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Rails to Trails - Extend Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail and connect it to the White Pine Trail creating a pedestrian highway through GR

Extending the trail that starts in Ionia and ends in Lowell, through downtown Grand Rapids by converting the rarely used and dangerous track

Photo of Michael Benz
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The Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Trail runs from just east of Ionia to just west of Lowell. The trail ends at the intersection of Grand River Dr SE/Riverside Dr and Montcalm Ave SE. Currently very few people can easily utilize the trail, and those that do only use it for recreation, and most have to travel to it in vehicles. It could be extended by removing the dangerous and rarely used tracks that run along the Grand River through Lowell, Ada, Cascade, East Grand Rapids, Midtown and across the Grand River at Riverside Park and be connected to the White Pine Trail. The new Trail would provide an excellent pedestrian highway just as the White Pine Trail does running north, only in a more urban environment allowing thousands of commuters to safely bike to work, and also add a route for recreation for 10's of thousands of people without having to drive out of town. It would also increase public safety and property values, while removing 100's of cars per day from overcrowded roads like Michigan Street, Leonard, Cascade, Fulton, and many other Roads. It would open up commuting by bike and other types of non-motorized traffic by connection two great existing trails through the city. The trail would provide a safe means of transportation from Ionia, through Lowell, past Amway, through Cascade and Forest Hills, into East Grand Rapids and through Midtown over the river and north to Rockford and all the way up to Cadillac.

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Photo of Tom Bulten

Hi Michael: You had posted this idea to the Challenge in June. But, I wonder if you could expand it into a proposal for the "Propose" phase of the project. (The Challenge is seeking proposals through September 30 and is providing $100,000 to a winning proposal.) I'm the online facilitator for the Grand Rapids Challenge. So, let me know if I can help you refine the idea. You can submit a proposal here: https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/challenge/grand-rapids/propose/contribute.

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