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Should Suburban Office Parks Run Shuttles to Downtown Neighborhoods?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Transportation Should Suburban Office Parks Run Shuttles to Downtown Neighborhoods?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  News 3 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #94043
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Quite often I hear people complain that COTA’s services are inadequate for suburban commutes, as well as reverse commutes for people who want to live close to Downtown but keep their jobs located around 270 at larger employers such as The Limited, Abercrombie, Cardinal Health, Chase, etc. A good example of that ongoing conversation can be found HERE.

    So I found this article & map over at HumanTransit.org to be pretty interesting:

    the silicon valley shuttles, revealed

    In a nutshell, the big employers in the suburban Silicon Valley (Google, Apple, eBay, Yahoo, Facebook , EA) are running private bus shuttle services (much of it duplicative) to get their urban-dwelling San Francisco employees to their suburban jobs 30 miles away.

    Does this private approach make sense here in Columbus where public transit doesn’t quite work as well? Is the urban workforce large enough at these suburban office parks for this type of setup to make sense? Or does something along these lines already exist that I’m just not aware of?

    Thoughts?

    #515662

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    Having worked in a suburban office park until just recently I feel it would be a pretty uphill battle. The closest we had was a shuttle for employees using the company run NYC charter plane.

    I think a shuttle to and from a suburban transit center paired with efficient transit service would be embracedore quickly.

    #515663

    bucki12
    Member

    Really don’t see it happening here anytime soon. I am not sure the demand is here. Many of the people I know who live downtown (VV,SN,IV, GV) and work in the burbs, work pretty varied schedules and rely on their cars for more than just getting to and from work in the weekly grind (going to meetings, getting lunch, picking up kids at daycare etc). I also think the employees would rather have that $$ in the form of other benefits (better health care, 401k etc).

    In the SF example, 30 miles is quite a trek (especially considering CA traffic). I imagine being able to read a kindle and leave the driving to someone else for the long commute (1+ hours each way) is a good portion of its appeal.

    #515664
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    bucki12 said:
    In the SF example, 30 miles is quite a trek (especially considering CA traffic). I imagine being able to read a kindle and leave the driving to someone else for the long commute is a good portion of its appeal.

    True, having done the “reverse commute” myself years ago when I worked at The Limited, it wasn’t much of a hassle at all commuting from Downtown. So perhaps the need isn’t as great here. Though I was one of the thousands of IT workers at the place and we *never* left the building other than for the occasional lunch (though the cafeteria out there is pretty amazing). ;)

    That being said, a company like A&F employs a lot of college grads and 20/30 somethings. There is a constant churn of “buyers” who move here from all around the US to work at Abercrombie before either burning out or spring boarding to another company. Many of them are set up to live in German Village or the Short North usually in larger groups, so there’s probably some carpooling that naturally happens. Still, I imagine that a branded/private shuttle bus for those employees would not be completely out of the realm of possibility.

    #515665

    jeffisbiking
    Participant

    Walker said:
    True, having done the “reverse commute” myself years ago when I worked at The Limited, it wasn’t much of a hassle at all commuting from Downtown. So perhaps the need isn’t as great here. Though I was one of the thousands of IT workers at the place and we *never* left the building other than for the occasional lunch (though the cafeteria out there is pretty amazing). ;)

    That being said, a company like A&F employs a lot of college grads and 20/30 somethings. There is a constant churn of “buyers” who move here from all around the US to work at Abercrombie before either burning out or spring boarding to another company. Many of them are set up to live in German Village or the Short North usually in larger groups, so there’s probably some carpooling that naturally happens. Still, I imagine that a branded/private shuttle bus for those employees would not be completely out of the realm of possibility.

    I first thought the idea was crazy considering companies wouldn’t feel a need to run shuttles back and forth when they make employees rely on their own transportation so much already. Then I thought about my employer (Nationwide), who has big office buildings in Dublin, Lewis Center, (soon to be in) New Albany, as well as downtown. I could definitely see them running shuttles between their locations for meetings (especially downtown). Granted, this might not help as much for the commute from home to the office, but the idea intrigued me.

