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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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Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 107 total)
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  • #462871

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    Walker said:
    One issue I have with the “bus lineup” system is that synchronized lines means that options for multi-route riders grow more limited during those times. I can catch 3 different bus routes between home and work, and during normal bus hours that means that I can walk out to the stop and typically catch one of those 3 routes within 10 minutes.

    During the “bus lineup” it means that all 3 routes depart at the top of the hour, and you’re not going to see another one for 30-40 minutes. For anyone that misses a bus, or can’t get to the stop in time for the lineup will end up waiting for a much longer time.

    This is an interesting point. I’m not sure how many areas are really affected by this, but probably much of the inner neighborhoods immediately surrounding downtown. One solution might be consolidate some of the multiple lines with service area overlaps into fewer, but more frequent, lines. This would reduce the number of one-seat rides because there would be fewer routes going into downtown, but the frequency of service would improve, allowing more convenient transfers. If we take my suggestion of not making frequent service routes sit around on High Street for the pulse, then it could mean a smaller wall of buses. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

    1. The #11 on the east side serves much of the same walking radius as the #2 and #10, which are more convenient routes in most cases. Maybe we don’t need a route serving Oak and Bryden. Maybe the #11 could have a turnaround point somewhere near Broad & Nelson. If you’re on the #11 and going downtown, you would have to transfer, but you wouldn’t have to wait long because the #1 Livingston, #2 Main, and #10 Broad are all frequent service routes. Use the service hours saved from running that portion of the #11 into downtown to increase the frequency of the portion of the route that remains and/or the #1, #2, and #10.

    2. The #5 overlaps with the #2 from 5th Avenue to downtown. Combine the #5 and #96 into a single crosstown route on 5th Avenue. Use the service hours saved by not running the #5 into downtown to increase the frequency of the new #5/#96 and/or the #1, #2, #7.

    3. The #18 overlaps with the #7 from Woodruff to downtown and with the #2 from Buttles to downtown. Does it need to go all the way into downtown or could it just serve campus, turn around at the medical center, and head back north? Passengers going downtown could transfer to a more frequent #7 or the #2.

    More here: http://www.humantransit.org/2009/04/why-transferring-is-good-for-you-and-good-for-your-city.html

    #462872

    Polis
    Participant

    COTA’s new route, #118 Sawmill, is going to rely mainly on transfers. If it does well, similar services may be able to reduce buses going through Downtown.

    Both sides in this argument are severly slacking in alternatives and evidence. Anecdotal evidence is thrown around as facts, especially by the “buses off High St.” crowd. I’m not sold citing the Short North a retail and mixed-use neigborhood as a comparison to Downtown, an employment center (~88,000 employees). Neither am I sold that Downtown, in particular High St., needs to have more retail; the majority of the population has easier access to one of the big 3 malls. Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in the surrounding neighborhoods to reach a more critical population massing around Downtown first? That would make it more accessible to a larger population.

    COTA needs to have more options beyond what was offered. Transfer nodes outside of Downtown (as mentioned above), skip-stops with parking in between, another terminal or two outside of the core, moving operations to Broad St. since it’s wider. Of course the city would also need to be more malleable, whether it’s reducing sidewalk width in some spots or changing the Broad St. plan.

    Overall, what I am trying to say is both parties are not working together well enough the whole idea is short sighted.

    #462873

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    Polis said:
    COTA’s new route, #118 Sawmill, is going to rely mainly on transfers. If it does well, similar services may be able to reduce buses going through Downtown.

    Great example of what I’m talking about.

    #462874

    leftovers
    Member

    I still see the issue being the hub and spoke system. If the #5 stayed on 5th ave instead of going downtown people would need to make transfers at 5th and High to get downtown to get to other routes. One transfer is not a big deal, but from experience any more than one transfer starts becoming a major pain in the ass when taking COTA. There really would need to be more thought in developing several transfer nodes based on usage patterns.

    #462875
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Polis said:
    Both sides in this argument are severly slacking in alternatives and evidence. Anecdotal evidence is thrown around as facts, especially by the “buses off High St.” crowd. I’m not sold citing the Short North a retail and mixed-use neigborhood as a comparison to Downtown, an employment center (~88,000 employees).

    There’s been links shared in the past to examples of other cities that have eliminated Downtown bus transit mall formats in favor of accommodating retail development. I can dig some of those up if you need that evidence restated, but I don’t have time at the moment to search for those old links.

    Again, I’m not asking anyone to compare the Short North to Downtown. Just asking people to consider options and alternatives. Would the Short North look different is on-street parking was removed? Would Downtown look different if on-street parking was added to High?

    Polis said:
    Neither am I sold that Downtown, in particular High St., needs to have more retail; the majority of the population has easier access to one of the big 3 malls. Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in the surrounding neighborhoods to reach a more critical population massing around Downtown first? That would make it more accessible to a larger population.

