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Big Ideas for Transit Laid Out in New Framework Plan

Walker Evans Walker Evans Big Ideas for Transit Laid Out in New Framework Plan
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If you want to sit around and wait for a train in Columbus, you could be waiting for a long time. Local planner and transit enthusiast JM Rayburn got tired of waiting though, and decided to launch a project that could spark change with how Central Ohioans think about transit systems. The culmination of that work is the new 90-page Forge Ahead document — a Forge Columbus project — which was released to the public yesterday.

“Forge Ahead was conceived as a community transformation campaign to serve as visioning document and resource book, which could be a contribution to the conversation about the ideas already happening around transportation systems,” said Rayburn, the Founder and Project Manager of Forge Ahead. “The original spark for the project came when Governor Kasich gave Ohio’s $400 million for the 3C Corridor back to the federal government — I thought there was vacuum of understanding of what transportation modes can offer, and I felt a need to explore that and share it in a way that people could understand.”

In addition to rail-based transit modes (light rail and streetcars) the document covers what Columbus can learn and implement from other cities when it comes to bike infrastructure, walkable neighborhoods, and automobile traffic solutions. Rayburn said that the document is designed so that any local planning or transit organization like the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) or the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) can utilize information for their own purposes.

“They could cherry pick certain ideas that they want to deploy, manage or imitate, or use the information to start the conversation of how we get to the next steps,” he stated. “COTA and MORPC already get a lot of public input for recommendations, but it’s nice to use this to get a big look at what’s out there.”

While Rayburn managed the project, he said that Forge Ahead had contributions from dozens of stakeholder organizations, individual city planners, and many everyday citizens who voiced their opinions during roundtable sessions. In total, he said approximately 75 to 100 people have contributed ideas to the document.

“Our next step is to get this in front of as many eyes and audiences as possible,” added Rayburn. “I’d love to do a presentation during Pecha Kucha this fall, and possibly some other public speaking engagements. At the end of day, this is all for the sake of economic growth, global competitiveness and talent retention in Columbus. We need to make these ideas happen.”

For more information and to view the full report, visit www.forgeaheadcbus.com.

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