Our network

'Laker Line' study will explore options to meet transportation demand between G.R. and GVSU | Events

Title (Max 100 Characters)

'Laker Line' study will explore options to meet transportation demand between G.R. and GVSU
'Laker Line' study will explore options to meet transportation demand between G.R. and GVSU

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The RAPID transit agency will publicly launch the Laker Line Study to identify the top public transportation solution to connect downtown Grand Rapids, the West Side, Standale, and the main campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, the region’s largest educational institution.

The project kicks off with a series of public meetings on Thursday, November 21.

“This is an important transportation conversation for our communities,” said RAPID Board of Directors Chair Barbara Holt. “This project has the potential to benefit Walker’s Standale business district in so many ways—not only by generating economic activity but by creating a sense of place that gives Walker a true town center.  A place that is vital and vibrant, that is walkable, family-friendly, and offers the best of what our city has to offer—a sense of community. I encourage residents and businesses along the corridor and throughout the area to come by and learn about the purpose of the study and provide input and ideas for future improvements.”

The RAPID has experienced tremendous ridership growth since its inception in 2000. Nowhere is the trend more obvious than the Lake Michigan Drive corridor, which also began service in 2000. The existing #50 Campus Connector linking GVSU and downtown G.R. is experiencing the most substantial ridership increases of any RAPID route over time. The route carried approximately 179,000 riders in 2002. In 2012 it carried more than 1.4 million passengers and demand currently outpaces service capacity at peak operating hours. The #50 on average now carries more than 12,000 riders each weekday during the school year.

The RAPID’s 2010 Transit Master Plan, which was developed with significant community input, recommended Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service operating along Lake Michigan Drive. BRT is enhanced bus service that typically offers faster travel, shorter wait times and improved customer amenities. The master plan also recommended BRT serving the Division Avenue corridor. That line currently is under construction and service will begin in August 2014.

For the Laker Line Study, the RAPID will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the potential for BRT service in the Lake Michigan Drive corridor. The 15 month study will evaluate a number of factors, including rising ridership demand, compare various BRT implementation options, and identify an investment strategy that simultaneously meets future mobility needs, supports economic growth in the corridor, and delivers environmental benefits.

“We’ve worked hard with the RAPID in the last decade to create a culture of public transportation at Grand Valley, and we’ve succeeded,” said Grand Valley State University President Thomas J. Haas. “This is a critical topic for the entire area as well as the university. I applaud the effort to gather input from the public and proceed with a strategy that will serve our region for years to come.”

With the strong partnership between GVSU and the RAPID, it is anticipated that there will be continued funding for the operation of public transportation services between the Allendale and downtown Grand Rapids campuses. Key project partners in addition to GVSU include the Michigan Department of Transportation, several local governments, and the Federal Transit Administration.  Funding for the study is provided through a federal grant with a match of state funds.

Public participation is a key component of the study. The project will be led by a community-based advisory committee as well as a policy committee comprised primarily of local government and business leadership.

To make it easier for citizens to get involved and engage a broader audience in the discussion, the RAPID has established a simple online platform where people can ask questions, share ideas and feedback, connect with project leaders and earn rewards for participating. Find the online community here: http://lakerlinestudy.mindmixer.com/

The first round of public in-person meetings are scheduled on Thursday, November 21 as follows:

  • 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Walker Fire Station in Standale
  • 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. at the Kirkhof Center on GVSU’s main campus
  • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at RAPID Central Station in downtown Grand Rapids

For more information on the Laker Line study, and to stay informed with all relevant project documents, visit www.LakerLine.org.