Pro-Bike Pilot Project Makes Life Harder for Bus Riders

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Thursday, August 15, 2019, 7:30 am
Mark Meyer

Photos by Raymond Holt.

Last week, the City of East Lansing and MSU jointly held a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring the mayor and MSU's new president to celebrate the opening of a new protected bike track on Bogue Street. The pilot project converted one car lane to two bike lanes with a divider between the bikes and cars, as shown above.

After ELi reported on the pilot project, we were contacted by Russ Porter, a CATA rider who said the protected bike lane effectively eliminated two stops on the Southbound 23 Route, requiring riders to walk up a lot farther in order to reach their destinations.

ELi contacted CATA’s Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, Laurie Robinson, and submitted the following questions (in bold) via email. Robinson’s replies follow.

Did the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) know about the Protected Bike Lane pilot project on Bogue Street, and how many bus stops would be affected?

“CATA was made aware of a bike lane pilot project by Michigan State University July 24, however, we were not then, nor have we since been involved in discussions related to the project or its impact on our service, including the number of bus stops that would be affected.” [Note: The project was presented to East Lansing's City Council on July 16, which means CATA was contacted only after the project plans were considered complete by the designers.]

How did CATA communicate this information to regular riders of that particular route?

“Two routes were impacted: Routes 20 and 23. At the time we were made aware of the pilot project, we understood that it would go into effect Aug. 12. We awaited details in order to inform customers of what to expect.

“On Aug. 8, a CATA operator reported that striping for the project on Bogue was already underway, and that the bus lane had been coned off, precluding our ability to service that portion of our routes and bus stops. We immediately conducted a site visit and took photos so that we could assess the project’s impact on our service. Due to the presence of critical safety concerns, CATA immediately posted disclosures on impacted bus stops along Bogue, indicating which stops would be removed, effective Aug. 9. We disclosed at impacted bus stops along Grand River Avenue that Routes 20 and 23 would be detoured, effective Aug. 12.

“A Rider Alert was issued to Route 20 and 23 subscribers via email and SMS detailing the detours. CATA does not have a Rider Alert for bus stop removals, which occur quite frequently system wide based on various municipal projects. We do our best to post signage at bus stops to let riders know when we are not servicing a stop, but rely heavily on notification from our municipal and other partners.”

A rider mentioned to us that it is now a mile between stops on that particular section of the route.

“We received an email via our general email account from a Mr. Russ Porter. We would recommend that he ride the Route 1 to the new Target store on Grand River Avenue, and cross the street to the Student Union bus stop on West Circle Drive, and catch the Route 33, which will take him directly to Ramp 1, adjacent to Eppley Center - shouldn't take him more than 15 minutes, depending on traffic and timing.”

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