Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Fulton Street Farmers Market

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We’ve partnered with FOX 17 to bring you budget-friendly and transit-friendly deals throughout Grand Rapids and the suburbs. This Thrifty Thursday, dig into fresh, local goods.

Did you know that Fulton Street Farmer’s Market is the oldest and largest in Grand Rapids? This market also happens to be one of the largest farmers’ markets in the state, with 118 vendors booths and more than 200 vendors rotating throughout the year. Established in 1922, Fulton Street Farmers Market is still serving up fresh local goods for the community to devour. You can find anything from traditional fruits and vegetables, to homemade foods and crafts.

Unlike most markets, the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market runs all year long. The season starts in May and continues until mid-December, open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. They’re also open all winter long, from January to April on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What makes them unique from other farmer’s markets, is that they are a part of the Double Up Food Buck Program, so they accept payment from a bridge card. If you go to the farmer’s market, you can have $20 worth of spending money on local produce.

Stop by their office and mention that you saw the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market on the FOX17′s Morning Mix, they’ll sell you a reusable bag for just $2, or you can buy 3 for only $5.

Also for a limited time only, if you have a bridge card, they’ll double the amount of money you can spend at the farmer’s market. Mention the Morning Mix, and you’ll receive $40 worth of spending money at the market instead of $20.

Posted in Places to Go on

7 Farmers Markets to Ride The Rapid to this Summer

Crowds are Fulton Street Farmers Market

Summer is well underway, which means one thing: a plethora of fresh produce. Cherries, blueberries, arugula, and carrots – whatever you’re craving to put on your plate this summer, you can find it grown locally! Have you dug into some locally grown goodies this summer yet?

While many Grand Rapidians opt for shares in the local harvests of community supported agriculture programs (CSA) such as those run by Blanford Farm, others prefer to make the weekly journey to their local farmers markets to fill their baskets. Fortunately, Grand Rapids and our surrounding suburbs have a number of fantastic farmers markets within walking distance from several bus routes.

So grab your grocery bag, put on a pair of comfortable shoes, and get ready for a healthy and green shopping experience. For directions, check out The Rapid’s trip planner or you can plan your trip via Google Maps. Bonus: Many of these markets accept food assistance programs this year. Don’t miss the chance to stop by these great markets this summer:

1. Fulton Street Farmers Markets

Did you know that this is Grand Rapids’ oldest and largest farmers market? Established in 1922, Fulton Street Farmers Market is still serving up fresh local goods for the community to devour. Visit the market every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Located off of Route 14 and Route 19.

2. Grandville Farmer’s Market

Ride The Rapid to visit this outdoor market every Tuesday, from June through October. The market hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  And if you forget your bag or purchase more than you can carry, reusable market bags are for sale at the market or city hall for just $1.00!

Located off of Route 8.

3. Kentwood Farmers Market

Located at the Kentwood branch of the Kent District Library, the Kentwood Farmers Market takes place every Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through October. Rain or shine, you’ll find fresh produce, meat, coffee, granola and more from local vendors.

Ride Routes 2 and 44.

4. GVSU Farmers Market

You don’t have to be a Grand Valley State University student, faculty or staff to visit the GVSU Farmers Market! Ride Route 50 to Allendale Parking Lot G to discover delicious local food and goodies. The market is open every Wednesday through the end of October from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Located off of Route 50.

5. Metro Health Farm Market

Ride Route 16 to get to the Metro Health Farm Market in Wyoming. Featuring a variety of goods from 60 local vendors, there’s something for everyone to love at this market. Visit on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October. For an extra special visit, stop by on Thursday, July 28, for Health and Wellness Day. This event features a chef cook-off, health screenings and other family-friendly activities.

Ride Route 16.

6. Southeast Area Farmers’ Market

Get on board the bus to head to Martin Luther King Jr. Park at the corner of Franklin and Fuller to visit this farmers market. Every Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can find chemical-free produce, personal care items and crafts.

7. Urban Roots

Enjoying garden-to-table foods doesn’t have to mean leaving the city. Urban Roots’ mission is to cultivate durable and resilient communities, families and ecosystems through urban agriculture. Visit the Urban Roots farm stand at 1316 Madison Ave SE every Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Ride Route 3.

Posted in News on

What’s a Clean Air Action Day?

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The summer sun is here to stay. While the warmest months of summer are upon us, it’s also the time of year to take action to reduce emissions of ozone-causing pollutants. That’s right, we’re talking about Clean Air Action Days! While many of you know that fares are waived on The Rapid during designated Clean Air Action Days, many of you may not be aware of how these air quality days are designated.

