GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — ArtPrize begins in Grand Rapids Thursday and with it will come tens of thousands of people packing the streets and venues.
If you are unfamiliar with downtown, knowing where to park, what modes of transportation are available, and the easiest ways to get around can be challenging.
Here is a guide to help you navigate your visit to downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize.
Parking can be one of the most stressful parts of your ArtPrize journey. There are plenty of city-owned and privately-owned parking ramps in downtown Grand Rapids. That will be the most expensive but easiest option.
Another parking option is street parking. The city has thousands of metered parking spaces throughout downtown Grand Rapids.
From the app, you can select your parking spot, plug in your vehicle and credit card information and you are on your way. Another helpful feature of the MOTU app is it will send alerts to your phone when your parking is about to expire.
If you choose street parking, there are also pay stations close to the meters where you can pay.
Most meters are monitored Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Some meters are checked after 6 p.m., and on Saturdays, however, the city has those marked with signs. Most of those are found along Monroe Center, which is often shut down on weekends for ArtPrize.
DASH: DOWNTOWN AREA SHUTTLE
The cheapest way to park if you are planning an all-day trip to ArtPrize is to park on the city’s west side in one of the city-owned lots.
After you park your car, you can hop on one of the two DASH routes that run every 15 minutes: DASH West and DASH North.
The DASH West route encompasses Grand Rapids’ West Side, Monroe Center and Heartside neighborhoods. It includes stops at the YMCA, Kendall College of Art & Design, Van Andel Arena and Bridge Street Market.
DASH North covers the Creston, City Center and Medical Mile areas. It includes stops at DeVos Place, Downtown Market, Founders Brewing Co. and Belknap Park.
The DASH runs from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
More information about DASH parking lots and shuttles can be found online.
E-SCOOTERS AND E-BIKES
Once again, this year, scooters and e-bikes are options for visitors in downtown Grand Rapids to use to get around ArtPrize.
This year there is only one option, Lime. You will want to download the Lime app to unlock the e-bikes and scooters.
Remember, neither the bikes nor the scooters are meant to be ridden on the sidewalks. They are supposed to be ridden in the bike lanes, and users must wear helmets.
Make sure to park your e-bike or scooter back in one designated area once you are done using it.
RIDE THE RAPID
Finally, if you don’t want to mess with driving downtown and parking for ArtPrize, Rapid buses from all over the city commute to Rapid Central Station in downtown Grand Rapids, giving you access to ArtPrize.
Consider downloading the transit app for your phone. With the app, you can look at all the different bus routes and track how long it will be until a bus reaches your stop.
Construction season has not yet wrapped up in West Michigan. So it should come as no surprise there is construction that could complicate your trip to ArtPrize.
The most significant impact project is the one that is currently shutting down the intersection of Monroe Avenue and Fulton Street. The project prevents access to downtown via the Fulton Street bridge. Instead, drivers will have to cross the river downtown by either using the Pearl Street or Wealthy Street bridges.
Another project that will slow drivers coming in from northwestern Kent County along with drivers from Ottawa and Muskegon counties is the ramp closure from eastbound I-96 to southbound US-131. The posted detour for this project is eastbound I-96 to Plainfield Avenue, then get back on westbound I-96 and take the exit to southbound US-131.
Finally, if you are driving in from eastern Kent County or Ionia County using I-96, there is a construction project that will likely add time to your drive. There are lane closures along eastbound and westbound I-96 between Whitneyville Avenue and 36th Street that causes slowdowns and backups.