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GGRBC Supports Transit Millage on May 3rd

{image_1}The board of the GGRBC voted in April to officially lend our support to the millage proposal for The Rapid and ITP on May 3rd.  We wanted to share with you the letter to the editor that explains why we support this important measure to improve transit access in Grand Rapids and make it easier for people to walk and bike to their destinations.

Letter to the Editor and the Citizens of the Greater Grand Rapids Area

On behalf of the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition (GGRBC), representing thousands of bicyclists in the Grand Rapids area, I write in support of the May 3 Rapid Transit millage.

The GGRBC’s mission is to promote the benefits of bicycling for health, recreation, the environment and transportation. We work through advocacy and education to create a more bicycle-friendly community. The ability of people to use a combination of walking, bicycling and transit is an essential component in the sustainable growth of Grand Rapids. Therefore, we strongly support passage of the May 3 millage.

We firmly believe that cyclists have the same right to fair and equitable treatment by the government as other road users and that extends to road and bicycle facilities development, construction, and funding sources. Bicycling remains an underutilized mode of personal transportation – even though statistics show that people want to ride their bikes more.

Several factors contribute to the decision not to travel by bicycle. Among these is the inaccessibility of desired destinations caused by unsafe or restricted facilities. Mass transit allows bicyclists to access all destinations through a combination of bus travel and bicycling. According to the League of American Bicyclists, a national bicycle organization that also supports national investments in mass transit, from 2000-2008 there was a 69% increase in the number of bicycle commuters in League-designated Bicycle Friendly Communities, of which Grand Rapids is a Bronze level designee.

Certainly, bicycling and public transportation complement each other well; bicycle parking at transit stops, bike racks on buses and bike-on-bus programs are important incentives for use of both modes. Bicycling has been shown to promote the use of mass transit when safe and adequate access to facilities is provided. Expanding the eligibility of such projects around transit stops and stations will exponentially increase transit usage by bicyclists.

Further, as the increase in transit ridership continues in Grand Rapids, a key issue will be “how” people get to transit services rather than just “how many” ride our bus systems. Increasing the number of people who access stations and stops by walking and bicycling has profound implications for health, climate, energy and congestion issues – and enables a much higher and productive use of land around transit systems. The GGRBC has worked closely with the City of Grand Rapids and officials in the Rapid system to design future improvements and access to stations and stops.

We ask the all the citizens of the Greater Grand Rapids area to join us in voting Yes on May 3.

James Kevin McCurren
Chair, Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition



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