    Yes, much of the population has access to the big three malls, but that’s more out of necessity than out of preference. If you ask most people in inner city neighborhoods if they would shop closer to home, they’re likely to say yes.

    Also, I don’t think Downtown necessarily needs the same type of retail that can be found at the malls. I’m sure many would prefer to see something more of an extension of The Short North, which is a mix of boutiques, unique chains and other types of good and services. Downtown doesn’t really need 10,000+ sqft stores like you can find at Easton or Polaris, so I don’t think that’s an accurate comparison.

    As far as a critical population goes, what sizes do you specifically think that should be? Between the residential neighborhoods within a 3 mile radius of Downtown as well as office traffic, visitors and conventioneers, students and other entertainment-goers, there’s a pretty sizable population that already exists. Does German Village need 1000 more residents for Downtown to support a new clothing boutique? Or does the clothing boutique just need easier on-street parking solutions? My guess is that both would be beneficial, so we should be looking at both options.

    #462876
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Kacey Brankamp is the Retail Recruiter for Capital Crossroads, which services a large portion of Downtown. She talks to potential Downtown retailers every single day and looks to help accomodate them for locating Downtown. Some of her words on the subject:

    FROM HERE:

    Parking is always a top issue Downtown. I think it is always going to be a retailer’s concern, and depending on different retails nodes and where people choose to locate, you can be really dependent on metered parking spots. For example, Third Street between Rich and Main is a major outbound commuter corridor. There are also quite a few retail shops right there along Third Street that could be considered a cluster, and having those parking meters right there in front of their businesses is important for people tobe able to just stop off and grab something on their way out of town.

    #462877

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    leftovers said:
    I still see the issue being the hub and spoke system. If the #5 stayed on 5th ave instead of going downtown people would need to make transfers at 5th and High to get downtown to get to other routes.

    Or 5th & Neil.

    leftovers said:
    One transfer is not a big deal, but from experience any more than one transfer starts becoming a major pain in the ass when taking COTA. There really would need to be more thought in developing several transfer nodes based on usage patterns.

    Agree. One transfer could be a big deal though. I’ve always found that transferring from an infrequent service to a frequent service is not a big deal. However, transferring from an infrequent service to a frequent is risky because if you miss your connection, you’re screwed. Timed transfers are definitely necessary to make this work.

    #462878

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Kacey Brankamp is the Retail Recruiter for Capital Crossroads, which services a large portion of Downtown. She talks to potential Downtown retailers every single day and looks to help accomodate them for locating Downtown. Some of her words on the subject:

    FROM HERE:

    Parking is always a top issue Downtown. I think it is always going to be a retailer’s concern, and depending on different retails nodes and where people choose to locate, you can be really dependent on metered parking spots. For example, Third Street between Rich and Main is a major outbound commuter corridor. There are also quite a few retail shops right there along Third Street that could be considered a cluster, and having those parking meters right there in front of their businesses is important for people tobe able to just stop off and grab something on their way out of town.

    I’m all for the on-street parking where it can be done as a balance with other needs, and think studying the High Street idea makes sense. However, I don’t think downtown can compete on parking. It’s always going to be more convenient and less expensive to park at retail located elsewhere in the region. Downtown has to have a critical mass of people (workers, residents, and visitors) in close proximity, and/or offer destinations that aren’t available elsewhere. Both of these reasons are why the Short North is healthy, not the parking meters.

    So to me the focus should be on continuing the development that is taking place, getting more people into downtown while occupying less physical space (this means transit and bikes), and providing incentives to businesses to start up.

    #462879
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    johnwirtz said:
    I’m all for the on-street parking where it can be done as a balance with other needs, and think studying the High Street idea makes sense. However, I don’t think downtown can compete on parking. It’s always going to be more convenient and less expensive to park at retail located elsewhere in the region. Downtown has to have a critical mass of people (workers, residents, and visitors) in close proximity, and/or offer destinations that aren’t available elsewhere. Both of these reasons are why the Short North is healthy, not the parking meters.

    I’m sure it varies from business to business, but my impression is that the Short North thrives not because of the residents in the neighborhood, nor because of office worker traffic (which is minimal). It largely is a destination for people from other neighborhoods, be it nearby or further away, as well as a visitor destination and a good neighbor to the Convention Center.

    I don’t think the Short North could exist if it were only supported by the populations of Italian & Victorian Village alone.

    Further, I don’t think Downtown needs to compete with Easton, Polaris or Wal Mart when it comes to parking accommodations. I do think it needs to be able to accomodate visitors in the same manner as The Short North though, as there is a precedent there to show that people are willing to shop at boutique retailers with easy, visible on-street parking on High.

    johnwirtz said:
    So to me the focus should be on continuing the development that is taking place, getting more people into downtown while occupying less physical space (this means transit and bikes), and providing incentives to businesses to start up.

    I agree that the focus should be on continuing development, and the long-term goal should be to push for improved transit and biking infrastructure.

