Transit Columbus Pushes for New Circulator, Ballot Measure in 2020
Local advocacy group Transit Columbus has released a new policy agenda that calls for — among other things — a second Downtown circulator and a 2020 ballot measure to raise money for transit improvements.
Josh Lapp, Board Chair of Transit Columbus, says that they’ve dubbed the proposed circulator the DBUS, a play on the existing CBUS, a free shuttle that runs north-south through Downtown, connecting the Brewery District and the Short North.
A second route would “fill in some circulation gaps in (the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s) Downtown network,” he says, while also providing a link between the proposed Columbus Crew stadium development and the Discovery District, which is full of parking lots that are underutilized outside of regular business hours.
The route would also provide improved access to Columbus State, the Main Library, the Columbus College of Art and Design, Franklin University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The idea behind the ballot initiative, on the other hand, is to provide a source of funding that could be used both to improve the bus network and to build the kind of “high-capacity transit” that is recommended in the recently-released Corridor Concepts study.
Other ideas emphasized in the Transit Columbus agenda include a proposal to convert all of Front Street Downtown to a two-way street (something the City of Columbus once planned to do but has not carried out), and a plea to try out some new traffic calming measures on South High Street in the Brewery District.
A wide-ranging list of policies round out the document, all aimed at improving the experience of cyclists, pedestrians and transit users in Columbus.
“It is a well-thought-out agenda that combines some big ideas with more immediate steps that will help make Columbus a more sustainable and socially equitable city,” says Dr. Harvey Miller, Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis.
“A 2020 ballot initiative is sorely needed, and I think could be successful,” he adds. “People are starting to get the need for alternatives to driving, especially as the city continue to grow.”
Overall, the focus on physical improvements and figuring out a way to fund them is needed, according to Miller, especially at a time when so much emphasis is being place on new technology.
“Infrastructure improvements for walkability, bikability and public transit are an essential complement to Smart Columbus and other smart mobility efforts,” he explains. “We can’t solve our transportation problems just by throwing data at them: we also need basic infrastructure changes…people won’t change their transportation behavior unless they feel other choices are safe, convenient and convivial.”
For more information on the agenda, see www.transitcolumbus.org.