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Transportation group seeking public’s help in improving airport accessibility

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 19:00:19-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — How has it been driving to Gerald R. Ford International Airport lately? Have you encountered any traffic on the way to the airport? These are the questions that the Grand Valley Metropolitan Councilis asking in a new survey that’s open to the public.

“We are looking at improving access to the airport, including options for secondary access to the airport terminal for both passenger and freight traffic,” said Laurel Joseph during an interview with FOX 17 on Tuesday. “Also, just ways to improve the transportation network in the surrounding areas. While there’s been so much growth that’s happened there, and that’s expected to continue to happen, we need to look at how we can improve things now.”

Joseph is the director of transportation planning with the council. She said they’re doing the survey because there’s been a lot of growth in the area from an aviation school located at the airport to businesses and residential developments popping up in the area.

“We’re in phase one of the study,” Joseph said. “We are looking at current needs, current conditions, issues that people are having. So, we want people to take our survey so they can give us feedback other experience accessing the airport.”

Joseph said the area has been studied before and it’s led to the construction of the 36th Street exit. That may not happen this time, however; once the council gathers the public’s input, they’ll look at it and consider alternative roadway connections.

“We got the 36th interchange but how do we now make those other local connections and use the network that we have and improve efficiency, looking at multi-modal connections?” Joseph said. “Not only looking at road improvements but also transit and non-motorized and other modes that we haven’t looked at in the past, whether that’s shuttles or micro-mobility or share rides.”

Joseph said one area they’re investigating is Patterson Avenue and 28th Street. The intersection always seems to be a bottleneck for travelers trying to get to the airport.

She hopes the public will share their experiences about that intersection and other challenges they face in an airport accessibility survey.

The whole goal, she said, is to improve efficiency and safety.

“Feedback like this is important because we can look at data all day long,” Joseph said. “We can look at traffic counts and other traffic-flow data, but without knowing people personal experience to access the airport we are not going to have the full picture of what we need to look at to make improvements in the future.”

***To take the survey: click here***

***The Council is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. at Rapid Central Station (250 Grandville Ave. SW)***

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