Michigan Land Use Institute

Thriving Communities / News & Views / Grand Rapids Lifts Michigan Into New Era of Rapid Transit

Grand Rapids Lifts Michigan Into New Era of Rapid Transit

Leaders break ground on new bus line

All Aboard | April 17, 2013 | By James Bruckbauer

About the Author

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.

Recent Posts

Like Food, Local Music Can Grow Economy

Thriving Communities | April 30, 2015 | By Hans Voss

Traverse City has shown that anything is possible. The arts are a growing and important part of our local culture and economy. Now it’s time to ramp up the local music scene to a level that meets the high standards of our terrific town ....

MLUI Supports Proposal 1

Transportation | April 17, 2015 | By James Bruckbauer

Michigan’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair, yet the funding structure for transportation is broken. The measure on the ballot this May 5 attempts to remedy that. While Proposal 1 is not a perfect fix, the Michigan Land Use Institute firmly believes that the positive changes it would have for our infrastructure far outweigh the negatives. ...

MLUI takes first place in crowdfunding competition

A2TC | March 26, 2015 | By MLUI

The work to bring passenger rail to Traverse City is off to a good start thanks to a quick crowdfunding effort that raised almost $19,000 in ten days. This month, the Michigan Land Use Institute took first place in the Patagonia and Moosejaw “$10,000 Charity Thing,” an annual crowdfunding competition among ten causes nationwide, and took home an additional $5,000 prize for a total of $18,650....

New retail, housing, and office projects are springing up along the road that will soon become a bus rapid transit line.

Last week in Grand Rapids, Gov. Snyder joined a group of state officials, business owners, and community leaders to break ground on a $40 million new bus line that’s expected to spur millions in new development and connect suburban commuters to downtown.

As the rain poured outside, the ground-breaking ceremony moved to a restaurant where the audience got a preview of new boarding platforms that will soon cover riders from the elements.

The almost 10-mile long bus line will enjoy its own dedicated street lanes, intersection lights will stay green for the bus, and riders will board on a platform instead of on a curb, cutting down on wait times to board the bus and ultimately shaving off 40 percent off a normal commute. It’s expected to open in August 2014.

It’s the first bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Michigan, and Gov. Snyder praised the city’s transit agency, the Rapid.

“Grand Rapids should be proud that it’s a role model for the rest of the state,” he said at the ceremony. “This is a really big day.”

As I noted last week, the new BRT represents a “modal shift” that is taking place all over Michigan.

In the southeast, the Regional Transit Authority board met for the first time to begin the difficult task of coordinating transit service in Metro Detroit. The RTA will connect suburban commuters to the city center and lay the groundwork for urban rail and rapid transit.

Last year, many people around the state told the Transportation for Michigan coalition that they wanted more ways to get around. And here in Traverse City, a Northwestern Michigan College survey found that many people feel very strongly that transportation options be a top priority.

Not only is transit becoming the new choice ride for commuters, there are new civic champions fueling the modal shift: hospitals, universities, and large corporations.

Spectrum Health's Steve Heacock said West Michigan’s largest hospital is strongly supportive of the new suburb-to-downtown transit link.

“Spectrum is preparing for the next generation of workers who would rather walk, bike, or take transit to work," he said.

Munson Healthcare in Traverse City also is leading the way to provide employees with more transportation choices. The hospital staff recently conducted a survey asking employees to share information about their commutes. Now they’re working with Benzie county transportation officials to figure out the best way to connect Benzie County workers to Traverse City.

For a more detailed description of the Grand Rapid bus rapid transit project and its history, check out Zane McMillin's MLive article here.

1 Comment

4006 days ago, 7:58am | by Sheila Moore | Report Comment

This is exciting news! Please proofread article before submitting however. Second paragraph needs improvement.
With a Civil Engineering and Landscape Architecture degree, I believe there needs to be an increased emphasis on how we plan and "infill" our communities. How communities are laid out and planned equates to energy consumption and quality of life.

Search Archives

Michigan Land Use Institute

148 E. Front Street, Suite 301
Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
p (231) 941-6584 
e comments@mlui.org