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GVSU Allendale - Downtown GR - Ford Airport Metrorail: a rare alignment of super-regional destinations overcomes population density deficit

a vision for a thoughtful and well-placed East-West Metrorail corridor to provide a strong transit spine for central Metro Grand Rapids

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A key set of mass transit-oriented issues that consistently keep Metro Grand Rapids from enabling the majority of its citizens to reach the majority of its key destinations with maximum independence, affordability and choice include: 1] regional transit being planned by privileged non-transit-users that have no grasp of the importance of increased service frequency nor the positive impact of seamless intermodality on strengthening ridership; 2] a local mindset among some civic leaders that limits transit solutions only to those that cost the least, have the least impact and that prevent the out-of-the-box solutions that produce world-class transit and 3] a profound disconnect among leadership from recognizing the region's greatest transit opportunity of having an east-west corridor of 19 super-regional destinations in a rare alignment between West Michigan's largest university and Michigan's second busiest airport - a corridor with ever-growing Downtown Grand Rapids at its center. In the upcoming PROPOSE phase of CoT, MBEI and the BrainTrust Consortium will propose an opportunity to galvanize an educational collaboration between local high school and college students to create a consensus-building, planning and implementation asset that simulates the metrorail system, its stations and the station sites along with a more detailed outline of the 22-mile metrorail corridor and key support documents to strengthen the case for it and to galvanize development action for it.

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Photo of Ruthe Nichole

are you planning to go from the GVSU in Allendale to the GVSU downtown? Is it just for students or for the general public?

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Mme. Nichole:

Thank you for your great question. Though the other specific locations for the alignment of the proposed East/West Metrorail System will not be revealed until the upcoming presentation of our PROPOSE Phase Cities of Tomorrow Challenge (CoT) submission, please know with certainty that two of the 19 station sites for the conceptualized Metrorail corridor are indeed GVSU-Allendale and downtown GR's GVSU-Robert Pew. Please know further that if a system like this was limited only to students that it would be counter-productive to its key function of enabling a majority of citizens to reach the majority of Metro GR's key super-regional destinations with maximum independence and maximum flexibility/choice. STAY TUNED....

Photo of annie young

A very bold statement and concept.

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Mme. Young:

Thank you for your insight. We believe strongly in Grand Rapids' ability and legacy of always being able to somehow "do the impossible" and to overcome those obstacles that other cities would submit to as insurmountable unattainabilities (i.e. - reinventing a downtown to become the urban hub between Chicago and Detroit that did not roll up at 5:15p, creating a bus system that people would use after 6:00p and on Sundays, building an arena that would be in the top 100 revenue-generating arenas of the world, positioning an airport to approach 3-million annual users in 2019, growing a university that would eclipse Western as West Michigan's largest university, growing a world-class biomedical hub with a research institute AND Michigan State University's medical school, positioning such a conglomeration and its 1.3 million residents to be 25-35 minutes from 47 miles of ocean-like beachfront, from Michigan's Adventure rollercoasters and from a growing casino complex to boot).

We have all of the basic elements to attain the first part of this region's central theme and moniker: GRAND. To go forward in ways that do not reflect GRAND (i.e. - bold, superlative, great, inspiring, beyond, etc.) is to set Metro GR up for continuing to be the butt of "small"-, "backwater"- and "Hooterville"-associated jokes that always end in would-be newcomers taking the option of another new place that actually goes about achieving GRANDness.

We Michiganians of Metro GRAND just need to continue our trademark of reaching higher and overcoming self-doubt as we always have. GO GRAND!

Onward we go . . . . ,

Rudolph R. Treece III
President, MBEI

Photo of Idrees Mutahr

Hello and thank you for the post, I am one of the facilitators for the challenge. I see that you are preparing for the propose phase, so I would like to encourage you to discuss here some of the experiences traveling in the city that led you to this idea? What is travel like between GVSU Downtown and the Airport and what are the primary difficulties you would like to see resolved? I also want to remind you, ideas submitted should be projects that can be piloted with $100,000 grant at the conclusion of the challenge.

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Please be assured that the project we are developing will dually create 1] the demonstration asset that can take this vision and move it through the requisite consensus-building, planning and implementation processes to pave the way for its coming-into-being while 2] it creates an opportunity for our Youth Urban Media Education Initiative (YUMEI) media production training students to media-document the development process of the demonstration asset.