The Laker Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line will begin construction on April 1, 2019, as The Rapid prepares for service beginning in August 2020. The Laker Line BRT is the second BRT line for 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 Grand Valley State University 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.
Planning for the Laker Line began in August 2013, and generated significant public support. The project received a favorable rating from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) competitive grant program for building enhanced transit. Funding for the project was received in January 2018 to finalize design and engineering. Construction will begin today and conclude in August 2020.
The Rapid staff and their construction partner, The Christman Company, will be working with area businesses to educate the public on the benefits of BRT, as well as the construction schedule and traffic impacts.
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. Additionally, Laker Line buses will be 60’ articulated “accordion-style” vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). Each bus will be large enough to carry 90 passengers comfortably.
“We’re thrilled to be moving forward with the Laker Line project and to break ground on the second BRT line in Michigan,” said Andrew Johnson, CEO of The Rapid. “The Laker Line will provide a faster connection from GVSU to downtown Grand Rapids, and improve access for residents and businesses throughout The Rapid’s service area.”
The Laker Line is funded through support from the FTA and the State of Michigan. Grand Valley State University provides operational support.
More information on this project can be found at lakerline.org, which includes images of the new stations, a route map, and a full construction schedule.