Lansing to EL light rail - is it viable?



  • edited November 2010
    The State News also features an article on the Corridor Transportation Study. The article mostly discusses the modified BRT option, which CATA assistant executive director Debbie Alexander claims, "in addition to (the cost) . . . also carries the most passengers."

    My favorite point is the random opinion thrown in by the author that states the modified BRT "makes the most sense for the area." I probably know less about the pros and cons of the presented options than she does considering I didn't write an article about them, but I can't imagine she's really that engaged.
  • Yeah... I'm amazed at what gets written with no basis in fact. LSJ's editorial board wrote an editorial - while well-written and factually accurate - without actually calling CATA or any study committee member to get information. Amazing.
  • edited November 2010
    Ms. Alexander is incorrect. The report clearly states that while the BRT alternative is the cheapest (that's no surprise; it ALWAYS is by it's very non-fixed nature), the streetcar alternative would have the highest ridership and capacity, hands down.

    How in the world did they estimate the LRT and streetcar options at such insanely high capital costs? It almost seems as if they found the answer, first, and then built the questions around the answer to come to the already chosen conclusion. I can't say I'm surprised that the study magically finds that BRT is their prefered alternative -- this studies always play the middle of the road, most likely because they don't want to scare off the regular taxpayer, but you have to dream big, then do big things, to yield the biggest results/outcomes.

    Anyway, given this political environment, I can't even see CATA getting their regular millage passed, let alone having to find a local share for capital costs of such a project, and then an increase in the millage to support even a BRT line. God, I hope I'm wrong, because again, we need to start moving forward much more quickly than we currently are just to keep up with comparable areas around the country.

    EDIT: I have an idea. Why not just do this in phases? I can think of few other proposals in the country right now (outside of major cities) where they are putting in transit lines much over 4 miles. Why not for the time being study a streetcar route between MSU and downtown, which is 3 or so miles, and do the rest as funds warrant? Why try the full 7-8 miles unless you want to make streetcar/LRT appear impossible?
  • A State News article headlined information regarding an East Lansing development, but also had some interesting tidbits about where the City stands on the potential for CATA BRT. The City Council ended up asking for an additional 30 days, so CATA could take a look at some concerns, the largest of which seem to be "the preservation of medians on Grand River Avenue and the maintenance of eastbound left turns into downtown East Lansing" according to City Manager Ted Staton.

    Mayor Vic Loomis mentioned that by requesting the additional 30 days, East Lansing wasn't saying "no," but wasn't saying "yes" either.
  • The preservation of the medians is a no-go. I don't know how they could get around that.
  • Three ways to get around the medians: underground, elevated, or reassigning a lane on each side for BRT. Obviously the first two aren't cost effective. Maybe the last option could happen, but it doesn't seem likely (however it would be interesting).
  • It is too bad michigan cannot get some of the federal money florida has turned down for high speed rail from detroit to lansing to grand rapids. That would be super! Well, as.long as I am dreaming I wish for a million bucks also!
  • The state is in the process of applying for additional federal money for high speed rail, but it is not for a Detroit to GR via Lansing line. They are more focused on getting the Detroit to Chicago line up and moving (quicker) since that is likely to have the highest ridership returns. Check out this Detroit News article. Michigan among states vying for $2.4B for high-speed rail
  • edited April 2011
    If I'm not mistaken, funding for high-speed rail was killed (at least for the rest of this and next fiscal year) by the congressional Republicans right after this article was written. I'm not wrong, am I? I thought that was part of the "compromise".
  • Yeah I'm pretty sure you're right MichMatters. Much of that is going to have to wait. In the mean time, it would be nice to see MegaBus or BoltBus add East Lansing/Lansing as one of their destinations. They currently offer Detroit to Chicago for $13.
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