of downtown. I was a few miles south of the line so it was no help. They just put in another headed north/south. For most people to use it you had to take a bus and transfer, etc. Not much of a time-saver than an ordinary bus. But, what is awesome in Ptown is that people really use mass-transit. Bikes and buses are everywhere. I am hoping that that is a teeny bit true in GR? Is it? Do people bike commute to work? And do people, even those who own cars use the busses? Go Grand Rapids, now if we could only move Mt. Hood a bit closer...
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
8 posts, read 28,671 times
Reputation: 15
Thumbs down Light rail in Grand Rapids? Come on now...

As a former Grand Rapids resident of 25 years, and now a current New York City resident I can offer this opinion. Mind you, I have no car and rely completely on mass transit.
Growing up in Grand Rapids and watching movies about NYC always made me wish we had a Subway or a light rail I suppose. It's a really cool idea, is more "green" and makes us feel like the city is bigger.
But serious. To make mass transit work, you really need a central business district. How many people do you know that work down town? Not many if any. Grand Rapids is just too sprawled out for anyone to really use mass transit. And even at the hight of rush hour, delays are so minor, it would be nearly impossible for a rail system to overcome the delays or elevate traffic by taking cars off the road. Cars are just too convenient. The key to NYC having such a great mass transit system is the physical and commercial layout of the City. The vast majority of people use it to get into Manhattan. Due to the horrible traffic, and extremely high parking costs, taking the train is cheaper and faster. Until it becomes cheaper and faster, it won't catch on.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,059,765 times
Reputation: 3887
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyjz1298 View Post
As a former Grand Rapids resident of 25 years, and now a current New York City resident I can offer this opinion. Mind you, I have no car and rely completely on mass transit.
Growing up in Grand Rapids and watching movies about NYC always made me wish we had a Subway or a light rail I suppose. It's a really cool idea, is more "green" and makes us feel like the city is bigger.
But serious. To make mass transit work, you really need a central business district. How many people do you know that work down town? Not many if any. Grand Rapids is just too sprawled out for anyone to really use mass transit. And even at the hight of rush hour, delays are so minor, it would be nearly impossible for a rail system to overcome the delays or elevate traffic by taking cars off the road. Cars are just too convenient. The key to NYC having such a great mass transit system is the physical and commercial layout of the City. The vast majority of people use it to get into Manhattan. Due to the horrible traffic, and extremely high parking costs, taking the train is cheaper and faster. Until it becomes cheaper and faster, it won't catch on.
I actually know quite a few people who work downtown. Not sure how long ago you lived in GR, but there are now about 25,000 workers downtown (making it the largest employment center in the metro area) and growing daily, construction underway on Michigan Street that will add another 2500 workers to "Health Hill", not to mention several thousand GVSU students, 15,000 GRCC students, 800 med students who will be attending MSU Med School's new campus, about 600 students at Cooley Law School, 1100 students at Kendall College of Art & Design (and even more when they take over the old art museum for several new programs and an architecture school), UofM's rumored addition of a new campus in Grand Rapids, and a parking system that is at capacity despite the city adding thousands of new spaces and several new ramps over the last couple of years.

At some point, all of these growth issues come to a head and something has to give. And you have to start somewhere. If you add one leg to a transit system every 3 - 5 years, by the time you have reached the entire metro area, the need will be omni-present.

I've ridden on many different mass transit systems here and in other countries. Grand Rapids obviously doesn't have the density of larger cities now, but it's density closely matches Salt Lake City and Denver, two cities whose taxpayers overwhelmingly supported to expand their systems in the past few years.

