Where the tracks are.
By Matthew Varcak
Michigan is seemingly divided into two unequal sections, and that doesn’t just mean the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. When it comes to passenger rail service, the bottom half of the Lower Peninsula is serviced by three major corridors, while the rest of the state has none.
But plans are in the works for passenger rail service to reach one northern tourist destination – Traverse City.
While navigating the southern part of the state is fairly simple with the available trains, buses and taxis, the northern half is virtually inaccessible without a personal vehicle or plane. There are few alternatives besides a once-daily bus which departs from Kalamazoo heading north and includes several stops (namely Traverse City) before ending in Sault Ste. Marie, located on the Canadian border.
The lack of passenger rail to the northern half of Michigan will soon change, as the state looks to expand its light rail service.
“We could possibly have a passenger rail to Traverse City under way in the next five to six years,” said Nick Schirripa, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation. “It may happen sooner.” Continue reading →
By Micheline Maynard
The United States has seen an explosion of interest in bike sharing. The nation’s bike sharing fleet doubled last year, will double again this year and is expected to be four times bigger in 2015 than it was in 2012, according to the Earth Policy Institute.
Lansing, Michigan is embracing bike sharing.
But as bike sharing expands, communities are trying some different approaches. In some places, local governments are taking the lead. In others, universities are involved. And a few private corporations are funding bike sharing meant just for their employees.
I recently took a look at the growing interest in bike sharing in Michigan for Bridge Magazine. Now, bikes are probably not what you think of first when you think of a state so tied to the auto industry. But as with the rest of the country, bike sharing is increasingly a topic of conversation.
One of the most intriguing ideas I discovered is in Lansing, Mich., the state capitol. It’s definitely a grass roots movement, with some help from Ingham County officials.
In October, the area launched what is officially the state’s first municipally sponsored bike sharing system, Capital Community Bike Share. Continue reading →