Category Archives: Meetings

MARP meets at the Ypsi Freighthouse April 25, 2015

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, April 25, 2015
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Ypsilanti Depot Freighthouse
Depot Drive, Ypsilanti MI 48198

Photograph:  August 21, 2009   Ren Farley
Photograph: August 21, 2009 Ren Farley

Map & Directions

We hope you will plan to attend the April MARP meeting being held in Michigan Central’s 1878 Freighthouse, now the focal point of Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town. If it has been awhile since your last visit, you will be impressed with the work of the Friends group that recently completed a successful crowdfunding effort to continue their vision of creating a vibrant community meeting place.

Our featured speaker, Liz Treutel, is eager to help guide us through the implications for Michigan’s transportation system – including passenger trains —  of Proposal 1 on the May 5 ballot. As a policy associate at the Michigan Environmental Council, Liz is providing invaluable and enthusiastic leadership to the Michigan By Rail project which has undertaken a study to gage the feasibility of returning passenger train service to the Coast-to-Coast route  connecting Detroit-Lansing-Grand Rapids-Holland.

A native of Wisconsin, Liz has adopted Michigan as her new home among the Great Lakes. Armed with degrees in architectural studies and urban planning, as well as work experience with SMART, she is passionate about increasing accessibility and opportunity through transportation policy and linking transportation to sustainable land use, economic development and placemaking.

If you would like to connect with a carpool to the meeting, please  email marprail@yahoo.com.

MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS

Please note this correction to the March issue of ON TRACK:
The 10th Annual Michigan Earth Day Fest in Rochester takes place on April 24-26, not May 24-26.

YPSILANTI VISITOR INFORMATION

Washtenaw and Livingston Commuter Rail (WALLY) Feasibility Study community meeting scheduled March 30, 2015

The North-South Commuter Rail (WALLY) is a proposed 27-mile long commuter rail service that would connect Ann Arbor and Howell, with intermediate stops along the way. It is being evaluated as a way to improve mobility along US-23 and to promote economic development and job creation in the region.

A feasibility study is being undertaken by the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) to assess in detail the feasibility of the North-South Commuter Rail service. This federally-funded study will take about 15 months to complete and will consist of distinct phases and tasks that have been identified in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The results of this assessment, which includes in-depth public and stakeholder involvement, will be used to determine project costs, ridership, potential station locations, and the capacity and willingness of the affected communities to build, operate and help fund the project. If the project is found feasible, the study will help to prepare the project for future federal funding.

Two community meetings have already been held, one on March 12th at the Brighton Community Center and one on March 16th at the Ann Arbor District Library. A third meeting has been scheduled for:

Monday, March 30, 6:30-8:30 PM
Bennett Recreation Center
925 W. Grand River
Howell, MI

The intent of these meetings is to provide an update on the status of the North-South Commuter Rail (WALLY) project and an overview of the feasibility study. There will be a presentation at the beginning of the meeting followed by discussion to answer questions and obtain public input on the project and the process. The presentation and format will be the same for all three meetings.

In addition to the meetings, an interactive website has been established and your participation is encouraged (www.nsrailstudy.com). For additional information, please contact Michael Benham at AAATA at (734) 794-1851 or mbenham@theride.org.

MARP meets in Kalamazoo March 14, 2015

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, March 14, 2015
10:30 a.m. – 12:03 p.m.
First Methodist Church
212 South Park Street
Kalamazoo MI 49007

 Map & Directions

Snow may still be on the ground, but there will be plenty of green all around when MARP meets in Kalamazoo on St. Patrick’s Day. Our guest speaker will be Shasta Duffey who is the Vice-President for Sales and Marketing for Grand Elk Railroad. Grand Elk, a division of Watco, is based in Kalamazoo and carries freight on the former Grand Rapids & Indiana line between Elkhart and Grand Rapids. Ms. Duffey gave a well-received presentation at the Michigan Rail Conference last fall at Macomb Community College that was attended by several MARP members. She will bring us up to date on the operations and outlook for the short-line freight business in West Michigan. She may also be able to give us some information on an interesting venture involving Watco and Iowa Pacific Holdings in a proposal to begin scheduled passenger service on the “Sooner Sub” between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Some of you may choose to take the train to Kalamazoo. Amtrak has sweetened the pot with 20% savings on the Midwest Winter Warm-Up Sale. Click here to make your reservations.

          Westbound #351     9:35a          Eastbound #352   4:08p
Westbound #365   10:25a          Eastbound #364   7:12p

Please email marprail@yahoo.com if you plan to arrive by train. We will have cars at the station to take you to the church. If you are driving to the meeting and can be at the station to meet the Wolverine at 9:35a or the Blue Water at 10:25a, please reply to this email.

Note that the meeting will start a bit later than usual to accommodate those arriving by train. We will have lunch at the Old Dog Tavern, located next to track used by Grand Elk. Some of you will remember the outstanding Pasty’s served at the Old Dog, the venue of our previous meeting in Kalamazoo.

kzooumcThe First Methodist Church is on the west side of downtown Kalamazoo, one of the 5 churches that surround Bronson Park. First Methodist is the church across from the northwest corner of the Park. Photo & Directions are here.

