Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rapid Silver Line - Bus "Slow" Transit

The supporters of the proposed $70 million Silver Line bus system in Grand Rapids tout it as a "Bus Rapid Transit" line. The proposed route of the Silver Line is up Division from 60th Street, a jog around the hospitals around Michigan street, and back to the Rapid station. The total route, according to Rapid, is 9.8 miles. It will take 35 minutes for the new "Silver Line" to travel this route. An important note here is that, as we've previously pointed out, Division will be turned into an effective two lane road (one lane each way) so that these Silver Line buses can have their own dedicated lanes. This supposedly will speed these buses up because they won't have to share these lanes with regular cars.

But wait, the Rapid already has a bus, route #1, that travels from the Clyde Park Meijer, down to 68th Street, up Division, and around to the Rapid station. The total distance for the current buses on this route is 12 miles, according to Google Maps. In addition, according to the Rapid's web site, the buses on this route take about 33 minutes.

Let's do the math. The Silver Line is supposed to take 35 minutes to travel 9.8 miles, with dedicated lanes on Division. The current #1 bus, traveling 12 miles, takes 33 minutes, sharing the lanes like every other vehicle on the road. The Silver Line factors out to be traveling at around 16.8 miles per hour. The current bus factors out to 20.57 miles per hour.

Huh? How do they call this Bus Rapid Transit? It's Bus Slow Transit. It's slower than the regular buses that take the same route now!

Don't forget that these dedicated Silver Line lanes on Division will squeeze all current traffic on Division down to one lane in each direction. Traffic jam, anyone?

Be sure to cast your vote on this idea on Tuesday, May 5th, if you live in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Walker, Kentwood, or Grandville.


  1. Please check out this youtube on the DESTINATION site for the Rapid Silverline.

    My ride on the Rapid DIvision route on April 20, 09
    It shows you were the SilverLine Rapid will take you. Highlights Downtown and issues.

    Pass on.

  2. You seem to be pretty down on this. I personally have a car, but have taken public transportation and know many people who do. I often drive on division and other downtown streets. I go to college downtown, social events, night life, and visit loved ones DAILY. There are very few issues I have with division traffic. Most people use parking, side streets, meters, or ramps on other downtown side streets to park BEHIND or NEAR their local destinations on division. From what I've read and seen most people complaining are not directly effected by or use public transportation and are only concerned with taxes. ANY time you are involved in the community, upgrading, or making a city better you will need more money. Everyone knows this, but continues to complain. This is only one video/site, but from this you can see besides the construction or changes being made it is in know way making traffic worse. It's saving time for its customers, making things more accessable/easier for the riders, and not taking up a lane from regular traffic. Much like the people who complained about bike laws, but forget they are actually, by law, supposed to have a lane/be in the road. Its all a bit ridiculous and for what? Taxes? God forbid we pay taxes to advance GR, MI.

  3. It is in no way* I typed know. My apologies on the typo.