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City and COTA Announce Plan for Second Bus Lane Experiment

Brent Warren Brent Warren City and COTA Announce Plan for Second Bus Lane ExperimentCones and signs marked the temporary Third Street lane that was in place for two weeks last summer. Photo by Brent Warren.
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Last summer, the City of Columbus and the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) temporarily made one lane of Third Street Downtown open only to buses, bikes and scooters.

The new alignment was only in effect during rush hour and lasted for just two weeks, but it yielded data and survey results that could be used to inform the design of future demonstration projects, as well as, perhaps, more permanent solutions to traffic and mobility problems throughout the region.

Today the city and COTA announced that a second “mobility innovation test” will take place along a 0.8-mile stretch of North High Street, on November 23.

In conjunction with the Ohio State football game against Penn State, the southbound curb lane of High Street – from Dodridge Street to Lane Avenue – will be reserved for buses, bikes and scooters from 10 a.m. until the start of the game at noon.

After kickoff, the traffic cones and signs will be moved to the other side of the street, where the northbound curb lane will offer car-free travel until two hours after the game ends.

Unlike the Third Street demonstration project – which was greeted with concern by some bike advocates because it was taking place within an existing bike lane – the lanes used for this experiment are currently dedicated to cars, either in the form of a travel lane or via on-street parking spaces.

A press release stated that the program, which is being called the “Game Day Mobility Lane,” will be evaluated after fact using both “quantitative and qualitative tools.”

“The mobility innovation tests provide critical information to help us understand how to better connect residents to education, jobs, healthcare, and even OSU football,” said Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin in a statement. “We know from other cities that dedicated lanes make a transit system more efficient and effective…I’m excited by our partnership with President Joanna Pinkerton and the COTA team to continue innovating to improve our transportation system.”

For more information, see www.columbus.gov.

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