What’s a Clean Air Action Day?

Clean Air Action Days aren’t just designated based on high temperatures. A Clean Air Action Day is declared by the West Michigan Clean Air Coalition when weather conditions are likely to combine with pollution emissions to form high levels of ozone near the ground that may cause harmful health effects. There are many factors that contribute to a Clean Air Action Day, including high temperatures, light wind, no rain, and/or a wind direction blowing in polluted air from another area.

Interested in keeping up with Clean Air Action Days? You can check West Michigan Clean Air Coalition’s website for a two-day forecast of air quality: http://www.wmcac.org/forecast/todays_forecast.html.

What You Can Do To Help

Since breathing ozone can cause damage to lungs, as well as chest pain, coughing and throat irritation, people with respiratory diseases like asthma are encouraged to limit outdoor activity during times of poor air quality. The West Michigan Clean Air Coalition encourages people and businesses to take action like not riding in single occupancy vehicles, filling up the gas tank, or mowing the lawn to reduce emissions of ozone-causing pollutants during these times. Opting to ride the bus instead of driving your car is a great way to make an impact during Clean Air Action Days.

Did you know? Operating a gasoline-powered outboard motorboat for one hour produces as much ozone-causing VOCs as driving a car from Grand Rapids to New York City (about 800 miles).  Each individual action is important.  The cumulative actions of two million households can have a strong impact.

How Are Fares Covered During Clean Air Action Days?

The Rapid is reimbursed for fare revenue on Clean Air Action Days.  Because the Grand Rapids region is classified as a non-attainment area, meaning there are times when our air quality falls below the federal clean air standard, we have grants in place from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program.  These funds can be used for several things to help improve air quality, and one of them is offering free bus service to encourage the use of public transportation.  Reducing auto emissions is a great way to help reduce particulate matter (pollution) in the air we all breathe.  This is why people are also encouraged to forgo mowing and filling the gas tank—these activities also generate particulate matter.  So The Rapid is able to help contribute to cleaner air without losing out on fare revenue—it’s a win-win!

For more information about Clean Air Action Days, visit West Michigan Clean Air Action Coalition.

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Catch ‘Em All

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Pokémon GO is taking the world by storm. If you’re not on board with this latest gaming trend, you’re missing out! We love this augmented-reality game because it offers a chance to get out and explore the city’s hot spots, landmarks and even make new friends. We’re here to connect you to gyms, Pokéstops and capturing Pokémon around Grand Rapids and the suburbs.

For you level five and over players, here are a few Pokémon gyms you can ride The Rapid to get to:

- The Blue Bridge, located near Front Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids

- Rosa Parks Circle, located at Monroe and Pearl in downtown Grand Rapids

- Aquinas College, 1607 Robinson Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

- Calvin College, 3201 Burton St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

- Davenport University, 6191 Kraft Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

- Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

- Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive, 1 Campus Dr, Allendale, MI 49401

- Rivertown Mall, 3700 Rivertown Pkwy, Grandville, MI 49418

Plan your trip by visiting our website: http://ridetherapid.org. If you happen to find a Pokémon on a bus or at a bus stop, don’t forget to tag the photo with #PokemonGORapid on Twitter and Instagram or post it to our Facebook page! We hope to see you on board.

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to These 10 Free Events in July

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Nothing quite compares to summer in Michigan. Embrace the sunshine and warmth we’re promised in July by getting out and exploring all that Grand Rapids and the suburbs have to offer. Whether you’re itching to get out and explore Grand Rapids parks, indulge in local craft beer or simply attend as many concerts as possible, there are a slew of fun places to go this month.

The best part of these events is that they’re all free admission, affordable and transit-friendly. This means you can leave your car at home, take a walk to your nearest bus stop and let The Rapid do the driving.

We hope to see you on board as we get you to these great events:

1. Jazz in the Park

Walk, bike or ride with us to Ah-Nab-Awen Park every Monday night in July to enjoy jazz from the West Michigan Jazz Society. You can even come straight from work! Jazz starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m.
Routes 7, 9 can get you there. Plan your trip.

2. Standale Summer Concert Series

Ride The Rapid to Walker Community Park on July 7 and July 21 for musical performances for the whole family. The shows kick off at 6:30 p.m.
Route 7, 12 can get you there. Plan your trip.

3. Vintage Street Market

Spend your Sunday searching for your next favorite vintage treasure at the Downtown Market’s Vintage Flea Market! Ride with us on July 10 to enjoy shopping and all the Downtown Market has to offer.
Routes 1, 2, SL can get you there. Plan your trip.

