Brookfield Heritage Neighborhood Association:  Board Meeting Notes, January 16, 2017

Roll Call

The meeting was attended by current board members Jennifer Castner, Mike Benedict, Alan Munn, Bill Martin, Kathy Prince, Robert O’Meara, Jeff Johnson, Kay Ruekberg.  Special guests included Mark Meadows, Mayor of East Lansing, Brad Funkhouser, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for CATA, and Eilis Seide, Assistant to the City Manager of East Lansing.

CATA-BRT Discussion

Brad Funkhouser provided the board with the latest information regarding the plans for the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) that CATA is wanting to construct along the #1 Bus Route on Grand River from Meridian Mall to the Capitol in downtown Lansing.  The original plan would originate in Meridian Township, but 5 alternative plans were developed in response to many businesses and residents in both Meridian Township and East Lansing opposing the BRT out to Meridian Mall.  According to Brad, all plans are still on the table, but the two favored plans of CATA would be the original full route plan or the alternative plan that would run a BRT only out to the vicinity of Abbott Road on Grand River.

According to Brad, the main impetus to implementing the BRT is to increase capacity of the #1 Bus Route ridership.  According to Brad, ridership is expected to increase by 50% in the future due to increased housing on or near Grand River Avenue, though he could not provide a timetable for this growth.

In the coming months, CATA will present its plans to the FTA (Federal Transit Administration) for approval.  Once the FTA has given CATA the go ahead, CATA will then schedule a number of community meetings for discussion and input.  Mayor Meadows informed us that the official position of the city is neutral until a plan comes out from CATA.  Since it is to be constructed by MDOT and built on a federal Highway (Grand River Avenue), the City of East Lansing has no approval rights.

As the BRT specifically relates to the Brookfield neighborhood, the board voiced its strong objection to the location of a BRT station at Oakland Drive and Grand River Avenue in the event that the BRT ends up running out to Meridian Township.  Board members cited many reasons against this station location, including:

  • increasing the already difficult access to Grand River Avenue from Oakland Drive.
  • potential daytime parking on Oakland and Maplewood from bus riders parking their vehicles on our streets to catch the BRT at this proposed station.
  • increased traffic backup at the stoplights at Grand River and Hagadorn.
  • loss of aesthetic value of the neighborhood from the presence of a station there.
  • increased traffic on our neighborhood streets as drivers “cut thru” Brookfield to avoid the probable longer wait times for lights at Grand River and Hagadorn due to loss of driving lanes on Grand River to accommodate the BRT.

Board members suggestions included:

  • ending the line at/around Abbott Road (the top alternative plan).
  • locating the station closer to Brookfield Road on Grand River should the line have to run out to Meridian Township.
  • offering more EXPRESS bus service to and from the Lansing Capitol as opposed to constructing the BRT system
  • improving safety at the Grand River/Hagadorn intersection by including an all-direction red light pedestrian cycle (all vehicular traffic stops in all directions, pedestrians cross in all directions including diagonally).

The board will continue to closely follow the development of the BRT project and we encourage all Brookfield Heritage Neighborhood residents to attend the community meetings that will be scheduled later this spring.

Other Agenda Items

Due to the lengthy discussion of the BRT, other agenda items were tabled until our next neighborhood board meeting scheduled for February 20, 2017 at Mike Benedict’s home.