GT2 Study Now Goes To Tier 2

April 30, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Rapid’s Great Transit Grand Tomorrows (GT2) study resumed in April with a more refined focus and shorter list of transit corridors to consider.

The Public Transportation Tomorrow (PTT) Task Force launched the GT2 transportation study in June 2003 to explore future expansion scenarios and transit needs.

The task force’s goal is to use technical analysis, statistical data and public input to determine the transit modes best suited for preliminary corridors previously identified by ridership levels, population and employment levels and the location of activity centers.

The study was put on hold last August to await release of updated employment and population statistics that were being compiled by the Grand Valley Metro Council for the region’s 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan.

The data was released in November and the task force, along with consultants DMJM+Harris, completed an analysis of the various transit modes and study corridors this March.

In Tier I of the study, the task force considered eight primary corridors and 12 modes of transit. Two additional corridors were later added to the first round of analysis.

The number of corridors was reduced to five by the end of the Tier I evaluations.

The five corridors under evaluation in Tier 2 are:

  • Allendale

  • East Grand Rapids/Kentwood

  • Ridge Sub (North Alpine Avenue)

  • South Grand Rapids

  • Southwest Grand Rapids

Peter Varga, executive director and CFO of The Rapid, said most of the corridors were selected because they ranked highest in population and employment density. He said the Allendale corridor was added because of Grand Valley State University’s potential to generate additional ridership.

The East Grand Rapids/Kentwood Corridor also will be analyzed in Tier 2 because of the airport, he noted.

Varga said the next step is to refine those corridors and look at the potential modes that could operate in each corridor.

Five transit modes were eliminated in the first round of evaluations — monorail, heavy rail, Maglev, automated guideway and personal rapid transit.

Six modes will be further evaluated in Tier 2, including local bus, enhanced bus, express bus, bus rapid transit, light rail transit and streetcar transit.

Commuter rail may still be reconsidered as part of a larger tri-county regional effort, according to The Rapid.

The Rapid will hold public meetings to get public input on the study’s final recommendations, though specific dates, times and locations have yet to be determined.

Ultimately, The Rapid’s board of directors will select the preferred transit plan, based on recommendations from the PTT Advisory Committee and Task Force, as well as regional planning organizations.

The Federal Transit Administration, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Wege Foundation and the Urban Cooperation Board are underwriting the study.           

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