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The need for smart transit-oriented development accelerates

The need for smart transit-oriented development accelerates

by Deborah Johnson Wood
This story originally appeared in Rapid Growth

My Town: Grand Rapids among 2014 America's Most Affordable Cities

My Town: Grand Rapids among 2014 America's Most Affordable Cities

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is adding another honor to its list of titles.

The city has made it onto Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Most Affordable Cities for 2014.  Grand Rapids ranked seventh on the list, based on population (774,160 people), the Housing Opportunity Index ( 85.1) , which measures housing affordability, and a cost-of-living index (97.6), which factors in food, utilities, gas, transportation, medical expenses and other daily costs. Cities with an index number below 100 are below the national cost-of-living average.

Buffalo, NY took the top spot.  Warren, MI ranked 10, and Detroit tied with Toledo, OH for 11th place.

My Town GR: Side street plowing rescheduled amid new snow

My Town GR: Side street plowing rescheduled amid new snow

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The City of Grand Rapids is postponing clearing snow from the city’s side streets as crews focus on removing a fresh blanket of snow from major roadways.

The city says snow clearing in the area of I-196 to Fulton and Lafayette to Fuller will now take place Monday, March 3.  The work was previously scheduled for Feb. 27.

Side street clearing in the area of Knapp to Leonard and Plainfield to Fuller is being rescheduled for Tuesday, March 3.  The work was supposed to take place Feb. 28 before the latest round of snow hit.

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

Disability Advocates of Kent County hold bus stop clearing contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The higher temperatures and rain will likely not rid West Michigan of all of its snow, which is why the Disability Advocates of Kent County is inviting all shovelers to take part in a contest.

The organization is asking everyone to help dig out bus stops in the Grand Rapids metro area, which are buried under snow.  While many people can climb over the snow banks to get on buses, people with disabilities cannot.

People who dig out a bus stop are asked to take a before and after picture and email them to Aric Coleman at aric.c@dakc.us , along with the location of the bus stop.  The Disability Advocates of Kent County will post the pictures on its Facebook Page to recognize your efforts.  Members of the group that clears the most stops by Feb.

Alcohol distributor rolls out greener fleet

Alcohol distributor rolls out greener fleet

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A beverage distributor’s delivery fleet is getting a little greener.

Great Lakes Wines and Spirits began using its first compressed natural gas trucks in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor this week.  The two vehicles are 20-feet long and refrigerated.  Fuel for each vehicle is approximately $2.40 per gallon, about $1.40 per gallon less than diesel.  Great Lakes Wines and Spirits says the switch will also cut the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 14 tons a year.

“These two trucks are a critical step in our effort to increase our efficiency and rein in costs at a time when all businesses are working hard to conserve energy. These trucks can help our company and Michigan pave the way to a stronger future for our economy and for the next generation,” said Syd Ross, co-owner of GLWAS.

East Grand Rapids to join group setting ambulance standards

East Grand Rapids to join group setting ambulance standards

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The standards for ambulances running in East Grand Rapids may soon change.

During its regular meeting Monday night, the city commission approved joining an ambulance consortium with other Kent County communities.  The consortium would establish across-the-board ambulance service standards for all communities involved, through contracts. East Grand Rapids currently works with AMR Ambulance, but the city does not have a contract with the company. 

City Manager Brian Donovan says communities that are part of the consortium will create an oversight group which will make sure all ambulance companies are abiding by contractual standards. By consolidating regulation, each community will save staff time and money.