2013 Year in Review: Transportation
With so many new transit options coming online in Columbus this year (and with a recent data analysis suggesting that alternative transit is gaining ground in Columbus), we thought it would be appropriate to do a year in review for transportation news. Below is a round-up of stories we did on the new ways to get around, as well as news we featured about COTA, passenger rail, bike infrastructure, parking issues, and big road projects like the 70/71 split.
New Options in Columbus
CoGo bike share was the first of the new transit alternatives; they announced their name in April and then set about distributing 300 bikes among 30 stations downtown and in the surrounding neighborhoods before officially launching in late July.
Next in line was Uber, with their sleek black towncars called from a phone app. Although a limited number of the cars were available in Columbus starting in October, the company waited for rule changes from the City of Columbus before officially launching and ramping up their service in December.
If you’ve been out and about at all in Columbus, you’ve noticed the little blue and white smart cars popping up all over in recent months. Car2go, a car-sharing service geared toward one-way trips and easy mobility between city neighborhoods, started looking into expanding to Columbus back in the spring. They officially went live in October, and have been adding cars to their fleet ever since.
Confused about the new options in Columbus? We’ve got you covered with a comparison of car2go, Uber, CoGo and COTA.
COTA had an eventful year, unveiling a number of new programs, including a potential downtown circulator route and the extension of their #21 Night Owl line – the late-night bus will now run up and down High Street on Thursdays as well as the weekend. The transit authority also announced that 2014 will bring real-time bus tracking information that will be available at bus stops and on smart phones. And last but not least, the Cleveland Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line was given the green light by the Federal Transit Authority.
Passenger Rail Potential?
A new proposal for high speed rail between Columbus and Chicago made a big splash, attracting the attention of the mayor’s office, MORPC, and local advocacy groups. A petition started by Transit Columbus that garnered over 5,000 signatures pushed for the next step in the plan; an environmental assessment.
A key section of the Scioto Trail was completed, while improvements to Third Avenue in the Fifth by Northwest neighborhood and Sullivant Avenue on the west side will also mean more options for cyclists. Plans for a bike path along 161 were debated.
Vine Street was converted into a one-way street while parking changes in Italian Village generated a lot of discussion. Plans for Third Street in German Village were looked at once again. Pedicabs were licensed by the city for the fist time.
Work has continued on the Interstate 70-71 Split project, including the Long Street Bridge and Mound Street connector downtown. Meanwhile, at the state level, massive investment in highways continued.