Construction on Michigan Avenue slows CATA routes for students

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student standing near bus stop

Danielle James

An MSU student waits in the rain for the next bus.

East Lansing — Recent construction has made it harder for the Capital Area Transportation Authority, Ingham County’s primary bus system, to provide services.

According to the City of East Lansing, the recent construction is part of a major project, called Infrastructure Restructure, that plans to improve underground sewers near Michigan Avenue. 

CATA Public Information Officer Lolo Robison knows firsthand of the challenges faced in attempting to provide transportation through construction. 

“Since construction along Michigan Avenue commenced in May, CATA’s routes have been impacted,” said Robison, “which is to be expected for a project of this scope,”  

Due to roadwork along Michigan Avenue, several routes have been detoured. According to Robison, at different times throughout construction there have been detours on routes 1, 15, 20, 25, 31, 34 and 48. 

Starting Oct. 4, Routes 20 and 34 were being rerouted away from Grand River. Route 1 is on a westbound-only detour as well. 

In addition to routes across Lansing, construction on Michigan Avenue has affected on-campus  busing. 

Just last year, Michigan State partnered with CATA to offer free rides to students. Since the introduction of free on-campus busing, CATA has become very popular among MSU undergrads. In a student-ran poll, out of 30 students interviewed, 20 of them regularly use the bus system.

student poll

Danielle James

Thirty MSU undergraduates were asked about their use of the CATA bus system. Of those, 20 students said that they regularly use the CATA system.

Recently, Grand River construction has deterred students from using CATA. Out of the 30 students polled who regularly use the bus system, 35% say their routes are sometimes affected by the roadwork.  

Student poll about CATA bus routes

Danielle James

Out of the 20 students who said they use the CATA bus system regularly, six said construction has affected the speed of their rides.

Although most MSU routes are strictly on-campus, the 31 and the 1 both travel down Grand River. Donny Dumoulin, a junior at Michigan State, says construction has made his commute to campus significantly slower. 

“Since construction started, Route 31 has taken twice as long,” said Dumoulin. “I live off campus on Michigan Avenue, and traffic is so backed up that there are always cars in front of my house.

In addition to this slowing of route 31, several stops along the route have had to be closed due to construction. Robison mentions a 31 stop, as well as several others that have been impacted in the past few months. 

“Bus stop closures pose the greatest challenge for our customers,” said Robison. “The stop at Eastbound Michigan past Brody Road, for example, which is highly utilized, has been impacted for the duration of the project and continues to be closed due to lane restrictions.” 

However, Robison emphasized that CATA is working with construction crews to take steps and alleviate the pressure on commuters.

“For all roadway closures, work occurs on weekends,” said Robison, “mitigating the impact to the majority of CATA’s customers, who primarily rely on weekday service.”

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