The focus is now on the East Grand Rapids/Kentwood corridor, which runs from downtown Grand Rapids and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and the South corridor, which runs from downtown Grand Rapids to approximately U.S. 131 at 76th Street.
The task force will now evaluate various transit options such as light rail, streetcar or bus rapid transit for the two corridors.
Peter Varga, executive director and CEO of The Rapid, said the two corridors rank highest in terms of population, activity centers, land-use consistency, development potential and park-and-ride opportunities.
In Tier I of the study, the task force considered 10 primary corridors and 12 modes of transit. The number of corridors was reduced to five by the end of the Tier I evaluations.
Corridors eliminated from further study this time around were the Ridge Sub (Alpine Avenue), the Southwest (to Jenison, Grandville and Hudsonville), and the Allendale corridors.
The PTT task force, The Rapid and consultants DMJM+Harris launched the GT2 transportation study in June 2003 to explore future transit expansion scenarios and future transit needs.
The study’s goal is to narrow the options to a single transit project in one corridor and then enhance public transportation across The Rapid’s six-city coverage area to serve it, said DMJM + Harris consultant Lisa Ives.
Some bus routes may have to be changed to better feed into whichever primary corridor is chosen.
“More than likely they typically do because you wouldn’t want to have duplicated service out there,” she explained. “For example, if you were to have streetcar running up Division Avenue you wouldn’t continue to operate the same level of bus service because it would duplicative. You’d probably reroute it so it would act as feeder service into streetcar.”
Five transit modes were eliminated in the first round of evaluations — monorail, heavy rail, Maglev, automated guideway and personal rapid transit.
The modes being further evaluated in Tier 2 are local bus, enhanced bus, express bus, bus rapid transit, light rail transit and streetcar transit.
The task force is using technical analysis, statistical data and public input to determine the transit modes best suited for preliminary corridors.
Ives said public meetings are tentatively scheduled for September.
“At that point people are going to start seeing the ‘lines on the map,’ if you will. We’re really going to start to see the various alignments.”
The GT2 study will be wrapped up by the end of this year.