4. Free Grand Rapids Public Museum Day

If you’re seeking a budget-friendly excuse to explore indoors, don’t miss Free Day at Grand Rapids Public Museum on Sunday, July 10. From 12:00 p.m. to 5: 00 p.m., visitors will receive free general admission to explore three floors of core exhibits at no cost.
Routes 7, 9, 12 can get you there. Plan your trip.

5. Kentwood Summer Entertainment Series

Ride The Rapid to the lawn at Kentwood City Hall on July 14 and July 28 for food trucks and entertainment. You can also watch Frozen on July 21! Guests are encouraged to bring a blanket and their own beverage to enjoy.
Route 2, 44 can get you there. Plan your trip.

6. Movies in the Park

Enjoy an evening in Ah-Nab-Awen Park for activities, food, fun and a movie. There are two movies taking place in July: A League of Their Own on July 8; The Mask of Zorro on July 22. Movies begin rolling at dusk but ride with us to get there at 7:00 p.m. to enjoy some entertainment and good eats while you settle into your spot by the river.

Routes 7, 9 can get you there. Plan your trip.

7. Swing Dance at the Park

Join Grand Rapids Swing Society for swing dancing in Ah-Nab-Awen Park and at Rosa Parks Circle. Every Tuesday in July, you’ll have an opportunity to get your groove on and enjoy the weather downtown.
Routes 7, 9 and 6, 9, 11, 13, SL can get you to either Ah-Nab-Awen Park or Rosa Parks Circle.

8. Relax at Rosa

Spend your Thursday lunch breaks or days off down at Rosa Parks Circle enjoying free entertainment. From 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., enjoy live entertainment, summer weather and food trucks downtown.
Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, SL can get you there. Plan your trip.

9. Free Community BBQ at Richmond Park

On Tuesday, July 26, grab your friends and family for an evening at Richmond Park. This free event will kick off with a small park enhancement project and end with a free BBQ featuring a fresh, nutritious menu.
Route 9 can get you there. Plan your trip

10. GRAM on the Green

Get on board to ride to the Grand Rapids Art Museum for Meijer Free Thursday Nights. The museum is open late and you’ll also get a chance to enjoy outdoor live music, dancing, food trucks, and a cash bar.
Route 6, 9, 11, 13, SL can get you there. Plan your trip.

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to Anna’s House for a Fresh Deal

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Anna’s House, a local breakfast-based restaurant,  claims to be saving the world from ordinary breakfast. But we also happened to notice that their menu features prices that will also save you money. This is something we can get on board with.

We’ve partnered with FOX17 to bring you budget-friendly deals you can ride the bus to get to. This week we had the pleasure of featuring Anna’s House as a must-visit destinations for thrifty eaters.

Focusing on allergen-friendly and gluten-free meals, Anna’s House has been growing their location base. Entering the doors of Anna’s House is like coming into a loved one’s kitchen for a delicious, home-cooked meal. Summer specials include lemon poppyseed crepes, vegan falafel burger and a sausage and polenta plate. Yum!

Thrifty Thursday Deal

From now until July 7, Anna’s House is offering a special deal. All you have to do is mention “Ride The Rapid” to your server, and you’ll receive a free fresh squeezed lemonade from their summer specials menu with your order!

Posted in News on

DASH and Silver Line enhance routes to better serve customers

DASH - FINAL Reconfiguration - Jun 2016

This fall, parking and getting around Downtown is going to be easier than ever. Thanks to major modifications to the City’s DASH and Silver Line bus services, Downtown workers and visitors will experience Grand Rapids like never before.

City of Grand Rapids, Mobile GR & Parking Department, The Rapid and DGRI are teaming to create a “Park Once” district in Downtown. Beginning Sept. 1, the expanded mobility options and increased DASH service hours will allow drivers to park once and travel throughout Downtown via FREE public transportation.

“With all of the exciting districts and entertainment options flourishing in Downtown, the new redesigned DASH circulator is no longer ‘just a shuttle service,” said Joshua Naramore, mobile GR & parking manager. “Everyone is welcome to park once, jump on board and ride to their favorite destinations whether they be a museum, park, restaurant or brewery.”

According to Naramore, the current four DASH routes (Hill, North, South and West) will be consolidated into two routes (DASH West and North) to offer more hours of service and frequency. As a service enhancement, DASH hours will soon operate from 6:30 am – 10 pm during the week. Also, the frequency of service will increase, with stops every 7 to 8-minutes, all day long.

