Our community leaders should support the Transit Pass Program

There are the things that matter to a thriving urban core. Parking spaces aren’t one of them. Never once have I seen cool shot of a downtown that features a bunch of parked cars. No one is using photo of a parking lot to advertise their city, their downtown restaurant, or to show a thriving city center.

So, let’s put the emphasis on the person, instead of the two ton personal car we each carry with us into downtown.

Let’s ask how we can encourage people who are looking to shed the baggage of their personal car. It’s the smart and open solution. To encourage and support public transit riders is far cheaper than investing in a parking space, which cost $30,000- $60,000 a piece to build. Moving a small percentage of downtown drivers to transit riders frees up space for those with a personal car.

Let’s support more people to open up more parking space. Let’s sustain the momentum behind our downtown renaissance, and use pro-active problem solving to get more people into downtown in a way that does not resort to building more expensive and inefficient parking infrastructure.

The Transit Pass premise is simple. It sets up a plan to financially support more of our downtown workers taking public transit into downtown. Those workers leave their cars at home. It leaves more room for others.  This program has the potential to free up at least 2,800 parking spaces, or the equivalent of four parking garages.

Here’s the math.

Transit Pass Program $2,000,000 =2,800 open spaces
4 Parking Garages $100,000,000 =2,800 open spaces

We can spend $2 million on more people riding transit or we can spend $100 million on 2,800 parking spaces.

The math makes the choice simple. But let’s do it because we believe people downtown are important. Let’s do it because we want more people in our urban core. More people working, eating, drinking, working out, sharing ideas, starting companies, and coming up with big ideas*. Big ideas like the Transit Pass Program.

-Elissa Schneider, Chair Transit ColumbusTransitColumbus Logo CMYK-01

*Interested in big ideas? Check out our blog post on the Smart City challenge.