Woman in DeWitt Township arrested for alleged drugged driving

By Cydni Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

DEWITT — Driving under the influence doesn’t simply mean drunk driving. Prescription drugs can also impair a driver, something a 27-year-old woman allegedly learned the hard way earlier this month. The woman was arrested by DeWitt Township police for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs after an alleged hit-and-run with a mailbox on March 5, police officials said. Driving under the influence doesn’t only deal with illegal drugs and alcohol, it includes any mood or mind-altering substance, says Diana Julian, substance abuse/program manager and counselor at McAlister Institute. Julian says being aware that driving under the influence involves prescription drug abuse is very important.

Despite $1.2 billion state road fund, don’t expect better Lansing streets this year

By Alexander Smith
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s signing of a $1.2 billion road funding package in 2015 is good news for Michigan’s roads. Most notably, the package will raise the fuel tax and the cost of vehicle registration to put toward road repair. For Lansing’s streets, those repairs are long overdue. “They’re okay, they could use some improvement though,” said Preston Nowsch, 22. “I know every day coming down Grand River, I have to be in a particular lane to miss out on a pothole.”

Lansing adopted the Pavement Surface Evaluation & Rating System in 2002 to grade local roads.

Waiting for a bus at Old Town? Don't expect your wait to get shorter anytime soon

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town Lansing is not slated to see public bus service become more frequent in the near future. That’s bad news for Old Town bus riders. Currently, during evening and weekend hours CATA will only pass through the Old Town area roughly every 45 minutes. This does not include the time it takes to get to the downtown Lansing CATA bus station where one must connect to the specific bus that will take him or her to Old Town. One must connect again when leaving Old Town to get on the right bus that will take them home.

Lansing Street in St. Johns soon to see repairs

By Kenedi Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — The city of St. Johns is beginning a project to redo Lansing Street to make it more traveler-friendly, officials said. According to Dave Kudwa, Community Development Director of St. Johns, this is roughly a $575,000 project due to start somewhere around the end of March.

Road agencies see savings if winter proves mild

By MICHAEL KRANSZ
Capital News Service
LANSING — With predictions of a mild winter ahead, some county road commissions anticipate that savings on fuel and road salt will funnel into spring road projects such as pothole repair. According to National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration predictions for December through February, Michigan’s winter has a greater than 50 percent chance of above-average temperatures and a 40 percent chance to be less snowy than average. In the meantime, a delayed start to colder temperatures and snowfall is giving the commissions a chance to “catch their breath” from the workloads of past winters and catch up on road maintenance, said Dirk Heckman, the manager and engineer at the Mackinac County Road Commission. Projects include brush removal, drainage ditch clearing and rebuilding road shoulders, Heckman said. “We had not been able to do this in the previous fall and early winter months,” Heckman said.

More schools move to private bus services

By MICHAEL KRANSZ
Capital News Service
LANSING — The number of Michigan school districts contracting out at least a part of their transportation services increased 150 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to a think tank survey. The survey by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland recorded 78 school districts opting for some privatized transportation services during that time, in addition to 53 already contracting out. There are about 540 districts in the state, according to the Department of Education. And while some districts are contracting out only a portion of the service, such as employment, most are privatizing their whole bus operation, said James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the center. Michigan School Business Officials Associate Executive Director Scott Little said the switch to privatized transportation services took off shortly after the Great Recession began in late 2007, largely as an effort to recoup money lost from declining student populations and state funding.

Special lane designations would increase mass transit efficiency

By STEPHANIE HERNANDEZ McGAVIN
Capital News Service
LANSING — A new bill to allow local transit agencies to construct Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes on state highways would make mass transit more efficient, advocates say. The bill would qualify any highway marked as a M-, U.S.- or I- route for BRT lanes. Rep. Sam Singh, an East Lansing Democrat who introduced the bill, said the BRT concept is relatively new to the state and the proposal would help designate the personal bus lane required for rapid transit and allow the state to work with local agencies in creating such lanes. “We need to make sure we have some vibrant public transit in all of our metropolitan areas,” Singh said. As a former member of the Lansing Capital Area Transportation Authority board of directors, Singh said he has a first-hand perspective on public transit as an economic development tool in mid-Michigan.

State will test more high-speed rails

By YUEHAN LIU
Capital News Service
LANSING—Part of the Michigan passenger rail service goes 110 miles an hour, but not all of it. Next year the state will test additional tracks to support that speed along the Amtrak route between Detroit and Chicago. “We have three Amtrak trains that run from Michigan to Chicago and the rider shift numbers are continuing to go up,” Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), said. “And we are improving the rail line. So 110 is our goal to enhance the speed and cut down the time between Detroit and Chicago.

Bicycles growing in popularity, says Old Town bike shop owner

By Zachary Swiecicki
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

While traveling along Grand River Avenue in Old Town Lansing, you can see CATA buses, cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, or pedestrians walking around. Chad Cottom, owner of SPIN Bicycle Shop, has seen the change in transportation in the eight years his store has been open.  Cottom is passionate about bikes and is committed to providing his bikes to the residents of Old Town. “I would say cycling has become a little more popular,” Cottom said.  “I would hope to say that we’ve helped a little bit to adding to that by having a bicycle shop in Old Town.”

Arrival of Uber means fewer cabs, cab drivers

By AMELIA HAVANEC
Capital News Service
LANSING – Uber may be a household name, but the entrepreneurial ridesharing company reached Michigan only two years ago, tacking Detroit and Ann Arbor onto its momentum for global popularity. Since then, the service has expanded to Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint and Kalamazoo. Meanwhile, many taxi companies, including ones in Michigan, have struggled to keep up with the technology and new business model Uber offers. And they face setbacks. In Grand Rapids, for example, the number of taxi drivers with active licenses is down 22 percent since last year, according to the city clerk’s office.