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Traffic getting worse due to bus-only lanes, not due to lack of public transit choices. Encourage walking and biking.

The growing economy has enabled vehicle purchases for those who would not normally be able to purchase vehicles. This is NOT bad.

Photo of Ross Vander Klok
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We should be focusing on increasing walking/biking around the city for the 2/3's of the year it is a perfect option, not on increasing public transportation. My frustration lies in ever increasing taxes to fund public transportation including fancy, wonderful (and mostly empty) bus stops and buses. Now we have to pay a consultant $100,000 to tell us why people are not riding buses? I will let you in on a little secret, the economy is good so ridership will be down. Continuing to close traffic lanes to make bus-only lanes will exacerbate the problem not help. Of course, we need public transit, but we are not Chicago, LA, Detroit or New York City and it should not be a competition to become like them. We need a Grand Rapids solution to a Grand Rapids problem not to emulate a larger cities program. To me this means more parking garages, not parking lots, five plus story tall garages on the outskirts of the city. Park and then walk or ride a bike the next mile or so you need to go. For those that can't walk or bike smaller vans/buses could be used to shuttle people in. Parking garages within the city should be two to three times more expensive to use to encourage people to park on outskirts of town. In actuality in ten years or less it will be shared or city-owned driverless vehicles shuttling people in anyway!

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Photo of Rob Montroy

As a resident, property tax payer and income tax payer in Grand Rapids, I would prefer my tax dollars fund more transit infrastructure and service, not less. Lets make more efficient use of those bus lanes. There should also be congestion pricing for single-occupancy vehicles (including driverless) to help manage the congestion. Better biking infrastructure also encourages an alternative to single-occupancy (motorized) vehicles. I would gladly pay a smaller amount of that extra income from an improving economy on public services that help reduce congestion rather than pay a larger amount on an extra vehicle that I shouldn't need.

Photo of Ross Vander Klok

As a resident, property owner/taxpayer and income tax payer in Grand Rapids, I would prefer my tax dollars fund much less (as in 0) transit infrastructure and service, not more. Congestion pricing for single-occupancy vehicles is a ludicrous big city idea that is not needed for Grand Rapids and most likely never will be. That is great that you "shouldn't need a vehicle" Rob, but many of us do need and also want a vehicle. I am all for spending money on public services that would reduce congestion. Things such as wider roads, pedestrian overpasses, better timed/cycled traffic lights, additional roundabouts and numerous other traffic control features that have nothing to do with more empty buses.

Photo of Tom Bulten

Hi Ross: I'm one of the facilitators on the forum. Thanks for your comments about transit, driving, walking and biking! I see several ideas embedded in there which will be useful when we get to the “Propose” phase of this project in a few weeks (https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/content/how-it-works).

You make several points:
1. Transit ridership is down and automobile congestion is worse because more of us are driving cars in an improving economy.
2. Bus-only lanes contribute to automobile congestion.
3. Demand-based pricing for parking would reduce automobile congestion downtown.
Is that a fair summary?
It sounds like you've been frustrated by the bus-only lanes during peak commute times on South Division. Can you tell us more about what you've observed? If you can illustrate it with a photo, that would be great. (But, don't take a photo in unsafe conditions :-).)

Photo of Tom Bulten

Dan O. brings up demand-based pricing for parking in this thread: https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/challenge/grand-rapids/explore/demand-based-pricing-for-parking.

Photo of Ross Vander Klok

Perfect summary Tom, thank you for making it more concise!