The City of GR purchases 35 bus shelters to support mobility and accessibility

Earlier this month, the Grand Rapids City Commission approved the purchase of 35 bus shelters, which will be situated at transit stops along The Rapid’s routes. Specifically, $250,000 will be transferred from the City’s Mobile GR department to the Interurban Transit Partnership “The Rapid,” which will use the funding to purchase the infrastructure with Tolar Manufacturing.

The purchase aligns with the city’s Strategic Plan, which identifies mobility as one if its priorities. The plan defines mobility as “innovative, efficient and equitable mobility solutions are safe, affordable and convenient to the community.” The additional bus shelters will help meet one of the objectives for mobility which is to “create an accessible multi-modal transportation experience and reduce single-occupant vehicle travel.”

In a press release, Justin Kimura assistant director for Mobile GR, explained how the consistent infrastructure will increase user familiarity and encourage ridership not just across the city, but specifically in historically underserved communities.

“We partner with The Rapid to make sure we're providing a clean, accessible and equitable transit system throughout Grand Rapids,” Kimura says. “So, the shelters are one way we can do that—to provide people with a clean and dignified experience, where they're not having to wait in the rain or wait in the elements.”

“It’s ironic, the day I briefed this to City Commission, it was raining pretty good that day, so it was a perfect example of why we need the shelters.”

The shelters, some of which will be equipped with solar-powered lighting, will be placed only within city limits, particularly 13 in the First Ward, seven in the Second Ward and 15 in the Third Ward. The selection was driven largely by ridership metrics, in addition to design and engineering issues. The goal is to have all of the shelters installed by Oct. 2022.

“This purchase with The Rapid is really just the current step,” Kimura says. “As we continue this relationship with The Rapid, we’ll continue to look for more opportunities to place shelters, but this is really just the first of what I hope will be several purchases.”