The Rapidian

[HISTORY DETECTIVES] Historical transit decision comes full circle with May 3 millage

A sixth-generation Grand Rapidian reviews the history of GR's coveted railway system and how it comes full circle this month on May 3.
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About the History Detectives

Fred Quillin and Michael Tuffelmire make up the Grand Rapids Historical Detectives. The GRHD strives to advance the city of today by studying the city of yesterday.

A portion of the vintage footage featured in the video is from a film made in the 1920s. That promotional film was made by the Grand Rapids Railway Company, the private corporation that controlled the transit in the city. In the beginning of the silent film, there is an introductory passage

The Grand Rapids Railway Company proves its faith in Grand Rapids by investing in new Electric Rail Coaches, giving Grand Rapids World leadership in ultra modern street railway equipment.

The prominent families and city planners knew that a robust transit system would ensure the future prosperity of the city. Grand Rapids had a transit system in place as early as 1865 and it had culminated into a system that rivaled those of major cities. In 1927, the Grand Rapids City Planning department started a plan that envisioned a city with both auto and rail traffic serving 300,000 citizens by 1975. Sadly, this vision of transit came to an end less than five years after the railway company's film was made.

With the May 3 millage coming up, we are once again faced with a historical decision: Are we going to invest in our transit and start advancing our system to what the original citizens of this city envisioned?

Disclosure: Michael Tuffelmire, who helped produce this video, is a member of the Friends of Transit

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Comments

It's great to see this after viewing some ridiculous opposing youtube videos.  Definitely voting and taking advantage of the awesome transit we have here!  

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