Community raises concerns over Bus Rapid Transit project

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s a plan that would change the way the bus system works in Meridian Township. The Capital Area Transportation Authority’s Bus Rapid Transit project, also known as the BRT, has been a polarizing subject since it was first introduced in 2007.

Depending on who you ask, the BRT proposal can be a grand plan to raise the capital area to new heights or it can be a grand nightmare shutting down businesses that are in its path.

Tonight, CATA really felt the heat at the township board meeting in Meridian Township. From concerns about traffic build-up, to store owners potentially losing business…the community was in an uproar tonight over the BRT project and CATA soaked it all in.

“I urge this board not to pass this.”

“I’m very much in support of this.”

“I oppose the plan and I do hope the board will take action.”

Back and forth opinions on whether or not the Bus Rapid Transit project will benefit the community went on all night.

“We like to hear the input, we’d like to sit down with the community and actually hear the specific issues that they have and allow us to try and address those issues,” CATA Assistant Executive Director Debbie Alexander said.

She says that without the BRT, it would further issues on the road.

“We definitely have a problem, we have a lot of demand for transit that we can’t meet, we need to expand service and if we do that we’ll be adding buses…adding buses makes traffic run worse not better,” Alexander stated.

But to others like Judge William Collette, the BRT project doesn’t seem worth the time or money.

“Putting in a hundred and something million dollar bus system just because the federal government will give it to you, doesn’t seem to me to be really worth the effort,” Collette said.

People who live in the community agree. Many weighed in tonight saying if this project moves forward, it would add more traffic and hurt businesses.

“This is a buzz kill for business, it hurts the neighborhoods, people will divert traffic just like the Costco issue…this is not good for Meridian Township,” one local resident stressed.

CATA officials say just the opposite. Many believe this project will provide faster and easier transportation for the community.

“The BRT is an example of CATA working to improve the overall transportation network,” CATA CEO Sandy Draggoo said.

This project is still in its early planning stages with only 30% of it designed. CATA says it will continue to work with the community to come to a consensus on moving plans forward.

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