Naramore thanked DASH riders for their continued support and said that the City will continue to explore new options, programming and benefits.

DASH circulator program Q&A

What is the cost of a monthly parking card in a DASH lot and how do I obtain a card? Also, what is the cost of a Silver Line or Rapid bus pass?
The rate of a parking card is as follows:
-  DASH West ~ Area 7- $48, Area 8 – $48, Area 9 – $48
-  DASH North ~ Ionia Mason – $48, Monroe North – $58, Ionia North – $58
-   Silver Line or Rapid Bus Pass ~ 31-Day Pass – $47, 7-Day Pass – $16 (Best value with unlimited and consecutive rides.)
To get a parking card, please call Mobile GR & Parking Department at 616-456-3290.
For a Rapid or Silver Line bus pass, please go to ridetherapid.org.

How will the new DASH circulator service improve my experience?
-  The current four DASH routes (Hill, South, West and North) will be consolidated into two routes (DASH West and North) to offer more hours of service and frequency.
-  Elements of DASH Hill and South will be consolidated into the new DASH West route. DASH North will only have minor changes.
-  Service hours will be increased to operate from 6:30 am – 10 pm during the week, with frequency of 7-to-8 minute service all day long.

What are the expanded transit options and accessibility to parking facilities?
-  The goal is to expand transportation choices to achieve a mode split of 90/10 between motor vehicles and mobility options.
-  City staff has worked with DGRI and The Rapid to offer a pilot project to make Silver Line bus service from north of Wealthy and throughout Downtown free all day long.
-  The City’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department will be funding the pilot project to extend mobility options and the accessibility of remote parking facilities for parking customers.
-  More parking supply will be made available through access to DASH North. Customers and riders with questions about the new services can call 616-456-3290.

Posted in News on

New Records Set During 2016 Active Commute Week Challenge

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The Rapid and the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition (GGRBC) announced today that the number of individuals and local businesses participating in the city’s fifth annual Active Commute Week reached new highs in 2016, and the number of miles logged by commuters during June 20-24 more than doubled last year’s event.

“We congratulate all of the participants and volunteers who have helped make our 2016 Active Commute Week one of the most successful events we’ve enjoyed to date,” said Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid.

“One of our priorities is to raise awareness about the health, economic and environmental benefits of active travel,” Varga said. “Grand Rapids is a more vibrant community when we have a strong, connected network of transportation options.”

The Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition’s (GGRBC) Active Commute Week is the city’s version of National Bike to Work Week, which is part of National Bike Month that is recognized annually during May across the United States. GGRBC, The Rapid and city leaders rescheduled the event in Grand Rapids to June this year for the first time with the hope that warmer weather would increase participation. Read more about the new records that were set during the 2016 Active Commute Week Challenge.

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Ride The Rapid to the UICA for Dinner and a Movie

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In partnership with FOX17, we’re focused on bringing you great deals throughout Grand Rapids! This week we featured a fantastic dealing involving the big screen and delicious cuisine.

Nothing beats the classic combination of dinner and a movie. But enjoying a great meal and the latest movie isn’t as wallet-friendly as it once was. Fortunately, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) has you covered with their latest deal! Now, you can enjoy discounted movie admission at UICA simply for dining out. UICA has proudly partnered with a number of local restaurants for a special program that makes downtown the perfect date night destination. Better yet, The Rapid is proud to be your date night chauffeur as you avoid the hassle and cost of parking downtown.

Enjoy dinner at a participating restaurant and take your receipt to UICA to receive discounted admission on any regularly scheduled screening. Originally film admission is $8, and $4 for UICA member. With the discount, it’s just $2 for UICA members and $5 for non-members. You can get the deal through the following restaurants:

For a complete list of movie dates and times, click here.

Posted in In The Community on

Get Inspired By 3 Active Commute Week Challenge Participants

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A potential record-setting number of Grand Rapidians are walking, riding and rolling to get around this week for the fifth annual Active Commute Week Challenge! With half the week done, there have been nearly 1,000 commute trips logged in 2016 – already surpassing last year’s entire week total.

In an effort to promote awareness about the economic, environmental and health benefits of active travel, individuals participants as well and nearly 40 local employers have challenged themselves to more active commutes. Whether it’s biking, walking, jogging, carpooling or riding The Rapid, there are many diverse individuals up for the challenge.

Meet three Active Commute Week Challenge participants and get inspired to walk, bike and ride your way to better health and happiness.