But hey, thanks for bumping this thread and giving this more attention.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
8 posts, read 28,671 times
Reputation: 15
Absolutely - No problem giving it a bump. I moved out in 2005. Even if the mass transit was available, just as in LA, "only poor people take the bus" is something GR will need to get past. I bet GR residents would rather sit in traffic for a long time, rather then stand at a bus stop, especially in the COLD. Yikes. I sure wish I could trade in my metro card for an easy car ride, but thats impossible here, so I have no other choice. I've seen data over the years, and "Grand Rapids" isn't growing. The city has the same population it had in 1970. The suburbs are growing, but will mass transit reach them? And due to the sprawl, I knew plenty of people that lived in Rockford and worked in Cascade, or lived on the NW side of Grand Rapids, and worked in Wyoming. That might be pretty tough to provide mass transit for those people. But if it starts downtown, and is successful, I will eat my hat.
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Old 12-07-2007, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,059,765 times
Reputation: 3887
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyjz1298 View Post
Absolutely - No problem giving it a bump. I moved out in 2005. Even if the mass transit was available, just as in LA, "only poor people take the bus" is something GR will need to get past. I bet GR residents would rather sit in traffic for a long time, rather then stand at a bus stop, especially in the COLD. Yikes. I sure wish I could trade in my metro card for an easy car ride, but thats impossible here, so I have no other choice. I've seen data over the years, and "Grand Rapids" isn't growing. The city has the same population it had in 1970. The suburbs are growing, but will mass transit reach them? And due to the sprawl, I knew plenty of people that lived in Rockford and worked in Cascade, or lived on the NW side of Grand Rapids, and worked in Wyoming. That might be pretty tough to provide mass transit for those people. But if it starts downtown, and is successful, I will eat my hat.
Good enough! There are quite a few transit forums and studies coming up later this year and into next, so I'll post updates here. Baby steps.

I agree that the "city" isn't growing (but staying steady), but the metro area is and has been growing quite modestly since 1970.
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Michigan
73 posts, read 260,544 times
Reputation: 42
A light rail option would be very nice, I dont think it is needed at this points in time but I am all in favor of the studies to get a system in place BEFORE it is needed or it is too costly to impliment. Right now cars are too convienient....When I lived at my parents house off cascade and forest hills, I could get downtown in 10 min, speeding of course but I did it all the time when I had to work early saturday morning.

I think the sooner there is a light rail option, the better
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,059,765 times
Reputation: 3887
Express bus route to the South wins support

Quote:
Thursday, December 20, 2007
By Kyla King
The Grand Rapids Press

A plan to build a 10-mile-long express bus line to serve communities south of Grand Rapids moved closer to reality Wednesday with news of federal approval, a step toward funding the project.

U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Grand Rapids, said a formal announcement that the project is in the funding pipeline is expected this week from the Federal Transit Administration.

That means federal funds could be available as soon as next fall to begin design on a bus-only lane on South Division Avenue from downtown Grand Rapids to 60th Street.
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/in...870.xml&coll=6

The significance of this is huge in that it's the first project in Michigan to receive federal support under the FTA's New Starts and Small Starts Programs (funding for mass transit initiatives).
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Old 12-21-2007, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Arizona
124 posts, read 443,427 times
Reputation: 50
Light rail is currenly being built in Phoenix and OH the CONTROVERSY it has sparked! Granted, Phoenix waits too long to improve mass transit or highways, however, sometimes I wonder if the price-per-mile to build it is worth what the projected ridership will be.

Personally I'm thrilled about the route they are building because it comes within a mile of my house and my hubby will be able to take it to get to work in the morning so YAY less gas! But there are a lot of people who still can't get past the cost.

I know how busy down town GR is getting with GVSU, not to mention the new nightlife that has sprung up in the last 10 years. Maybe light rail will work, you never know. But if they plan to go ahead with it prepare yourself for a LOT of torn up streets and traffic nightmares until they get it finished...just a warning.
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Old 12-21-2007, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Arizona
124 posts, read 443,427 times
Reputation: 50
Here is the link to Phoenix light rail website if you want some more info about new systems going in http://www.valleymetro.org/METRO_light_rail/ (broken link)
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Old 03-23-2008, 01:06 AM
 
Location: South Suburbs of Chicago
25 posts, read 78,759 times
Reputation: 25
Personally, with the changing vibe in GR, I think studying this now is an excellent idea. I just moved from GR to Chicago. Obviously, it's a different world. But in Chi-town it only took one time of parking (and paying $14 for 40 minutes!), to convert me to a train rider. And now I love taking the Metra into the city.

GR ain't Chicago by any means (in my opinion, it's much nicer, albeit with a bit less to offer), but every time I go through the downtown area, there's an air of excitement -- an increasingly urban vibe. Combine this with the fact that GR is an increasingly green city. And then add the influx of students into downtown. There is a LOT of potential for increased public transportation use.

The "only poor people take the bus" attitude is definitely still there; but if you introduce something that is not really a bus, and market it well, you can overcome that. Heck, the way the Rapid is marketing itself, it is already starting to overcome the negative stigma.

So I say, go GR -- study away, and get the seeds planted for that which, in the future, could be very useful.
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