• The silver- and green-branded Silver Line buses connect downtown Grand Rapids and the city's Medical Mile with nearby Wyoming and Kentwood.

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Riding the Momentum in Grand Rapids

The Silver Line's first-class busing means superior travel for commuters

Grand Rapids’ Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid) conducted a study in 2003 to identify population- and employment-dense corridors with significant growth potential that would benefit from public transit investment. More than a decade later, Michigan’s second largest city boasts the state’s first-ever bus rapid transit (BRT) line.

Silver Line routeSee the Silver Line's route

Beginning in 2010, CDM Smith partnered with The Rapid to provide final design services and construction assistance for the $40 million, 9.6-mile Silver Line. The route connects downtown Grand Rapids, the city’s Medical Mile and top employers like Spectrum Health and Grand Rapids Community College with two other municipalities, Wyoming and Kentwood, as it moves south on Division Avenue toward 60th Street. Because the line crosses through all three municipalities, consensus between them was paramount to making decisions, such as agreement on uniformity of bus stations. CDM Smith helped coordinate monthly technical advisory committee meetings with representatives from each community and also sought feedback from property owners near the project so that all needs and viewpoints were considered.

The team’s collaboration was successful, and the Silver Line began service in August 2014. In addition to including the essential elements of a BRT service, the Silver Line’s high-quality, stainless steel stations feature real-time lighting via each shelter’s rooftop columns. When the silver- and green-branded buses are roughly a minute out from the station, the column’s lights turn from white to green. The stations also feature snowmelt systems underneath the platforms to combat Michigan’s snowy winters and keep riders safe while they wait.

The Silver Line brings a first-class transit option to the people of Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas, making commuting easier and more efficient. It also has raised optimism that economic growth will continue to spread along its route, in part, because of it.

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The Rapid