Join us to participate in the upcoming 2019 City:One Challenge. 

Green Zones

Zones within Grand Rapids' busiest business districts at rush hours that restrict vehicles that are occupied with less than two people.

Photo of Franklin Brown
2 1

Written by

Create strictly enforced "Green Zones" within Grand Rapids' most congested business districts. During business hours or rush hours vehicles that are occupied with less than two people are restricted from entering within the boundaries of the zones, unless those vehicles are registered and are displaying an official Green Zone decal on the license tag and windshield. Registered vehicles would pay a yearly fee, funds generated from those fees would be used solely on new mobility projects, similar to those ideas of the the Ford Challenge. Other uses would include: the construction of new bike paths and walkways, the planting of trees along existing walkways and bike paths, issuing vouchers to bike riders that may be used at bike shops that offer free bike safety classes and discounts on monthly transit passes, just to name a few.. Vehicles found to be in violation of the Green Zone restriction will be cited by law enforcement with considerable fines. There would also be the creation of a one term only, bi-yearly elected, Citizens Mobility Authority (CMA.) The CMA would be made up of passionate, cause sharing, everyday citizens. The CMA would exist as a totally separate independent authority charged with overseeing the funds and creating and implementing new mobility projects countywide. Politically, the creation of the CMA would offer a great deal of cover for county elected officials from having to face backlash for implementing the Green Zones. Elderly car owners, vehicle owners with disabilities and residents living within Green Zone areas could register their vehicles at a discounted rate. Discounted rates could also be applied to company fleet vehicles, ride sharing and taxis that utilize the Green Zones during restricted hours. The entire budget would operate off of the funds generated by registrations and partial funds from citations. Funds would be used exclusively (100%) for CMA projects.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Commuters carpooling could benefit from the reduced amount of traffic going into the business districts. Job creation for existing or start-up construction companies wanting to get involved in the building of the new projects funded by the Green Zone revenues. People not willing to carpool would benefit the most from purchasing a yearly Green Zone Pass. Bike riders and pedestrians would find their daily experiences fresher, safer and easier with the reduced amounts of vehicles and CO2. Public transportation would have a much easier time getting into Green Zones with less traffic, which would help in maintaining better on time performance. First Responders would find much easier to respond to calls within the Green Zones work less traffic. Elderly and Disabled pedestrians would find it a much smoother experience getting around within Green Zone boundaries.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Franklin Brown & Ralph McCoy Urban UAV Systems and Consulting, Inc. COMTO Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials - Miami *Professional guidance and assistance from various members with both public and private sector experience.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $75,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Most of the costs can be attributed to the signage required to let the driving public know when they are approaching a Green Zone. The installation of signs would include through-ways, highways and local neighborhood streets leading toward Green Zones. Other costs would include: distribution of decals through auto tag agencies and online, also making the public aware through an assortment of media sources.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Success could be measured In the following ways: a decrease in the amount of traffic in and surrounding the Green Zones, the number decals that were sold on a monthly basis, an increase in the number of commuters using public transportation going into the Green Zones, an increase In the number of 'GZ' vouchers being used on a monthly basis and surveys.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tom Bulten

Hi Franklin: I'm one of the facilitators for the Grand Rapids Challenge. Thank you for the proposal. Can you suggest an area of Grand Rapids that might be included in the Green Zone? Edit additional information into the body of the proposal before 4 PM today to ensure it is included in the document that the judges will read.

You have responded to several questions in the Miami-Dade forum. I will link to those comments here so that Grand Rapidians can learn more:

Photo of Franklin Brown

Hi Tom:
Thank you for the excellent question. A good example of what a high traffic Green Zone would look like is featured in the photo above, which indicates the surrounding areas of Downtown Grand Rapids. However, the areas established as Green Zones would be totally left up to the residents on the Citizens Mobility Authority that make up the panel.