With the Laker Line Study finishing it’s third phase, the plans for Route 50 were unveiled yesterday at a public meeting held at Grand Valley University. The final phase of the study revealed the locally preferred alternative (community-driven results) featuring routing, station locations and the amenities of what will become Grand Rapids’ second bus rapid transit (BRT) system set to roll in 2018.
The consultants for the Laker Line Study were tasked with offering a recommended transit enhancement that takes into account a number of factors including ridership potential, economic development opportunity and estimated project costs. All of these factors will ultimately result in the transit project being competitive in the federal process for funding consideration.
The preliminary recommendations for the 13-mile Laker Line system showcased routing between Grand Valley University and downtown Grand Rapids. Proposed routing for the Laker Line will begin at GVSU’s Kirkhof center in Allendale, travel north to Lake Michigan Drive and east to downtown’s Fulton Street and Monroe Avenue. Buses will then travel north to Medical Mile before terminating at Lafayette Avenue.
The route will feature 14 stations. While a maximum of 13 vehicles will be on a six-minute frequency between them during peak times. This service is closely matched to the current level of service provided on routes 50 and 51.
As ridership continues to grow on 50 and 51 routes, the future Laker Line BRT enhancement will increase efficiency and meet capacity needs within the corridor. Planners expect 13,000 riders each day — a 13 percent increase above existing service.
Similar to the Silver Line, the Laker Line will also utilize signal priority technology to hold lights green. This allows buses to move more efficiently through intersections. There are also dedicated bus-only lanes proposed on GVSU’s campus and Fulton.
The open house held yesterday offered the public one last opportunity for feedback before the formal recommendation process begins. The next steps for the Laker Line Study include the presentation of the locally preferred alternative to the Laker Line Advisory and Policy committees for approval in early November. The Rapid Board is also expected to consider the recommendation at its meeting in December. While an environmental analysis of the results will be competed before the project application can be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration for consideration next fall for funding.
Did you provide input for the future of Route 50?