As the construction of the Silver Line’s 34 stations nears completion and we begin planning to open in August, the time has come to think about the impact of transit oriented development. Michigan’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line rang in at $40 million dollars and was funded entirely by Federal Transit Administration Very Small Starts and Michigan Department of Transportations.
In case you haven’t been following the exciting news surrounding this decade-long bus rapid transit project, the Silver Line will run with eight hybrid electric buses, dedicated bus lanes, and traffic signal priority technology to boost efficiency and holds green lights to reduce stoppages. The route acts as a connecting point for local municipalities running mostly along S. Division Avenue from 60th St. in Wyoming, north through Kentwood into Grand Rapids.
But there’s more to this bus rapid transit line than new stations boasting level-boarding platforms and snow-melting mechanisms. The short list of possibilities to note include the following:
- Development along the Silver Line route
- Increasing property values
- Increased economic generation due to improved transportation options
- Relocation of individuals and families into city’s core to be closer to more transportation options
- The uniting of Wyoming, Kentwood, and Grand Rapids via transit oriented development near the route
With new development comes new jobs. And while real numbers aren’t available for the impact of bus rapid transit in Grand Rapids yet, in 2012 the Federal Transit Administration’s Peter Rogoff predicted the BRT route would see “some 30,000 jobs in the central business district,” as it’s just one-quarter mile off the Silver Line’s route. Significant job impact is highly dependent on the type of development that’s generated.
Where public transportation goes, community grows. What’s your vision for the Division Ave. corridor in five years due to the impact of the Silver Line?