A map of the proposed BRT system bus stops on Grand River Avenue and Michigan Avenue. Courtesy of: CATA
By Riley James
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter
CATA plans on adding two designated bus lanes right down the center of the Grand River Avenue corridor for the Route 1 bus. The bus rapid transit (BRT) system is expected to improve certain aspects of Grand River Avenue including traffic congestion, safety, and attractiveness.
“CATA is not changing the entire system to a BRT system. CATA is proposing to change Route 1 to a Bus Rapid Transit line to improve travel for all modes along the corridor,” said Debbie Alexander, the assistant executive director of CATA.
An example of the proposed BRT lanes on Michigan Avenue. Courtesy of: CATA
“When buses operate in their own lanes and use stations for boarding, the speed of travel for the bus rider is improved by up to 13 minutes, and the flow of auto traffic is improved because buses are not stopping frequently to drop off and pick up passengers along the 8.5-mile corridor,” said Alexander..
With the BRT system, the buses will be coming to stops every five to six minutes instead of every 9 to 16 minutes, and the buses will be getting from the Meridian Mall to the Capitol building about 15 minutes faster than they do today.
“When you give the buses their own dedicated lane, you allow the remaining traffic lanes, the car lanes, to have a much better traffic flow, because they are not stopping and starting behind the bus. So the buses themselves kind of mess up the traffic for everyone else, because they have to stop at the stops,” said Julie Brixie, Meridian Township treasurer and CATA board member.
Part of the reason the buses will be moving faster is because there were be fewer stops along the Grand River corridor, which raises some concern.
Controversy has risen in Meridian Township because some residents do not agree that the BRT system will improve Meridian Township.
“[The BRT system] will disrupt traffic flow, it will affect business, it will affect riders on the BRT because, right now, they may only have to walk a couple of blocks to get to a pick-up area, and now they may have to walk a half a mile to get to a pick-up station,” said Shirley Decker, co-owner of Mert’s Specialty Meats.