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    Residents of the Lansing area may have noticed brochures and banners about the Capital Area Transit Authority's (CATA) latest project.  In conjunction with state and municipal governments, Michigan State University, and even the Lansing Chamber of Commerce, CATA has been conducting a study of it's Route 1 corridor--a straight shot from Lansing down Michigan Avenue into East Lansing, and then Grand River to Okemos, and back-so as to make a fully modernized transit corridor for the Greater Lansing Area.

    . The study began in August of this past year, and its completion has been projected for this summer.  Partners in the study hope that the study can lead to a solution for improving the corridor's utility to all stakeholders in the community, namely by using it as an engine for economic growth, environmental benefit, and sustainable land use.  A complete listing of the study's goals and objectives can be found here.

    Options being considered for the corridor can be broken down into three categories:  exclusive right-of-way, freight rail, and surface transit.  A breakdown of each group is given below

    Exclusive Right-of-Way

    • Characterized by right-of-ways separate from all other sorts of traffic, either by running underground, on elevated rail structures, or on separate surface corridors. Among these types of transit are heavy rail (e.g. Chicago's "L"), and automated guideway transit (Detroit's People Mover, Seattle Center Monorail).

    Freight Rail Corridor

    • Options within this category would share rail with freight service vehicles. This is how long distance trips via Amtrak are conducted.

    Surface Transit Options

    • This category is comprised of options for transit running along rights-of-way strictly on the surface. These would likely operate on a right of way within the Michigan/Grand River corridor. Examples include conventional buses (currently used), bus rapid transit (buses with dedicated lanes that receive priority at intersections), light rail (e.g. Hiawatha Lane in Minneapolis), and the streetcar (e.g. the Portland Streetcar). Demolition of the median would be highly likely with any of these options.

    The fact that these options are being weighed does not necessarily imply that the corridor will undergo any drastic change.  In August, the steering committee can make one of three decisions: leave the corridor as it is, make baseline improvements (improve sidewalks, bus shelters, etc.), or build a new system entirely, based on one of the aforementioned transit options.

    Whatever the decision, CATA might receive assistance of levels up to 80 percent from the federal government, with a local match either by the state or by CATA itself.  CATA would also be expected to fund any new system that might be constructed.

     

    Sources:


    CATA

     

    Lansing City Pulse

     

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