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Old 03-14-2011, 02:26 AM
 
1,257 posts, read 687,027 times
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I really don't think that High St. needs it. While it would be aesthetically pleasing, there still isn't the density necessary along High St to support it. Most traffic along High St. is local, and it's rarely heavy, and COTA services it well.

I just really don't see the need for LTR in Columbus - sorry. Traffic is not really an issue here, and before even moving to that, I would rather see dedicated bus lanes and an expansion of COTA first.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by db108108 View Post
I really don't think that High St. needs it. While it would be aesthetically pleasing, there still isn't the density necessary along High St to support it. Most traffic along High St. is local, and it's rarely heavy, and COTA services it well.

I just really don't see the need for LTR in Columbus - sorry. Traffic is not really an issue here, and before even moving to that, I would rather see dedicated bus lanes and an expansion of COTA first.
If you are going to Worthington on the COTA, it is a pain in the rear. The bus doesn't even go to Lewis Center. It turns around at the Crosswoods development at 270.

Lewis Center, like Polaris, is the future of Columbus. The burbs are booming, there is already a lot of commercial space, and office parks are soon to follow. The Columbus Zoo is close to Lewis Center.

The LRT connected to other lines that would run along Morse and 161 with a line along Cleveland Ave would be a boon. The knock on Columbus is its reliance on cars and how spread out it is, but the northside is where most people choose to live. Making Easton accessible for campus kids and those who live in Columbus' walkable areas places the city in a fantastic position. Few cities in the midwest or south could compete with Columbus' combination of a hip, historic urban core and great accessibility to the city's amenities that aren't walkable. Short North, Campus, Clintonville, Graceland, Worthington.....there is enough demand for LRT on North High St. The real benefit of LRT on High would be the advancements the city would see on South High. The High St. corridor through German Village is woefully underutilized. I realize there are a number of historic mansions on the street, but as a whole it feels disorganized and neglected in comparison to the planning on High north of downtown.

East Main and Livingston would be other points of interest for LRT. A streetcar looping Long St. and East Broad (to Nelson) could spark development on the eastside. Columbus just has to think proactively.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:15 PM
 
1,257 posts, read 687,027 times
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I'm still going to disagree with with.

COTA can realign its routes if access to Polaris is really that much of a problem, and dedicated bus lanes are a much more viable, and much cheaper alternative to LRT.

And given the current width of High St from the Short North through Clintonville, I don't even see where they'd put LRT. You can put it off of High St, but that really defeats the purpose. And if it has to compete with traffic, then that really defeats any advantages it would have over a bus.

When I lived in San Diego, I absolutely loved the Trolley... until you get to downtown and the Trolley looses its dedicated right of ways. In stop and go traffic, LRT is no better than a bus. Maybe worse, because it can't be detoured.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
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The time to move forward with some kind of train system in central Ohio was back in the 1970s, before the city's sprawl really took off and a lot of the development seen today wasn't there--particularly outside of 270. Columbus is just tremendously spread out; for a light rail system to have an appreciable impact on traffic it would need to be much more extensive than simply a few lines emanating out from the inner city, and unfortunately the demand doesn't exist to do that.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:03 AM
 
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^^LRT and streetcars are less about traffic and more about access and development. Columbus is very big, but mostly funneled by wide arteries such as Broad, Main, High, Morse, Cleveland, Livingston, Brice, etc...you could provide a ton of access just by running LRT along just those streets.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
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Originally Posted by blowingdown View Post
^^LRT and streetcars are less about traffic and more about access and development. Columbus is very big, but mostly funneled by wide arteries such as Broad, Main, High, Morse, Cleveland, Livingston, Brice, etc...you could provide a ton of access just by running LRT along just those streets.
Yeah, I know the arteries that serve Columbus.

I guess my question is "is the lack of rail inhibiting development"? I don't really see that it is--Columbus is a car-centric city, and people have been managing just fine. And don't get me wrong, I'm a significant proponent of public transportation. I haven't driven a car to work in four years, and until I changed jobs recently here in DC I was either taking Metro or biking to work on a daily basis.

But DC's not a good comp to Columbus--DC is very dense and walkable, the Metro is extensive, and it is supported by a network of other transit options including buses, "circulator" bus lines (that behave more like light rail), bike sharing and, soon, streetcar lines. And DC has abysmal traffic, which is a tremendous disincentive to drive anywhere. That's what makes public transit in a city like DC a feasible option.

I don't see the same factors in Columbus. It's not that I wouldn't love for an extensive transit network to be developed there, it's that throwing a few light rail lines along some major arteries isn't likely to have an appreciable impact, on either developent or traffic. It's far too easy to get around in Columbus by car--what people consider to be bad traffic in Columbus is laughable to someone on the east coast, and the downtown hourly parking rates are peanuts compared to what other major cities charge. Outside of the novelty factor, there just isn't sufficient incentive to ditch the car and jump on a streetcar in Columbus.

