Cleveland Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Project Enters Next Phase
The Federal Transit Authority has given the green light to COTA to continue planning work on its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project for Cleveland Ave. A letter sent to COTA CEO Curtis Stitt grants the organization “pre-award authority” to complete the environmental review process and start preliminary engineering and design on the project.
The next step would be the official receipt of the Small Starts Grant Agreement in mid-2014 and a projected start of service in September of 2016.
BRT is often described as a hybrid system that combines the faster travel times and branded stations of light rail with the lower cost and flexibility of buses.
The COTA project calls for 43 new stations and 13 new low-floor, specially-branded compressed natural gas buses to run along the 15.6 mile route. The new buses will receive traffic signal priority along the route and will run in mixed traffic on Cleveland Avenue from the OhioHealth Medical Center in Westerville to downtown (where they will operate in existing bus lanes).
From the Columbus Square Shopping Center on Route 161 to downtown the buses will operate every 10 minutes during peek travel times, and every 15 minutes during off-peak times. From the medical center to Columbus Square buses will run every 30 minutes during both peak and off-peak hours.
COTA estimates that project will reduce travel times by as much as 20% along the route, which is currently the second-busiest line in the system.
Total capital cost of the project is estimated at $39.4 million, of which the Small Starts Funds would cover approximately 80%.
For more information on the project, visit www.cota.com/Cleveland_Ave_BRT.aspx.