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Proposal to Reroute some COTA Buses from High Street to Front Street

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Transportation Proposal to Reroute some COTA Buses from High Street to Front Street

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  • #88412

    News
    Participant

    What began as a plan to add a Downtown Transit Station has morphed into a proposal to reroute many major bus lines from High Street to Front Street to better accommodate on-street parking and retail development on High:


    Proposed bus reroute would shift traffic from High Street

    By Robert Vitale

    The Columbus Dispatch

    Thursday September 29, 2011 8:43 AM

    They’ve not budged in opposing a transit center, but COTA officials took steps yesterday to appease Downtown planners with a proposal to reroute 168 buses a day away from High Street.

    A 2010 update of the city’s Downtown plan suggested that the buses and bus riders converging on High Street near Broad have choked off retail business along the corridor.

    READ MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/09/29/proposed-bus-reroute-would-shift-traffic-from-high-street.html

    #462782
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Personally, I’m in favor of rerouting a bus line or two by a block or two as long as it means an increase in metered parking on High Street through the core of Downtown.

    #462783

    Hmm.. I’m a little dubious about the “choked off” claim. That the transit nodes are on street level is foolish to begin with and it seems a better long term answer would be to carve space where multiple lines and routes would converge. This would both allow for more metered parking and neatly avoid my second and rather larger concern.

    To whit, I have serious concerns about separating the two busiest lines in the city. To you and I, a block may not seem like much but to many differently-abled passengers who rely on mass transit as their primary form of mobility, a block might as well be a mile. Especially during the 3-4 months a year when we have potentially hazardous walking conditions due to icing etc.

    On another note, haven’t we been striving to get people OUT of their cars and into alternate modes of transportation in the city the last 3+ years? Making the 2 busiest lines in town LESS convenient is simply making it that much more likely that people will eschew commuting to work by bus and will drive in instead.

    The answers that will best suit the most people while fostering a positive retail environment are not as simple as rerouting “a line or two” and to pretend otherwise is to ignore the purpose of our transit systems in the first place. (BTW, Walker, that’s not directed at you, you just happened to be the only other poster so far :)

    #462784
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    I’d have to ask if an adjustment to the routes make them any less convenient though? It sound like you’re implying that it is, but that’s really up to individual riders, their destinations, and whether or not they’re transferring.

    If someone rides the #1 now to get to a job on Front Street, they have to get off at High and walk a block. A reroute would make it more convenient.

    If someone rides the #1 to transfer to the #2 at Broad & High, then they can still do exactly that with this proposed reroute.

    The article indicates that the reroute would add two extra blocks to a walk for people riding that line who are trying to get to the Arena District. I’d love to know how many people on average use that as their destination when riding, and how many would choose to transfer to another bus if the distance is that far.

    I’m not advocating moving bus lines if it interferes too much with access for bus riders, and we should definitely take all factors into consideration, especially the needs of people who are not as mobile as others, but I think there is probably some research and data that can be found that could provide better information on what we’re looking at other than assuming this line is more/less convenient for everyone overall.

    #462785

    kessler
    Participant

    So a bus stop would be available near Broad & High before it gets to Front? Since I know some people have to run currently to catch their transfer.

    If parking is added to High, would parking be removed from Front to make room for bus stops? (so would we actually gain/lose parking spots in the end?)

    #462786

    cbustransit
    Participant

    lets build a transit center underneath broad and high. the bus lanes in both directions on broad and high could just dip underground briefly. genius.

    #462787

    tree_sketcher
    Participant

    Seattle has an underground bus tunnel for light rail and buses. Also toronto has several areas where streetcars go underground and drop passengers off in subgrade terminals.

    Seriously though, would it be worthwhile for Cbus to study a big idea like this as a potential solution? I think it would be if it offered expanded & more efficient transit service AND helped to bolster High Street retail and downtown economic development.

    #462788

    Rockmastermike
    Participant

    tree_sketcher said:
    Seattle has an underground bus tunnel for light rail and buses. Also toronto has several areas where streetcars go underground and drop passengers off in subgrade terminals.

    Seriously though, would it be worthwhile for Cbus to study a big idea like this as a potential solution? I think it would be if it offered expanded & more efficient transit service AND helped to bolster High Street retail and downtown economic development.

    unfortunately the surface geology of columbus doesn’t really lend itself to cost-effective tunneling. No good solid rock for ’bout 100 feet down. Be really nice if we could do that though. Heck if we could do that we could put in a subway.