Personally, if I was in charge of regional transit planning for Columbus, I'd be dumping a whole lot more money and resources into COTA and build it up to a first-class bus system. Everyone talks about the subway in DC, but the bus system is fantastic and extensive as well. I think a system similar to DC's Circulator lines (DC Circulator) could serve in the same capacity as the proposed light rail system, would be more affordable, and more expandable if the system takes off.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 14thandYou View Post
Yeah, I know the arteries that serve Columbus.

I guess my question is "is the lack of rail inhibiting development"? I don't really see that it is--Columbus is a car-centric city, and people have been managing just fine. And don't get me wrong, I'm a significant proponent of public transportation. I haven't driven a car to work in four years, and until I changed jobs recently here in DC I was either taking Metro or biking to work on a daily basis.

But DC's not a good comp to Columbus--DC is very dense and walkable, the Metro is extensive, and it is supported by a network of other transit options including buses, "circulator" bus lines (that behave more like light rail), bike sharing and, soon, streetcar lines. And DC has abysmal traffic, which is a tremendous disincentive to drive anywhere. That's what makes public transit in a city like DC a feasible option.

I don't see the same factors in Columbus. It's not that I wouldn't love for an extensive transit network to be developed there, it's that throwing a few light rail lines along some major arteries isn't likely to have an appreciable impact, on either developent or traffic. It's far too easy to get around in Columbus by car--what people consider to be bad traffic in Columbus is laughable to someone on the east coast, and the downtown hourly parking rates are peanuts compared to what other major cities charge. Outside of the novelty factor, there just isn't sufficient incentive to ditch the car and jump on a streetcar in Columbus.

Personally, if I was in charge of regional transit planning for Columbus, I'd be dumping a whole lot more money and resources into COTA and build it up to a first-class bus system. Everyone talks about the subway in DC, but the bus system is fantastic and extensive as well. I think a system similar to DC's Circulator lines (DC Circulator) could serve in the same capacity as the proposed light rail system, would be more affordable, and more expandable if the system takes off.
The COTA can be painful if you have to rely on it. Columbus is the size of four D.C's. Taking the bus from James to Mt.Vernon is going to take forever, just as taking a bus up High will take all day long. Columbus is in a great position, in the midwest (Ohio at that) and growing rapidly. I don't see it being a sound strategy to fall behind any more in the sector of transit. Transit is what takes Columbus out of that "friend territory" and plops it into a very desirable realm for young people that normally would gravitate toward Chicago, Boston and the West Coast.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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Light rail is one of those issues that really shows how Columbus (and Ohio in general) can't get anything right. If Columbus was planning for a viable interurban system to get people from the surrounding suburbs into downtown then I would be all for it. But, instead the last plan I saw was for some white elephant that would do nothing but go up and down High Street. Huh? Who is going to use it? What is someone supposed to do, drive to downtown, find parking, deal with the meter Nazis, and then use the light rail to do...what? What was the point? I'm sorry, but bad projects should be rejected by the voters.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
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Originally Posted by blowingdown View Post
The COTA can be painful if you have to rely on it. Columbus is the size of four D.C's. Taking the bus from James to Mt.Vernon is going to take forever, just as taking a bus up High will take all day long. Columbus is in a great position, in the midwest (Ohio at that) and growing rapidly. I don't see it being a sound strategy to fall behind any more in the sector of transit. Transit is what takes Columbus out of that "friend territory" and plops it into a very desirable realm for young people that normally would gravitate toward Chicago, Boston and the West Coast.
I wouldn't want it to fall behind in transit either, but I think you need to be smart about it. I'm not convinced that the streetcar line plans that have been on the books for years are all that "smart". And if distance and sprawl is a concern, streetcars won't help overcome that--they function much like buses, with perhaps fewer stops and a greater capacity. It would still take a long time to go from James to Mt. Vernon in a streetcar, provided you even *could* go from James to Mt. Vernon in a streetcar.

Focusing on the ongoing development of the bus system, however, would be a smart move. Add buses and frequency, develop more limited-run stops, develop new routes along busy corridors that are simple and easily marketed, implement technology to give buses signal priority, develop bus-only transitways along busy thoroughfares....there's a lot that you could do that isn't currently being done.

Once that is done, then you can reevaluate the entire system and see whether some kind of light rail/street car system makes sense along particularly busy corridors and lines. But I wouldn't start there.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
3,548 posts, read 4,670,366 times
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Originally Posted by OhioHillJack View Post
Light rail is one of those issues that really shows how Columbus (and Ohio in general) can't get anything right. If Columbus was planning for a viable interurban system to get people from the surrounding suburbs into downtown then I would be all for it. But, instead the last plan I saw was for some white elephant that would do nothing but go up and down High Street. Huh? Who is going to use it? What is someone supposed to do, drive to downtown, find parking, deal with the meter Nazis, and then use the light rail to do...what? What was the point? I'm sorry, but bad projects should be rejected by the voters.
I laregly agree with this. I never quite got the point of developing a single line that basically runs up and down the densest part of High Street. OK, so you're making it easier for someone in south campus to get downtown--but why do you need to invest in the development of a streetcar line in order to accomplish that? It would seem that expanding COTA's high Street loop service, or perhaps marketing a separate bus transit line altogether, could accomplish largely the same goals at a much cheaper cost.
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