On Monday, June 3, local, state and federal elected officials and representatives from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) joined The Rapid, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and other invitees came together to celebrate the Laker Line, Michigan’s second Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. Congressman Bill Huizenga, GVSU President Tom Haas, Kentwood Mayor, and The Rapid Board Chair Stephen Kepley, The Rapid CEO Andrew Johnson, FTA Region 5 Administrator Kelley Brookins, and Mary Judnich of Senator Debbie Stabenow’s office shared brief remarks about the BRT project.
Construction began on the Laker Line BRT line on April 1, 2019, and service is slated to begin in August 2020. The Laker Line is the second BRT line for the State of Michigan and The Rapid, which opened the Silver Line BRT in August of 2014. The Laker Line, which will replace The Rapid’s current Route 50 – GVSU Campus Connector, will connect the GVSU Allendale campus to the Michigan Street Medical Mile with stops on Lake Michigan Drive. The Laker Line will serve the City of Walker, through West Fulton St., and into downtown Grand Rapids. Construction of the Laker Line is being funded through support from the FTA and the State of Michigan and creates no additional cost for taxpayers. GVSU will provide all operational funding.
Planning for the Laker Line began in August 2013 and generated significant public support. The project received a favorable rating from the FTA competitive grant program for building enhanced transit. Funding for the project was received in January 2018 to finalize design and engineering.
Similar to the Silver Line’s, the Laker Line platforms will provide well-lit shelters with level platform boarding, off-board fare collecting, real-time arrival signage, and security phones and cameras. The Laker Line will share three existing downtown Silver Line stations, helping riders make connections to other routes and improving access throughout The Rapid’s system. Additionally, Laker Line buses will be higher capacity, 60’ articulated “accordion-style” vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).
Learn more about the Laker Line at lakerline.org.