By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter
A $143 million proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system could be finished as soon as 2018. The BRT would run from the Capitol to Meridian Mall via Michigan and Grand River avenues. It would also add a designated bus lane, remove current bus stops, and add traffic signals, according to Meridian Township documents. “The total cost of the BRT is not $133 million,” John R. Veenstra, a Trustee member on the Meridian Township Board of Commissioners, said. “Many people are getting this confused.
INGHAM COUNTY—Bus Rapid Transit, a $145 million project by CATA, has riders and employees very interested in the future of route one along Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue. The project would benefit residents in Lansing, East Lansing, Meridian and surrounding communities with the hopes to improve and expand public transportation in the area. Currently, the corridor has a higher population and employment density than the region as a whole and, according to Robison, is expected to continue to increase. “Route one, which currently operates on the corridor, is frequently at or above capacity,” Robison said. “Each week, 10 to 14 trips are over capacity and unable to accommodate passengers waiting to board, but the BRT project will allow more people to move quickly through the constrained corridor.”
The Bus Rapid Transit would differ from CATA’s current buses.
Every morning, Michigan State University freshman Krista Dunger gathers her belongings and heads to the CATA route one station outside of her apartment complex. Being a frequent rider, Dunger is aware of an upcoming change that would transform Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue before she graduates. The revitalization promises faster, easier and more efficient rides to its 1.8 million riders per year, which is very pleasing to Dunger because, compared to other students, she has some extra baggage to carry. “Having a baby and trying to juggle school is definitely not easy, but route one has been so reliable,” Dunger said, “Hearing of the upcoming changes to route one is exciting because it will make my commutes to campus and work so much easier.”
Laurie Robison, director of marketing at CATA, said that the new bus system will be more accommodating to riders. “Right now at peak times, CATA is unable to accommodate all customers who want to ride because the busses are too crowded,” Robison said.
A grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is helping to gather input from citizens in Mason and Lansing about adding additional CATA bus service between both cities. Route 46, the bus route between Mason and Lansing, runs one northbound trip daily at 7:05 a.m. from downtown Mason, and one southbound trip at 5 p.m. from the CATA transportation center in downtown Lansing. Doug Klein, executive director of the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce, said the proposed change would add one more bus in the morning and evening, possibly an hour later than both times, alleviating problems of many people working a 9 to 5 job. The Mason Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Mason and the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability are some of the organizations looking to determine if adding routes would benefit both CATA and citizens who live or work in Mason. Julie Powers, executive director of the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council, says the grant of about $5,000 is being used to assess the need of more public transportation, as well as enable community members to get involved in the transportation planning process.
By Missy Sebring
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission asked members of nearby communities and professionals from across the country to put their heads together on ways to improve the Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue corridor with a charrette. A charrette is a planning and design session for problem solving. While these changes won’t happen overnight, they will give the planning commission direction on what the community wants for the future. Open houses and design sessions were held in Lansing and Okemos from Oct. 22-30.
By Tyler Clifford
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
Capital Area Transportation Authority bus route services will not operate Sunday in observance of Easter. “It allows our employees, particularly the drivers and the folks that would be in the dispatch center, to actually spend time with their families,” said a spokesperson in the by company’s marketing department. “We close only seven days out of the year and that is to celebrate the seven major holidays.”
The spokesperson said that those most will be those who use Route 1 on Sundays. This is CATA’s busiest and most consistent route throughout the week and weekends. “Typically, those who use our services to travel to and from Sunday church services as well as riders trying to get to Meridian Mall will be most affected by these changes,” the spokesperson said.
By Gabriela Saldivia
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
LANSING—The concept of the suggestion box is no more with the explosion of business’ and companies using social media pages. Capital Area Transportation Authority, also known as CATA, is one of these business that uses social media in it’s overall marketing strategy, transforming the way customers interact with their business. The ability to effectively communicate with customers is something CATA, greater Lansing’s primary public transportation provider, takes very seriously, according to Laurie Robison, the director of marketing and public information officer at CATA. In the past two years, she said that CATA has tried to connect with its riders through social media by establishing profiles on Facebook and Twitter where customers can like, follow and communicate with the company. Robison said the Twitter and Facebook accounts allow the public transportation company to “tell their story on their terms,”
“We are seeing a lot of feedback,” Robison said. “It’s also becoming a place where we can monitor conversations about CATA, that we might not have had access to before.”
With close to 800 followers on twitter currently, CATA utilizes a media monitoring program that can track, monitor and flag content and feedback from these posts.
by Marissa High
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Writer
INGHAM COUNTY — The Capital Area Transit Authority (CATA) is hosting its annual Community Health Fair this Thursday, April, 12. One of the sponsors of this event is Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. An elective class in the College of Osteopathic Medicine called Community Integrated Medicine (CIM) attends events such as CATA’s Community Health Fair to educate the community on health. “We’re stuck in class all day. It’s a way for us to interact with patients and do what we’re here to do,” said first year medical student Lucan Chatterley, who was recently elected e-board president of CIM.
By Mallory Londeck, Liz Magee and Marissa High (video)
Ingham County Chronicle staff writers
EAST LANSING — Poetry in Motion, a nationwide project that began in New York in 1992, made its Michigan debut Wednesday, Jan. 26, with a kickoff event in East Lansing. The event marked the collaboration of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities <a href="”>Center for Poetry at MSU with the Capital Area Transit Authority bus system, to display poetry on East Lansing’s public transit. “The goal of the project is to put art in our day and town landscapes, and to bring poetry into our lived experience,” said Stephanie Glazier, assistant director for the poetry center. Poetry in Motion features snippets of verses accompanied by student-made art and graphics, on the walls of some CATA buses.