Is CATA-BRT coming to Grand River?

By BHNA board members

Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) has been strongly promoting a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan. CATA asserts that BRT will streamline transit, promote development, improve safety and sustainability along the Grand River/Michigan Ave corridor between Marsh Road (Meridian Township) and the Capitol in Lansing.

CATA is seeking $133 million in federal and state funding to cover the costs of new buses and build route infrastructure. CATA claims that existing monies will cover future operational costs. Because the route travels state-owned roads, local municipalities have only an advisory role.

The BRT plan would build dedicated bus lanes, new “stations” with fare machines, level boarding, covered waiting areas, and real-time transit information. CATA documents assert that service along the 8.5-mile corridor would run every 6 minutes through 27 stations using exclusive bus-only lanes with stops usually planned immediately after major intersections for safe access of passengers at existing zebra crossings.

For Brookfield residents, this project could have significant impacts along our Grand River border, with planned additional dedicated outer bus lanes to avoid the current blockage of the outermost car lane when buses serve passengers at the two stops near Oakland Dr. As we have all experienced, this intersection is quite busy, especially when MSU is in session. Adding dedicated bus lanes in this area could transform our access to the neighborhood via Grand River, as well as possibly affect traffic through our neighborhood.

There are many questions about this project. Is there or will there be sufficient ridership to justify the project? Where will the extra space come from to create dedicated bus lanes?

CATA maintains a website dedicated to this project - http://cata-brt.org/

Project opponents on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2aiqecJ

Board member Mike Benedict researched CATA’s planned schematics in the Hagadorn/Grand River area.

Going east to west -

  • Removes the bus stop on the south side of Brookfield Plaza.
  • Moves the bus stop (to be called stations) east across Hagadorn Road to the corner of East Grand River Avenue and Oakland Drive next to 103 Oakland Drive and removes other bus stops east of that location.
  • Creates constrained rows from about 1617 East Grand River Avenue to Oakland Drive and then from Oakland Drive to Hagadorn Road.

Going west to east -

  • Removes the bus stop at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Hagadorn Road.
  • Adds a station on Grand River Avenue directly across the road from Oakland Drive.

Questions

  • Will the property at 103 Oakland Drive be affected by this change?
  • How close will the station be to 103 Oakland and will be the resulting noise impacts, particularly since the other bus stops are being consolidated at this stop?
  • Commuters park at Brookfield Plaza (a violation of the Plaza's rules) and then catch the No. 1 or the express bus at that location. With that stop removed, will commuters park (legally) on Oakland Drive and catch the BRT at the Oakland/Grand River stop?
  • By moving these stations further away from the intersection of Grand River and Hagadorn, will this encourage more pedestrian jay walking where people don't want to walk the extra distance to the stations?
  • What is a constrained row and what does it mean for Oakland Drive?