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Record heat causes two Clean Air Action Days; Arizona smoke reaches West Michigan

June 8, 2011

Boy, it is so hot!

How hot is it?

It’s so hot, two Clean Air Action Days have been declared for West Michigan this week. Grand Rapids hit 94 yesterday, a record for June 7. Monday saw 276 cities hit record highs.

Air quality is measured as either good; moderate; unhealthy for sensitive groups; unhealthy; very unhealthy; or hazardous. Hotter weather begets unhealthier air, and unhealthier air begets health problems down the road. When air quality becomes ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups,’ a Clean Air Action Day is issued.

What kind of clean air action can you take on a Clean Air Action Day?

  • Don’t drive or refuel unless you need to.
  • Take The Rapid if you need to go somewhere. Rides on the Rapid are FREE on Clean Air Action Days!
  • If you must refuel, do so after 6:00.
  • Don’t mow the lawn – it can probably wait a day or two.
  • Don’t grill – you can barbecue those burgers another day.

Also, when it gets hot outside, don’t forget to drink PLENTY of water if you must be outside. Check on your neighbors to make sure they’re doing okay. Don’t work outside unless you absolutely must. A few people have already died in different parts of the country due to the extreme heat, so let’s all take care of ourselves and each other!

Speaking of extreme weather, check out this image. The shaded portions represent smoke from those fires in Arizona and elsewhere. (Image courtesy


Rapid ranks #32 in public transit systems; millage will make it even stronger

May 13, 2011

The Rapid transit system has been named the 32nd best public transit system in the United States – a ranking which should only improve with the recent passage of the Rapid millage renewal and increase.

According to The Grand Rapids Press, 47% of all available jobs in Greater Grand Rapids are reachable through The Rapid, compared to just 30% of jobs in metro areas nationwide. The Rapid also outperforms other transit systems in that 41.5% of suburban riders can reach their jobs through public transit, versus just 21.5% of suburbanites nationwide.

The study also showed plenty of room for improvement for The Rapid – improvement which will be made possible by recent passage of the Rapid millage in The Rapid’s six-city coverage area.

Under Phase I of the Rapid Transit Master Plan – which will be implemented thanks to the millage’s passage – service will become more frequent, buses will run late into the night, and we’ll be able to get around town later on Saturday evenings.

Currently, Rapid passengers wait an average of 9 minutes, 6 seconds at a bus stop, which already beats the national average. Soon, however, all Rapid routes will run on a 30-minute schedule until at least 7:15 PM (and in most cases, until 11:15 PM).  In addition, six more routes – covering Leonard, Fulton, Wealthy, and 28th streets, among others – will run on 15-minute schedules.

Then there is the Bus Rapid Transit line (a.k.a. Silver Line), which will make it much easier for those of us living on the south side of Greater Grand Rapids to get downtown.

The Rapid has provided us with a visual interpretation of the improvements that will be made under Phase I of the Master Plan.

Already one of the most efficient transit systems in the country, the Brookings study reaffirms that The Rapid is also very effective at getting people where they need to go. With the recent millage renewal and increase, The Rapid will be even better able to meet these needs.

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May 11, 2011

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