At The Rapid, we always have an eye on the future. Take a look at what we currently have in the works.
The Rapid partnered with the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Wyoming on a transportation and development plan for the South Division corridor. This project -- called Division United -- focused on fostering affordable housing, accessible employment, and diverse transportation options along South Division Avenue from Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids to 60th Street in Kentwood.
The Rapid received a $696,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of a new $945,000 effort to plan for development along the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit line, focusing on the Division Avenue corridor from Wealthy to 60th streets. The partner cities each contributed $25,000 to the project.
The project study, outreach, events, and plan development took place from 2019 to 2021. Over the course of the project, multiple stakeholders throughout the corridor were engaged that represented neighborhoods, businesses, non-profit and advocacy groups, and any other interested individual or organizations. The result of this outreach and technical analysis by the project team is a living plan to improve transportation and development opportunities along South Division Avenue.
The action plans were guided by a focus on equitable development, affordable housing, accessible employment, and economic vitality that honors the unique character and history of South Division.
Division United is a project that leverages the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit service on the Division Avenue corridor as an agent for investment, through a partnership with The Rapid and the cities that it serves, which include Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Wyoming. This project has engaged residents in order to provide people with a choice of housing and employment opportunities that would support them as well as make the Silver Line a convenient choice of transportation.
Executive Summary (9 MB, PDF)
The Economic Development Toolkit outlines financial and municipal resources that would be applicable for medium and large scale developments and experienced developers. Although this toolkit provides many tools to reduce development costs, significant and sustainable change in a community isn’t possible unless community-oriented development begins with education, and grows from education to implementation.
Economic Development Toolkit (6 MB, PDF)
To be used in conjunction with the other toolkits, the Mobility & Connectivity Toolkit provides broad guidance on the tools and options currently available to support safe transportation on Division Avenue. Options currently available include converting outside travel lanes to all-day bus and bike lanes, reducing lane widths, reducing pedestrian street crossing lengths, and implementing pedestrian refuge islands.
Mobility & Connectivity Toolkit (34 MB, PDF)
The intended audience for this toolkit is primarily a resource for zoning and planning professionals on how to maximize zoning to facilitate small scale development and infill. This toolkit identifies challenges and barriers within zoning and identifies equitable solutions to overcome these challenges in order to support small-scale, incremental development within the Division Avenue corridor.
Development & Zoning Toolkit (17 MB, PDF)
This toolkit outlines how implementing placemaking within the corridor will provide opportunities to share culture, add amenities, create enjoyable spaces in currently vacant areas, and make room for new community-oriented activities. Placemaking is done through empowering community members to take ownership of their corridor, which makes placemaking a perfect catalyst for growing social justice, economic development, cultural representation, and improving streetspaces.
Placemaking Toolkit (7 MB, PDF)
This toolkit is designed to provide recommendations for equitable conditions throughout the corridor such as a mobile health clinic, access to healthy food, anti-displacement plan, and a technology and youth center to name a few. Each recommendation consists of an action card with an estimated implementation timeline and lists potential partners that could assist in achieving these recommendations.
Equity Toolkit (7 MB, PDF)
This toolkit has three primary goals: to identify grants and programs already in place in Michigan that municipalities can leverage to support redevelopment, to identify what new programs could be considered by the legislature/local governments, and to present case studies of the ways in which existing funding tools have been leveraged by developers.
Station Strategies and Plans (95 MB, PDF)
Short-Range Plan: 2016 - 2020
In 2010, The Rapid adopted the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) that serves as the guiding document for the agency to the 2030 planning horizon. Many of the priorities identified in the TMP have already been implemented through the passage of the May 2011 millage, subsequent service improvements in FY 2012-2013, and the implementation of the Silver Line in August 2014. Nevertheless, there remains a list of priorities in the TMP that have not been implemented. Based on the remaining priorities established in the TMP and subsequent public and Board input, The Rapid Short Range Plan serves as the agency’s guiding document for services and capital projects through the 2016-2020 planning horizon. The highlights of the Short Range Plan include the fact that all Rapid revenues and services will remain stable, the Laker Line is anticipated to be completed in the Spring of 2019, and all capital project priorities through 2020 will be fully funded.
The Rapid's Short Range Plan: 2016-2020 (1 MB, PDF)
Our long-range plan—or Transit Master Plan (TMP)—is a comprehensive, 20-year plan that will guide future development of The Rapid’s current service area of East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker, and Wyoming.