Our new West Region Chair, Warren Fritz, is hoping for a good turnout of folks from this corner of the state. During or after lunch, he would like to gather you together to talk about some ideas for the region, one of which is planning for a possible visit of the Amtrak Exhibit Train to Grand Rapids in June.

Hoping for a big crowd!

MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS


There is much to do in downtown Kalamazoo. If you’ve got the winter blues, you might consider making a weekend of it. Below are some ideas.

Kalamazoo Visitor Information

Explore Downtown Kalamazoo
Events March 13-15 include The Pink Floyd Experience, Maple Sugar Fest, Young Vocalists Contest, Farmers Alley Theatre “Good Night Moon”, Gordon Lightfoot concert

Evidence Found: Explorations in Archaeology and exhibits showcasing Kalamazoo History

The Civic Theatre presents “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”

Gilmore Car Museum

Air Zoo

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts featuring an exhibit of Chinese Folk Pottery and the final 2 days of “Wired and Wrapped: Sculpture by Seungmo Park”

The RockShow Ultimate Journey Tribute This show at the recently refurbished Kalamazoo State Theatre will take you back to the days when Journey topped the charts.

MARP meets Nov. 15, 2014 in Port Huron

MARP MEMBER MEETING
Saturday, November 15, 2014
10 am – 12 pm
Port Huron Museum – Carnegie Center
1115 Sixth Street
Port Huron MI 48060
 
porthuronmuseumThe November 15 meeting will take place at the Port Huron Museum of Arts–Carnegie Center. Constructed in 1902, this former Carnegie Library building was saved from demolition by a dedicated group of volunteers and opened on May 3, 1968 as the Museum of Arts & History.
 
Port Huron, positioned where the St. Clair River flows out of Lake Huron, and just a hockey puck’s throw from Canada, has always been an important maritime and railroad center. T. J. Gaffney, well-known to many of us as a railroad historian, will share his extensive knowledge of how rail and maritime commerce shaped the area.
 
We will also hear from Paul Maxwell who is the director of the Port Huron Township Downtown Development Authority. Paul is very involved in the preliminary planning for a new Amtrak station in Port Huron. Amtrak’s Blue Water route sees many passengers from Canada and we hope to have a number of our Canadian friends with us for the meeting.
 
Following the usual no-host lunch at Lynch’s Irish Tavern, Mr. Maxwell has arranged for us to take a Trolley Car Tour of past, present, and future rail sites in the area. The trolley is heated, but you will want to dress for the weather, as we may be outside for parts of the tour.
 
You might want to think of making a weekend of it, especially if you reside in the western part of the state and seldom travel to the Blue Water shores. See the links below to help with planning.
 
Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers
 
 
Some Links to Help You Plan Your Visit
 
 
 
The Great Lakes Maritime Center (Vantage Point) offers an excellent place to view passing freighters and tale advantage of a variety of opportunities to learn about Great Lakes history and current events on the Lakes. Winter hours daily 8am – 6 pm.
 
 
Thomas Edison Depot Museum is closed for the season, but you can walk around the grounds and peek in the windows.

MARP meets Oct. 18, 2014 in Grand Rapids

MARP MEMBER MEETING
Saturday, October 18, 2014
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Rapid Central Station
Grand Rapids Transportation Center
250 Grandville Ave SW
Grand Rapids MI 49503
Map & Directions

Drivers prepare get on a new Silver Line bus during a training exercise in Grand Rapids Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)
Drivers prepare get on a new Silver Line bus during a training exercise in Grand Rapids Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

MARP’s October 18, 2014 meeting will be in the Conference Room on the 2nd floor of the Grand Rapids Transportation Center, beginning at 10 a.m.

Opened on June 14, 2004, the Transportation Center was the first LEED-certified transit facility in the country. Built with a number of green features and strategies, Rapid Central Station combines cutting-edge technology with solid design to provide a passenger facility that is both functionally sound and environmentally responsible. When MARP last met at Rapid Central Station, our guest speaker was Seth Horton, a member of the architectural firm Progressive AE that designed Rapid Central Station and was also part of the design team for the new Grand Rapids Amtrak Station We will have an opportunity to get a close look at the new station which is located just south of the transit facility and slated to open later this month.

The other exciting development in Grand Rapids is the opening of The Silver Line, a 9.6 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line that connects downtown with the southern suburbs. The Silver Line began boarding passengers on August 25. Supporters hope that the line will replicate the success of Cleveland’s bus rapid transit system, which has stimulated about $6 million in development since 2008. We have invited a speaker to provide us with details on the BRT operation and plans for expansion.

You might want to plan to catch The Silver Line at some point on its route from the Park-and-Ride at 54th St SE, northward along Division Street to the Rapid Central Station. Be sure to take note of the Rapid’s newest feature, The Living Wall before you enter the building.

Following the meeting, we will enjoy lunch (no host) across the street at Founders Brewing, one of several venues that are part of the transformation of downtown Grand Rapids into a thriving destination spot.

Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers

 

Some Links to Help You Plan Your Visit

Experience Grand Rapids

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum

Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society