    To me, Downtown on-street parking on High falls into the “what else could we do in the short term” category as something that could potentially be an easier, cheaper solution when compared to waiting for new $50 million investments to show up.

    #462880

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    Walker said:
    I’m sure it varies from business to business, but my impression is that the Short North thrives not because of the residents in the neighborhood, nor because of office worker traffic (which is minimal). It largely is a destination for people from other neighborhoods, be it nearby or further away, as well as a visitor destination and a good neighbor to the Convention Center.

    I don’t think the Short North could exist if it were only supported by the populations of Italian & Victorian Village alone.

    I’m sure the outside visitors help, but I think a combination of income and density in close proximity is a prerequisite for a healthy and sustainable walkable urban business district. The Short North has it. German Village has it. Olde Towne East, Franklinton, and Downtown do not yet.
    http://xingcolumbus.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/aggregate-income-density-a-measure-of-potential-for-walkable-urban-business-distircts/

    Walker said:
    Further, I don’t think Downtown needs to compete with Easton, Polaris or Wal Mart when it comes to parking accommodations. I do think it needs to be able to accomodate visitors in the same manner as The Short North though, as there is a precedent there to show that people are willing to shop at boutique retailers with easy, visible on-street parking on High.

    I agree that the focus should be on continuing development, and the long-term goal should be to push for improved transit and biking infrastructure.

    To me, Downtown on-street parking on High falls into the “what else could we do in the short term” category as something that could potentially be an easier, cheaper solution when compared to waiting for new $50 million investments to show up.

    I’m all for making visiting downtown more convenient for people, including the addition of metered parking, but not necessarily on the city’s most important transit corridor unless a good solution can be found for all parties. I just place a much higher priority on transit than on cars for downtown and I’m not convinced that 50 parking spaces will make a difference.

    I don’t think there is an easier, cheaper solution for downtown. Downtown needs to add thousands of workers and residents to support more retail. The only way to add thousands of people without building hundreds of millions of dollars worth of structured parking is more transit and bikes.

    I see transit building on downtown’s competitive advantage, which is aggregation of lots of people, not cheap and convenient parking. Too many cars work against density.

    #462881

    Cole
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Again, I’m not asking anyone to compare the Short North to Downtown. Just asking people to consider options and alternatives. Would the Short North look different is on-street parking was removed? Would Downtown look different if on-street parking was added to High?

    I compared the bus frequencies in the Short North and Downtown today. At High & Russell, there’s a maximum of 18 buses in an hour and an average of 15 buses in an hour. At High & State, there’s a maximum of 56 buses in an hour and an average of 34 buses an hour.

    You say you’re not comparing the Short North to downtown, but at the very least we need to compare the function of High Street within each area. An average of a bus a minute is a lot of traffic.

    To me, Downtown on-street parking on High falls into the “what else could we do in the short term” category as something that could potentially be an easier, cheaper solution when compared to waiting for new $50 million investments to show up.

    I think that on-street parking on High is a low-hanging fruit which is probably why COTA is more receptive to allowing non-peak on-street parking on High St. But for allowing on-street parking at peak hours, it would cost more than $0 to hire Jarrett Walker to re-design our system.

    Hell, on-street parking on High Street might not work well without a transit re-design. It sees about double the buses that the Short North does.

    #462882
    DJ DocMedPot
    DJ DocMedPot
    Participant

    What would the feasability of a system like Clevelands new RTA Healthline bus rapid transit line set on High street be over expanding street parking and providing timely fast service?
    More info on this system can be found at: http://www.rtahealthline.com/healthline-what-is.asp

    #462883

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    DocMedPot said:
    What would the feasability of a system like Clevelands new RTA Healthline bus rapid transit line set on High street be over expanding street parking and providing timely fast service?
    More info on this system can be found at: http://www.rtahealthline.com/healthline-what-is.asp

    Not very feasible without narrowing sidewalks. High is only 50 feet wide. Euclid is about 60 on the narrowest segments and 70-80 where there are stops. I’m also not sure how this helps reduce all the buses on High Street downtown.

    #462884
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Cole said:
    I compared the bus frequencies in the Short North and Downtown today. At High & Russell, there’s a maximum of 18 buses in an hour and an average of 15 buses in an hour. At High & State, there’s a maximum of 56 buses in an hour and an average of 34 buses an hour.

    Yes, there’s fewer buses in the Short North. But that still doesn’t answer my question. ;)

    #462885

    Cole
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Yes, there’s fewer buses in the Short North. But that still doesn’t answer my question. ;)

    I didn’t answer your question. Would downtown and Short North look different if their parking policies were switched? Yes.

    Related, COTA will used 3rd/4th downtown this Friday and Saturday for the Cap City Marathon. Roads closures begin at 7:00 PM on Friday so I’m not sure if the re-routing will be in effect during the entirety of Friday.

    http://www.cota.com/Rider-Alerts.aspx?id=107

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