CATA holds charrettes for feedback on Bus Rapid Transit plans
After four days of planning the potential Bus Rapid Transit system, Capital Area Transit Authority held a work-in-progress charrette to show their updated design plans Sunday night at the International Center.
The design team took into account community ideas along with concerns about the environmental impact, sustainability, pedestrian safety and optimal traffic solutions to create two main design plans.
The potential bus system would run down the Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue corridor and would replace the current Route 1 bus.
The five-day series of charrettes focused specifically on the section of corridor from Abbot Road to Hagadorn Road.
In creating the two road plans, designers addressed the main concerns from community members including: keeping left turns, better pedestrian crossings, keeping the median and not intruding on the campus.
“Updating the transportation system in this area isn’t just about transporting you,” CATA urban design consultant Victor Dover said. “It’s also about setting you up for a new generation of transit-oriented development so that you can build a more sustainable city that has mixed use, more walkability, more value and more options.”
The main design plan featured a four-lane road on the north side of the median that would hold two-way traffic. The south side of the median would hold two-lanes which would be used exclusively for the BRT system. The median would have to be reduced on the north side and extended on the south side.
There would be no cutouts for left turn lanes, so the new tree-planting scheme would be aligned and much more aesthetically pleasing, Dover said. Permeable pavement strips would also be added in between tires on the south side of the median.
The secondary design plan is more similar to the current bus system design, except there would be a bus-only lane on each side of corridor for the BRT system. This plan would lead to much more interaction between the BRT system and mixed traffic. The median would still have to be redone, but left turn lanes would remain on the south side of the corridor.
International relations senior Hannah Champ said it’s important for students to be involved in this process even though most see East Lansing as just a temporary place to live.
“It’s for the sake of the East Lansing community and for the students that are going to live here over the course of the next 20 years,” she said.
Champ said the most important points to consider were how it would impact people, affect their lifestyle and how needs would be met with the new system for both students and long term residents.
East Lansing Community & Economic Development Administrator Lori Mullins said she was most interested in how the new mode of transportation affects the downtown business district.
“The kind of thing that tends to happen around newly created transit stations with premium service like the Bus Rapid Transit is transit oriented development,” Dover said.
This project is a process and will continue in April with another series of meetings that will focus on remaining areas of the corridor.