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Laker Line receives federal funding, will offer more efficient travel between campuses

  • The new bus rapid transit (BRT) line will replace the current Route 50 connecting the Allendale Campus with the Pew Grand Rapids Campus and the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences on the Medical Mile.

Posted on February 09, 2018

Grand Valley State University students and bus riders traveling between Allendale and Grand Rapids will have enhanced transportation options now that the Laker Line initiative has received federal funding.

The new bus rapid transit (BRT) line will replace the current Route 50 connecting the Allendale Campus with the Pew Grand Rapids Campus and the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences on the Medical Mile. 

The Laker Line will run 16 larger, articulated buses that have seats for 60 passengers and can carry up to 80 to 90 people. These buses have dual boarding with wider doors for quicker boarding.

Funding will be used to build stations that look more like light rail stations with seats, shelters, snowmelt and raised platforms so riders don't have to step up to get on the bus. Enhancements also include traffic signal priority technology that will allow buses to flow through traffic more efficiently.

"Funding for the Laker Line is great news for our students and the nearly 8,000 riders who travel between our campuses every day," said D. Scott Richardson, vice president for Finance and Administration at Grand Valley. "The Laker Line is the type of transit option that helps retain and attract talent to the West Michigan region."

The federal grant will pay for nearly 80 percent of the $70 million project. The remaining cost will be covered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Grand Valley will pay for operation of the Laker Line as a part of its existing 10-year contract with The Rapid that began in July 2013.

"West Michigan has become known as a hub for innovation, research and opportunity," said U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland. "The Laker Line will help our community take the next step by providing Grand Valley students with a greater ability to gain hands-on experience in the growing educational, medical and business fields available in downtown Grand Rapids. I believe the Laker Line will help connect students and West Michigan residents with greater opportunity, strengthen our workforce, and move our economy forward."

Construction on the Laker Line could begin as early as this spring, with completion in spring 2020.

The Laker Line will have 14 stops:

• Kirkhof Center

• Mackinac Hall

• Ferndale and Lake Michigan Drive

• Cummings and Lake Michigan Drive

• Standale Trail and Lake Michigan Drive

• Maynard and Lake Michigan Drive

• Covell and Lake Michigan Drive

• Fulton and Garfield

• Fulton and Straight

• Pew Grand Rapids Campus

• Monroe and Louis (Silver Line stop)

• Monroe and DeVos Place (Silver Line stop)

• Michigan and Bostwick (Silver Line stop)

• Michigan and Lafayette 

Grand Valley accounts for more than two-and-a-half million annual rides on The Rapid bus system and offers a variety of alternative transportation services including car sharing, bike rentals, ride sharing, commuter parking and transit services.