September 22, 2014 -Last week, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) took another step forward when they approved the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the Woodward Corridor. What does this mean? Well, it means that the RTA approved the work that has been done by a team of 11 communities in the Woodward corridor from Pontiac to Detroit, led by SEMCOG and the consultant team of Parsons Brinkerhoff. It means that they agreed with the narrowing-down process used to analyze many different alternatives till there was just a main alternative with only a couple of potential deviations to further study.
The LPA has bus rapid transit (BRT) operating in the median of Woodward for the greatest majority of the 27 miles from Pontiac to Detroit. It switches to Cass once the BRT goes south of West Grand Boulevard by the Amtrak train station and stays on Cass to the Rosa Parks Transit Station. Going north, the BRT will use John R. before going back on Woodward north of West Grand Blvd.
The approval by the RTA means that the environmental study can now begin to further refine the analysis. This work is estimated to take about 12 months. This process will enable us to further understand the project, so that the Woodward BRT can be part of a plan the RTA asks voters to support in a referendum in November, 2016.
It is not easy to plan for a project that goes through 11 communities, but we did it. This project has been a success to this point because of the hard work done by the communities along the way. They attended many meetings throughout the past two years, not only with our consultant team, but with their elected and business leaders, getting input and helping to explain and sell the project. We were supported by a consultant team that did whatever was needed to get the job done. Want to go to Cleveland to see BRT in action? No problem, we can do that. And we did! Thank you for your leadership and hard work. Finally, I want to thank the RTA Board, who approved the work to-date, even though much of the work was done before they were even formed.
This is another step in moving transit forward. In the coming months you will see similar studies starting in the Gratiot and Michigan corridors and a Transit Master Plan developed in preparation for the November 2016 referendum. Lots of work to be done…and little time, but here we go – one step at a time!
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