In June 2010, The Rapid's Board of Directors unanimously adopted a new TMP dubbed "The People's Plan" because the development and approval was so heavily guided by public input. The TMP is the culmination of months of work by the Mobile Metro 2030 Task Force, community and business leaders, senior citizens, students, riders, and non-riders working together to establish a vision for transit services.
The plan’s suggested improvements to make The Rapid more convenient, efficient, and attractive to commuters also includes new types of transit services: the first lines of a modern streetcar system and a regional express bus program. GO!Bus would also see improvements that mirror fixed-route enhancements.
The plan will also illustrate how The Rapid stacks up against comparable systems and help identify ways we can enhance our services, attract and retain riders, increase efficiencies, and lower costs based on peer best practices.
As part of the Transit Master Plan development, a rigorous peer review was conducted of 10 transit systems: Louisville, KY; Ann Arbor, Flint, and Lansing, MI; Akron, Dayton, and Toledo, OH; Rochester, NY; Nashville, TN; and Madison, WI.
The analysis compares The Rapid’s fixed-route bus and paratransit (GO!Bus) services to systems similar in size and regional demographic characteristics. Criteria used to select the peers include urban area population and physical size, annual vehicle revenue hours, and annual unlinked passenger trips.
In key findings, The Rapid is among the most cost-effective and cost-efficient systems evaluated. The Rapid’s bus system is 23% and 18% less expensive to operate per bus-hour and bus-mile, respectively, than the peer average.
Download the full report for more information.
Laker Line Study
This study sought to understand the necessary enhancements needed to better connect downtown Grand Rapids, the West Side, Standale, and the main campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale. The Rapid’s second bus rapid transit (BRT) line was identified as the enhancement.
Construction for the Laker Line kicked off on April 1, 2019, with service starting in August 2020. This improved routing will replace the current Route 50 connecting Grand Valley State University’s main campus in Allendale with the downtown campus and Medical Mile.
The Laker Line will be faster than Route 50 with a direct, more predictable and less congested travel experience. Visit lakerline.org to learn more about what's happening with the Laker Line.
The Laker Line will:
- Improve connectivity between downtown Grand Rapids and GVSU
- Provide support for (re)development planning by the corridor communities
- Mitigate the traffic, parking and other impacts from the growing amount of travel in the corridor
- Capitalize on the potential environmental, community, and social benefits of increased transit usage.
Laker Line Study LPA (4 MB, PDF)
Align: The Rapid's Transit Improvement Study
Align: The Rapid’s Transit Improvement Study was a year-long project led by The Interurban Transit Partnership (aka The Rapid), which identified, analyzed, and prioritized a set of transit improvements that can be made to the existing bus system to improve the transit experience in Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities. This study took place from June 2017 - June 2018. This study looks for ways to add to and improve the network, recommends land use best practices and other policies to help grow ridership, and determines the improvements the public would like to see for the system.
This study builds upon The Rapid’s previous transit projects, The Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and the Laker Line BRT, to identify opportunities to improve and potentially expand transit service within the urbanized area. The study explores the feasibility of implementing new BRT corridors, constructing infrastructure enhancements to improve bus travel time and reliability statistics, along with introducing amenity enhancements to improve rider comfort at bus stops and improve the visibility of transit in the community.
View the Align Transit Improvement Plan.
Streetcar Feasibility Study
In 2008, after a four-year Alternatives Analysis completed by The Rapid, a feasibility study was launched to address a downtown streetcar route that would ultimately focus redevelopment intensity in the area. In 2014, a route refinement study concluded that a minimum operable segment (MOS) streetcar route is feasible.
After identifying the city of Grand Rapids as uniquely positioned to advance streetcar transit planning and implementation, the study recommends the next steps include:
- Determining and assembling the governance structure
- Proceeding with environmental documentation and preliminary engineering
- Defining capital and operational funding sources to attract private and federal support
These tasks are anticipated to be completed within one to two years of the study, allowing the city to compete for federal grants and advance local funding initiatives, as needed. Final engineering, construction documentation, and specifications will then follow.
Read the 2008 Grand Rapids Streetcar Feasibility Study
Read the 2014 Grand Rapids Streetcar Route Refinement Study