CU Live: Transportation Advocacy in Columbus

Walker Evans Walker Evans CU Live: Transportation Advocacy in ColumbusPhoto by Walker Evans.
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Transportation is an important part of how we live. Whether it’s your work commute, your daily errands, or casual travel to recreational destinations, the way to get from point A to point B factors into nearly every decision you make every day.

And while the majority of Central Ohioans make most of their trips by single-occupant vehicle, more and more are exploring the alternatives of mass transit, bike transportation or ride-sharing options.

Lexi Petrella, Associate Planner at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), recently sat down with Columbus Underground to discuss a variety of initiatives and policies related to sustainable transportation.

“Obviously in Columbus a lot of infrastructure is still needed,” she explained. “It’s all challenging — opinions, perceptions, behavior change — it’s still challenging despite how far we’ve come, but it’s still very exciting.”

As a relatively younger city, much of Columbus and Central Ohio was designed with a car-centric mindset, leaving many commuters with few options for alternative transportation options outside of the core of the city.

Additionally, more office workers than ever are working remotely during the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020, which has led to reduced work commutes, lighter traffic, increased speeds and new concerns with transit ridership that will need to continue to be evaluated and addressed.

“Also the air quality is a really huge factor,” stated Petrella. “We’ve seen an amazing increase in our air quality compared to last year — so that’s really exciting.”

Older residents in Central Ohio face a unique set of challenges as they age in place. The baby boomer generation is a very large group of individuals, and with many living in suburban areas, their options to commute for groceries and doctors appointment will grow strained in the coming years.

“We’re doing some innovative planning and some work with regional partners — to help older adults, people with disabilities, people of low incomes, caretakers and their organizations to find mobility options that work for them,” explained Petrella.

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This four-part installment of the CU Live video series is sponsored by The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) featuring stories about local and regional partners that envision and embrace innovative directions in economic prosperity, transportation, sustainability and an inclusive Central Ohio. MORPC’s transformative programming, innovative services and public policy initiatives are designed to promote and support the vitality and growth in the region. For more information, please visit www.morpc.org.

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