GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Ron Quist spends most days driving the route that will soon become the main drag for The Rapid’s Silver Line.
“I own Discount Window Cleaning business and I’m up and down Division quite a bit,” he told 24 Hour News 8.
And like the people who’ve been pushing the four-wheel version of a light rail line, Quist said he’s optimistic that more people on the bus will mean fewer cars during his commute.
“I think it will work out pretty good for the city and the people who are flowing up and down here,” Quist said.
But whether that optimism becomes reality after the $39 million projects begins operation on Aug. 25 remains to be seen.
Every day, 16,000 vehicles travel on portions of Division Avenue. So it’s a sure bet cars will outnumber buses along the Silver Line’s route on its first day of operation.
So what should motorists expect along the route?
“You’re going to experience a little different travel down Division Avenue,” said Grand Rapids Traffic Safety Manager Chris Zull.
One of the first things drivers will notice is a second traffic lane along parts of the route. Those lanes are reserved for Rapid buses during rush hour.
Motorists will not be allowed to use those lanes from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. unless they’re making a right-hand turn.
“It is a violation of city ordinance so yes, you could be in trouble for doing so,” Zull said.
District court officials are still deciding how much the fine will cost violators.
To keep traffic flowing on the route, Silver Line buses will have the ability to keep a light green for a longer period of time.
Currently, the average wait at a light in Grand Rapids is between 30 seconds to just under one minute, depending on the time of day.
That average may inch towards that minute mark when buses are running behind schedule.
Many of the Silver Line’s 34 stations are located near intersections.
“So the number of cars that are stacked, waiting for the traffic signal and the number of signals that you have to wait through is going to be impacted,” Zull said.
The city is anticipating some slowdowns during the first few weeks after the Silver Line route launch, and Zull said the best advice he can give to motorists is to be patient.
“It isn’t going to be as it was,” he said. “It isn’t always going to be as free-flow. But it’s still going to be within reason.”
On the web: