Michigan/Grand River Avenue BRT



  • I just reviewed the letters included in the article. They date back a few years so its nothing new. The University has serious and persistent concerts regarding 2 issues:

    1. Funding: Pres. Simon and the administration does not want MSU to contribute financially. The University does not see how BRT could be funded from state and federal sources. Thus, MSU wants assurance from CATA that they won't ask the University for money. The University thinks that the cost of the project is excessive.
    2. Pedestrians: The MSU administration has doubts about the level of pedestrian safety by removing the "pedestrian sanctuary" on Grand River. Its not about places to cross but about the distance.

    From the letters, it looks like MSU genuinely wants to improve transportation but has serious concerns about these 2 issues. Given the apparent lack of funding sources, that is why MSU suggests the Grand Rapids alternative.
  • edited August 2016
    The first concern is just about totally illegitimate. The vast majority of projects like this get paid for by federal and state funds. The rest would be paid by cities and townships along the line. MSU wouldn't be paying for this at all. As for the "pedestrian sanctuary" I'm not exactly sure what is being talked about. The median will remain. Some things may be moved around, but it will remain a pedestrian sanctuary. It'd have to since some of the stations would be on the north side of it. In fact, the entire plan increases its use as a pedestrian sanctuary. Lastly, the airport idea makes zero sense. This was done because Route #1 is by far the most heavily ridden CATA corridor. You can't just go "Oh, let's pick a random route to replace this with."

    These criticisms just don't add up. In fact, I think the concerns from Meridian Township sound more legit even if I don't think they should doom the plan. This plan is not rocket science. The country over has figured out how to do BRT in corridors even less fit for it. This shouldn't be this hard on a corridor obviously ready for a major transit upgrade.

    Come on, now.

    I guess it's good to hear that this is an old letter though.
  • Yeah, to suggest instead an express route to an airport that just doesn't offer that many flights (and in an age where ridesharing is easier than ever) is just strange. I actually have been picked up by a bus at the airport before - the driver almost passed me up because, she said, nobody ever gets a bus there. A lot of the development in Lansing is concentrated along Rt 1. One of the busiest (at least non-campus-focused) buses in CATA's profile is Rt 1. Like you said - it feels like a near-ideal situation for a BRT. There are always tradeoffs.
  • edited August 2016
    Right, East Lansing is already serviced really well by Michigan Flyer, providing fast transport to Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport.

    Also, a strong mass transit option increases the abilities of pedestrians. It definitively encourages more pedestrian activity.
  • edited August 2016
    Yeah, a BRT route to the airport would be utterly pointless. It would do nothing positive for the region and very little for the City or even the neighborhoods along the route. Their concerns regarding pedestrians also seem unfounded. As for funding, I'm not sure what CATA's arrangement with MSU is, it may be possible for MSU to get roped into funding some of this, anyone know for sure?

    In my opinion, the most legitimate concern regarding this BRT proposal is the inability to make left turns from Hagadorn to Park Lake. That's something that can be worked around relatively easily and I bet it's the only significant change that we're likely to see.
  • edited August 2016
    Do you mean Grand River to Park Lake?

    BTW, with the redesign of their site, CATA also put out some preliminary renderings of before-and-after birds-eye-views of some of the major parts of the line:

    https://www.cata.org/Portals/0/About/BRT/CATA BRT -- Visualization Intersections-v2.pdf

    Looking at this, it looks like left turns have been incorporated into the Meridian Township section by actually widening the street slightly. So, what are the other concerns, then?
  • edited August 2016
    No, I mean the lack of the ability to make left turns off of Grand River (into businesses and onto side streets) in between Park Lake and Hagadorn, as far as I could tell from their maps they weren't even going to allow for a turnaround. I have no idea how they expected someone going east on Grand river to access a business/house/street on the north side of the street or vice versa.

    EDIT: I see now in those before and after renderings that they propose making U turns in the intersections to make turnarounds. I don't like the idea of that, but I assume that it's been tried in other cities on similarly busy streets and I assume it must work.
  • edited August 2016
    I mean, the U-turn is the only way it would work short of putting the BRT back in mixed traffic, which basically defeats the purpose of the concept in the first place, right?
  • Yeah, I see the intersection U turns are kind of a necessity, they'll certainly be something to get used to.
  • I might be wrong but aren't they planning left turn lanes like on Michigan Ave near Frandor, and MLK? It is an easy way to turn back to the opposite direction. U-turns at intersections would create large packs of traffic waiting for each dedicated lane light change, east, then west, then left,then north, then south, then U-turn ,then BRT and maybe a pedestrian crossing stop light for all lanes. That would not really be a great plan, it could be a very long wait at the lights. I really did not understand some of the resistance to this plan, but if they change the plan to allow for easier lefts I think most people out there will be satisfied. Maybe a couple of traffic circles with a light for the BRT passing through the circle, the bus passes and then it's green all directions go.
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