    #515666

    dubdave00
    Participant

    I like the idea but until companies see a competitive advantage or face losing great talent (Over an unwillingness to drive for 20 minutes), not sure they’ll front the money.

    Apple, Google, Twitter, etc are fighting to keep employees from jumping ship between each other. Not sure that’s as big here between our big companies.

    #515667
    Steve
    Steve
    Participant

    I contacted my employer about getting a shuttle to wait at the local COTA stop (in New Albany), let alone shuttle employees from downtown. The issue was that the schedules of the employees varies greatly.

    It’s true, as well. COTA doesn’t come to New Albany enough in the morning (only once or twice) and doesn’t leave at convenient enough times. In short, it’s not frequent enough. But that makes sense, because the demand isn’t high enough from Downtown to NA.

    Nonetheless, getting my employer (one of the initially mentioned) to shuttle employees from downtown is a different beast entirely. Also, which route would the bus take? A lot of the employees are primarily concentrated in the downtown area, but that’s also a large area. I would be willing to walk about 15 minutes to get to the shuttle, but add in the extra commute time on the shuttle and we’re talking 2x the travel time all whilst already owning a car… I think it would be easier to just get started on a light-rail system than to convince our employers to start a shuttle system…

    Something to think about, though, and I’m glad I’m not the only one that has been thinking about this.

    #515668
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    stephentszuter said:
    The issue was that the schedules of the employees varies greatly.

    Really?

    At the big corporate job I previously worked probably 90% of the building started between 8 and 9 and finished between 5 and 6. Very little variation.

    #515669

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Really?

    At the big corporate job I previously worked probably 90% of the building started between 8 and 9 and finished between 5 and 6. Very little variation.

    Pretty much my experience at the 2 corporations I worked for. International and west coast desks not withstanding.

    #515670
    Steve
    Steve
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Really?

    At the big corporate job I previously worked probably 90% of the building started between 8 and 9 and finished between 5 and 6. Very little variation.

    You can argue either way, but yeah, I tend to agree with you. I wasn’t about to argue with the man about plausibility…

    I’m usually in at around 7am and leave at around 5pm, but the more common work hours are around 8am to 6pm (gone are the eight-hour work days). I digress.

    I know we’re discussing shuttles here, but the issue with taking COTA out to the boonies (N’albany) is that there is only one bus in the morning, and it takes an hour on the bus to get to the stop. Once at the stop, there is another 3 miles to go before we get to the stop. Not to mention I would need to get to the stop on Broad and High on time, which would require either a twenty minute walk or waiting for the bus long enough to get there, which would probably also take 20 minutes. So it can be up to 3.5x as long as my driving trip…

    I know we all know the challenges that COTA faces and all of the issues involved therein, so I’m not going to get into that. My brother in Chicago has a very similar situation right now, though. He lives in Chicago, but commutes all the way to basically the border of Wisconsin. His employer has some shuttles waiting at the local train station so that they can get to and from their buildings and the train station.

    It’s a pretty nice setup, and it seems to me to be much more plausible than to convince employers to provide transportation for them for long distances like that.

    But I’m having trouble convincing my employer to do the minimum and supply a bus shuttle from in-town at the COTA stop…

    It would be pretty nice, though. I think I would try it out here and there and if I liked it (and it were an express route), I think it wouldn’t do too poorly.

    Because you’re right–the younger urbanites that work at the suburban locations are more open to public transportation than previous generations. Which I’m sure you all already know. I digress. Again.

    #1108863

    News
    Participant

    Thursday, December 10, 2015
    Real Estate Giant: Suburban Office Parks Increasingly Obsolete
    by Angie Schmitt

    What tenants want in an office building is changing, and the old model of the isolated suburban office park is going the way of the fax machine. That’s according to a new report from Newmark, Grubb, Knight and Frank [PDF], one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world.

    READ MORE: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2015/12/10/real-estate-giant-suburban-office-parks-increasingly-obsolete/

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