Have you heard? Columbus is growing! Our region is adding over 100 people per day. By 2050 we will hit 3 million people. With our growth comes opportunity and risk. We are at a moment where we can choose how we grow.
We can create a transportation system that that connects our neighborhoods, enhances our well being and quality of life, gets people to jobs, and protects our environment. Or we can have a future of sprawl, congestion, and damage to our environment.To achieve that positive vision, we must change our transportation system. In order to do that we are announcing a policy agenda that we will push to be enacted by 2025.
Our policy agenda starts with big ideas. These are large-scale, impactful, and can help change the way our region is connected. Following those are specific goals for transit, pedestrians, bike facilities, greenways, and other policy initiatives. This policy agenda is focused on Central Ohio and should be implemented by Columbus, COTA, MORPC, Smart Columbus, and other regional municipalities and partners.
In the coming months we will share more details about these goals and how they can be achieved. We have a wonderful opportunity to create a better connected region that works for everyone, but we have tough decisions to make. We need the support of civic leaders and grassroots citizens to make it happen.
Now is the time for transit.
High Capacity Mass Transit (Light Rail & Bus Rapid Transit)
Implement at least two of the High Capacity Transit Corridors Concepts identified in the NextGen Plan and Insight2050 Corridor Concept Study. Transit infrastructure in these corridors should have dedicated right-of-way and take the form of Light Rail or Bus Rapid Transit. Based on cost and geographic reach we suggest that the West Broad Street and East Main Street corridors are prioritized while long term plans are made for the remaining corridors.
2020 Transit Ballot Measure
Ensure a much-needed Transit Funding Ballot Measure is on the ballot in 2020 in order to fund transit improvements. An improved transit system that features High Capacity Mass Transit, along with a more fast, frequent, and reliable service network have been recommended by many planning initiatives and is desired by the public. Now is the time to fund that system.
Convert Front Street to Two-Way
When COTA’s downtown service was adjusted several years ago to take buses off High Street, Front Street was chosen as an alternative route for many bus lines. In order to use Front Street though, a conversion of the last remaining one-way portion of the street (Broad to Marconi) was needed but has not materialized. Without a Two-Way Front Street bus lines must take a circuitous route that adds unnecessary time to people’s commute whether they are headed downtown or elsewhere in the community. Front Street should be converted to Two-Way as soon as possible.
With thousands of new residents and visitors along with massive development there is a need for additional fixed route service to connect various parts of downtown. A new Arena District/Discovery District Circulator in the model of the CBUS would connect the new Confluence Village and Crew Stadium with the Arena District, Columbus State, Columbus Museum of Art, CCAD, the Main Library, Grant Hospital, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. (*#saveDthecrewBUS!)
South High Tactical Urbanism
High Street just south of downtown is a notoriously high speed and dangerous urban street. The improvements to High Street in the Short North have made North High a pedestrian and cyclist paradise while cars still speed quickly south through German Village and the Brewery District. A low cost tactical urbanism project on South High could demonstrate how to make this street safer and more attractive.
- Align City policy with the Insight2050 Corridor Concepts Implementation Framework.
- Pilot temporary bus lanes and make permanent successful changes.
- Install shelters and sidewalks at every bus stop throughout the system.
- Increase the base frequency to 10 minutes on ‘frequent’ lines (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 23, 34, CMAX).
- Expand operations to 1:00 am on all ‘frequent’ lines.
- Implement mobile fare payment by then end of 2020.
- Work to create better commuter connections to surrounding counties.
- Implement high-visibility crosswalk treatments at all major crossing locations.
- Construct sidewalks to reach at least 45% of arterials and collectors per the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP).
- Overhaul the crosswalk placement process to make the following changes:
- Be responsive to resident requests for new crosswalks at locations generated by the community.
- Reverse the current crosswalk placement process so that improvements are installed and then measured against pedestrian counts rather than the opposite.
- Encourage mid-block crosswalks to address pedestrian traffic.
- Build 100 new miles of dedicated and connected bike facilities.
Other Policy Issues
- Support affordable transit for our low income population.
- Support the inclusion of multimodal curriculum in Drivers Education courses.
- Adopt NACTO Guidelines as the Official Design Standards for the City
- Adopt Vision Zero Goal
- Pledge to support MORPC’s Regional Transportation Safety Plan
- Require Tax Incentives for New Developments to Include Multimodal Options Such As:
- Bus Passes
- Bike Facilities
- Shared Parking Facilities
- Encourage private employers to offer commuter benefits for transit and other multimodal options
- Encourage the installation of electric vehicle infrastructure
- Reactivate the Transportation & Pedestrian Commission and regularly brief the commission on the following
- Vision Zero
- Adoption and integration of NACTO Guidelines
- Citywide progress on:
- Pedestrian Infrastructure
- Bike Infrastructure
- Transit Infrastructure