Grand Rapids — Streetcar Plans Revived
The MLive site reports that streetcar advocates are resurrecting the six year old study so that funding to build a line can be pursued this year. The Rapid public-transit system is paying consulting firm HDR Inc. $293,895 to refine the 2008 study, updating cost estimates and potential sources of funding.
Former Grand Rapids Mayor John Logie is chairing an advisory committee that has begun meeting, and cited the recovering economy as providing a much more favorable environment to consider the plan than the 2008 period. He also believes that rails in the street will show developers that government is making a permanent commitment to serving the area, thus encouraging development.
The study called for a $79 million, 3-mile route mostly along Monroe Avenue between Rapid Central Station and the Sixth Street Bridge. This route will be studied again to see if it is still the ideal routing.
Logie also cited young professionals who want to live downtown and not own cars as a key demographic the streetcar would help attract.
Rapid CEO Peter Varga said in a WGVU interview: “Our purpose is to create something new and exciting in the downtown, something that’s going to make it more walkable and livable, and hopefully attract enough private interest in it so we can do a really good public-private partnership on the project."