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    Feb 19, 2008

    Metropolitanization of transit brewing?

    Think about a commute between the city and lake shore. May be it's a day at the beach, work or night out downtown. Now the big shocker, you arrived there without your car. The region may be set for a metropolitanization of transit if local leaders continue an unprecedented amount of cooperation and discussion.

    Recent articles and editorials coming from the lake shore report greater support among mayors, business leaders and citizens. This goes so far as officials requesting Ottawa County spend $110,000 to study the issue further. Metropolitan mayors are even collaborating on a plan to connect the region with pushes from local manufacturing companies. This sends a message that mobility and transit connectivity in Western Michigan is a matter of necessity. What was once a city issue has become a topic of regional discussion. That message is coming from an unlikely place -- the lake shore. It probably shouldn't be a surprise as the Holland area is seeing higher ridership counts in its MAX system.

    While there is greater support coalescing on connecting the major urban centers and Grand Rapids, what type of system isn't clear. However, a few words from a couple of mayors have made mention of a system that must be affordable. If transit links become reality, speculation says buses may be making the 30-35 mile trek. The exact type of mode probably won't come under study until other needs studies are conducted. What is clear, a future expanded transit system may include targeted corridors linking the city of Grand Rapids with the lake shore.


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