    Seems to me that if they really want to be able to free up high street they’re going to have to move almost all the bus traffic somewhere. There are a LOT of lines that run on high and a lot of people have to transfer there. This might really be best done as an all or nothing proposition. A.k.a. a transit center of some form.

    #462789

    Some good points there Walker.

    Mea Culpa, I misread the proposed map changeover as it relates to High and Broad. Thanks for the clarification.

    I would hope that if the only transfer point available to riders were at Broad and High, that a suitable solution will be found for moving the current Southbound High st. stop closer to the intersection and that a bus shelter would be built fronting Broad St Westbound.

    I am unsure how the “2 blocks” number was reached though. If someone rides the #1 to their job at say Nationwide, it goes from less than 2 blocks to 6. That’s not bad in spring , summer, or fall but a bit of a hike in winter. It would be interesting to get reliable destination data on ridership and destination that was more than just a “x got on, y got off” to further gauge the potential ridership impact.

    Do you think that additional metered parking along southbound High St. between Long and Mound would have the desired effect?

    #462790
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Michael The G said:
    I am unsure how the “2 blocks” number was reached though. If someone rides the #1 to their job at say Nationwide, it goes from less than 2 blocks to 6. That’s not bad in spring , summer, or fall but a bit of a hike in winter.

    If your walk commute shifts to six blocks, I’d recommend a transfer. There’s quite a few routes running regularly north/south between Broad & Nationwide. You can catch one every 2 or 3 minutes.

    This is coming from a guy who regularly hops a bus from Gay Street to ride two blocks south to State Street to go to CVS. Just because there’s always a bus coming anyway. ;)

    #462791

    Dispatch: “Some see discrimination in COTA Downtown reroute plan”

    By Robert Vitale
    The Columbus Dispatch
    Monday October 10, 2011 12:16 AM

    Willis Bryant has heard why Downtown planners want to reroute the COTA bus that takes him from the East Side to Columbus State, to Cleveland Avenue stores and back home again.
    But when he listens to their argument — that lines of buses and crowds of riders are hurting efforts to fill High Street storefronts — he hears something else.
    “They don’t want people who look like me,” said Bryant, who is black.

    Read more

    I am all for the re-routing of the majority of busses off of High on the Downtown Mile on High area. From a business owners/retail perspective this is common sense. The area and Downtown needs the retail to fill in and metered parking is the best solution to this problem. In my opinion this has little to nothing to do with racial discrimination or elitism and more to do with improving the economic strength of Downtown. Any positive impact Downtown should be beneficial for everyone. COTA should also let the number 2 travel on front st and I’d be happy with that. The complaint of it being too far and inconvenient explains just how lazy we are in this city. If you happen to ride in the other 13-14 largest metro cities, walking a few blocks or transferring isn’t a huge deal. If this returns and creates jobs like city planners and leaders expect. It should happen.

    #462792

    mrsgeedeck
    Participant

    As someone who used to frequently ride the #1, and currently drives down Spring fairly often, I think this route change make sense (and applies to the #9 as well). The current route down Spring is totally wonky, there are about two or three stops on the right hand of the street before Fourth, and then the bus crosses every single lane of traffic in order to make a left hand turn onto High.
    Also, while I know the normal line up is supposed to occur at Broad, often I’ve seen three and four buses stopped in the area near the Commons. While I hope the people getting on and off at this spot are frequenting downtown business, the busses themselves block the business from view.

    #462793

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    ^Excellent use of the term “wonky.”

    #462794
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    To me, the solution lies with adding on-street parking. That’s what retail on High needs. While the bus lineups can block visibility of businesses at certain times during the day, the bigger issue is that the current “transit mall” configuration doesn’t allow for on-street parking.

    If we reroute buses without adding on-street parking, then the impact on assisting retail will be minimal.

    #462795

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    Walker said:
    To me, the solution lies with adding on-street parking. That’s what retail on High needs. While the bus lineups can block visibility of businesses at certain times during the day, the bigger issue is that the current “transit mall” configuration doesn’t allow for on-street parking.

    If we reroute buses without adding on-street parking, then the impact on assisting retail will be minimal.

    I think this is true. If they’re going to do this, they need to move enough buses to allow parking at least during off-peak hours.

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