Michigan/Grand River Avenue BRT

edited March 2014 in Lansing
Time to give this project a thread. Anyway, the LSJ was reporting on the five-day charrette, today, and this section had me very confused and I'd like to see if you guys can make any sense of it:
The main idea culled from the sessions: Dedicate the two existing lanes of eastbound traffic along Grand River Avenue in downtown East Lansing to the bus transit line. The median would remain largely intact and an additional lane would be added to Grand River mostly from the south side of the avenue, allowing for four lanes of eastbound and westbound motorist traffic.

If I'm reading this correctly, the westbound traffic lanes north of the median through downtown EL go entirely untouched, with the entire BRT line (two dedicated lanes in each direction) switched to the existing eastbound traffic lanes south of the median. An additional auto lane is carved out (I assume from part of the sidewalk) to replace an eastbound traffic lane taken by one of the dedicated bus lanes, which seems will be partially carved out of the existing left turn lane in the median.

What has me confused is how in the world does the eastbound BRT lane function with this set-up? Since now only the westbound BRT lane runs against the median, does this mean eastbound BRT buses have to cross into the westbound BRT lane to get to the stations? Doesn't this decrease safety quite a bit? Or, is it implied that another smaller median is built in one of the existing eastbound auto lanes for eastbound stations? Anyone see what I'm getting at?


  • Yeah, that is quite confusing. Maybe they will put some small islands between the lanes at stopping points?
  • The other thing I found odd was that they mention that bikes would use the dedicated bus lanes when the BRT buses weren't visible along the route, and would then transition to the traffic lanes when they saw the BRT running. Of course, we know in reality that there may not be any way to switch lanes, particularly when auto traffic is heavy.

    I really think some of these folks at the charrette don't entirely understand the "rapid" part of the concept of "bus rapid transit". These are some pretty wacky ideas that kind of defeat the purpose of the entire project. Heck, in some areas, bus lanes are physically seperated from surrounding traffic, altogether, let alone having to worry about shared traffic.

    I just hope we don't dumb down the original concept too much, because it was fairly good. Otherwise, we could end up with what they are building overe in Grand Rapids in the Silver Line, which is basically a gussied up express bus that runs along the curb with no completely dedicated lanes. Lansing has the opportunity to do this right and actually make this fairly rapid.
  • edited March 2014
    My bad. Go to page 80 of the recent charrette material to get an idea of what they mean.

    I totally get it, now. They will completely divide out the BRT lanes by moving them to the south side of the street, and keep two traffic lanes in both directions in the existing westbound lane north of the median. I'm really liking this.
  • Thanks! That makes a lot more sense. I think it looks pretty good too. Moving east- and west-bound traffic to the same side of the median should also indirectly lower actual travel speeds of the cars, which will in turn have another positive impact on pedestrians.
  • I love the design (scenario 3, page # 80s), very innovative. Appealing to me is now the bus/bike lanes are separate from the regular traffic, and also the urban feel. If that plan were actually used, I imagine it will take years to completely look/feel that way, particularly because the trees lining the boulevard are mature, which provides part of the urban and enclosed feel. Also interesting are the before/current and after renderings. I'm curious too about their plans outside of downtown East Lansing (west of Frandor toward the capitol, and in Meridian Township -- how the BRT buses will be incorporated with traffic in those places, etc.)
  • edited March 2014
    On the non-boulevard parts of the corridor, particularly in Lansing, the working concept continues to be center-running, where they take out the left-turn lane in a lot of places, and then put island stations when appropriate with the lanes shifting a lane or half-a-lane at the station locations.


    Of course, as the community gets involved, this will probably change, as this was originally the concept through downtown East Lansing, too. What they've done in downtown EL, though, definitely couldn't work on Michigan Avenue - or at least not as well - as you have businesses on both sidees of the road. East Lansing's concept actually works because MSU largely turns its back to the avenue.

    I'm really excited about this. Just to see some well-done visual aids really help in imaginging this. Though, seeing the downtown East Lansing portion just reminds of how awesome an actual LRT would have been. lol Honestly, though, this looks to be about as serious and legitimate BRT as anywhere in the country where a lot of stuff is passed off as BRT that isn't. We're actually getting bus lanes, here. I was just driving on MLK, this evening, and thinking about how perfect it is for bus lanes with that HUGE median. You could take two lanes out and still have a median. It's ridiculously overbuilt.
  • That new design for the stretch in East Lansing is just dumb. They had it right the first time when the BRT lanes were going to go in the median. I can't imagine why they think it would be a good idea to have two way traffic or why they'd have no dedicated left turn lanes. It seems like it'd be worse for cars and pedestrians.
  • Got a glossy brochure from CATA in the mail, yesterday, detailing the project (purpose, characteristics, timeline). I was glad to see them sending this out.
  • I went to one of the planning meetings in EL. The biggest concern for EL residents that we're present was keeping the wide median with trees. I thought that center running would've been best through out.
  • This will be very exciting for the city of Lansing and The Lansing Metro area. http://cata-brt.org...........It will be the first of many lines in Lansing. what would be the next feasible corridors to expand the BRT? Maybe westward to Saginaw, North and south Cedar, Larch, Pennsylvania?
    and also I appreciate this forum, I've read threads for a few years before deciding to become a member yesterday!
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