City Wants High-Tech Traffic Control

Posted by Columbus Transit On June - 28 - 2010

The City of Columbus wants to invest $36.8 million to purchase a high-tech system that would give traffic controllers direct access to coordinate traffic lights across the city. When traffic backs up because of an accident, congestion, or re-routing, traffic controllers could change lights with a flick of a switch to get cars moving more quickly through intersections.

COTA Offices Move Downtown

Posted by Columbus Transit On June - 28 - 2010

The Central Ohio Transit Authority moved its headquarters downtown recently into the newly remodeled building at 33 North High Street. The $13.6 million renovation of the 10-story downtown building includes a new customer-service counter where passengers can purchase tickets and extensive green features such as energy-saving lighting. COTA is in the process of applying for LEED Certification for the renovation. COTA will utilize seven of the 10 stories and will rent the other three out. Notably, the building does not include parking as COTA employees are expected to utilize the bus.

YPCOTA Kicks Off

Posted by Columbus Transit On June - 17 - 2010

Young Professionals Columbus and COTA have teamed up to encourage 'social transit' through a month-long initiative combining transit with social networking.

New Parking Meter Rates Coming

Posted by Columbus Transit On June - 17 - 2010

Crews are changing the parking meter prices and times on meters in the downtown and Short North area, as well as adding 400 new parking meters to previously free spaces. The changes come after a long debate about how best to up rates to help pay for the construction of a new convention center hotel. The original rate change, pulled from the funding plan for the shelved Columbus Streetcar initiative, upset business owners in the up-and-coming Gay Street area and downtown. A commission revised the plan which was approved and is now being implemented.

Census and Transit

Posted by Columbus Transit On 9:42 PM

A few days ago the Census Bureau released some updated figures concerning the population of US cities. While Columbus continued to grow, it was surpassed by Austin, Texas and slipped from being the country's 15th largest city to the 16th. Columbus remains, however, the largest city in the country without a form of rail transit thanks to the completion of Phoenix's light rail line. But is there a correlation between our falling rank and our city's lack of a comprehensive plan for improving our cities transportation opportunities? Perhaps. CBT looked at the five fastest growing cities in the country (by percentage) with populations over 500,000 to analyze their rail transit systems:
  1. New Orleans - The fastest growing city in the country boasts three historic street car lines as well as Amtrak service.
  2. Fort Worth - Many of the population gainers this year came from Texas and Fort Worth lead the pack in percent population growth. The city is served by both an extremely popular commuter rail line and Amtrak.
  3. Atlanta - This city has an extensive rail system which includes subway, light rail, and Amtrak as well as plans for additional routes.
  4. Charlotte - The 18th largest city in the country has put together an extensive transit vision for 2030. Already having completed a light rail line, its study includes more lines for bus rapid transit and streetcars.
  5. Denver - Denver made the list this year as the 24th largest city in the country and one of the fastest growing cities. This city has catapulted itself into the ranks of rail with 6 light rail lines and an ambitious plan, approved by taxpayers, to complete multiple more lines.
In all, these examples represent Columbus's peers. Every city is served in some way by rail transit. That these cities, complete with multiple transit options, are also the fastest growing cities both points the way for Columbus and acts as a warning. Don't be left in the dust C-bus!

8 Response to "Census and Transit"

  1. walkerevans Said,

    I would think that New Orleans would have to be discarded from the list, since the number one reason for their rapid growth is because they are still returning to "normal" pre-Katrina population levels as people either return to the city, or new people take up residence where so many had left.

    I'd be more interested to look at #6 on the list.

    All of those other cities have great examples of transit-oriented development and growth though. Very interesting.

     

  2. John Said,

    I think all of these places would be growing with or without transit. It's great that they have some transit to grow around, but I don't think a lot of people are clamoring to move to Ft. Worth just because it has two stops (both downtown) on the Trinity Railway Express or to Atlanta because they opened MARTA 30 years ago. There are other factors at play here. I would also guess that Charlotte and Denver were growing before their LRT lines were constructed. In fact, the growth was probably a reason for the transit to be built rather than the transit creating the growth.

     

  3. Jack Said,

    I also have to assume all these projects started with a better plan than any we have been presented with in columbus so far.. realisticly, the best place for Columbus to consider starting would be OSU to the convention center/downtown to the airport with the airport/downtown leg being first.. then start expanding to the areas that generate the most car traffic downtown..

     

  4. Andy T Said,

    City size/growth is such an artificial measure. Transit serves metro areas. These are all the folks ahead of us by size (http://www.census.gov/popest/metro/CBSA-est2008-pop-chg.html):

    New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
    Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI
    Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
    Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
    Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
    Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
    Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
    Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI
    Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
    San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
    Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
    Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
    San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
    St. Louis, MO-IL
    Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
    Baltimore-Towson, MD
    Denver-Aurora, CO /1
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
    Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN
    Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA
    Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH
    Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
    San Antonio, TX
    Kansas City, MO-KS
    Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
    San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

    Here are some of the folks behind us:

    Indianapolis-Carmel, IN
    Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC
    Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
    Austin-Round Rock, TX
    Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA
    Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN
    Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
    Jacksonville, FL
    Memphis, TN-MS-AR
    Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
    Richmond, VA
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
    New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA
    Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
    Birmingham-Hoover, AL
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Raleigh-Cary, NC

    We're not even the largest metro area in the state at 1.7 million. I'd have trouble putting us in the same category as Denver MSA (2.5 million), Dallas-Ft Worth MSA (6.3 million), Atlanta MSA (5.3 million).

    As far as growth goes, here's everyone that beats us numerically:

    Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
    Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
    Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
    New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
    Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI
    Austin-Round Rock, TX
    San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
    Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC
    Denver-Aurora, CO /1
    Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
    San Antonio, TX
    Raleigh-Cary, NC
    San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
    Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
    Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
    San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
    Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
    Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN
    Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
    Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA
    Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
    New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA
    Indianapolis-Carmel, IN
    Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
    McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
    Kansas City, MO-KS
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Our 1.1% growth merits a rank of 135 from the Census Bureau's list. That's a long list ahead of us - plenty of transit stinkers in that group.

     

  5. Tom Said,

    No joke: I've long thought that the best answer is a monorail.

    Denver and Houston's light rail are plagued by car-train accidents in the hundreds each year because the trains are silent and run in the streets. I forget which, but one of them had to reinforce the front of the trains because they hit cars so much (article was in the WSJ).

    Meanwhile, a monorail costs no more, but rides up and over the cars and can cut across lots of places where a train just couldn't. Several cities run them including Moscow, which clearly gets colder and more snow than we do.

     

  6. John Said,

    Fast-growing cities have public transport. So what? Did public transport cause these cities to grow fast (as the poster assumes), or did fast growth cause the cities to spend unwisely on public infrastructure (also consistent with the data), or is there no correlation between growth and public transport (how many cities with NEGATIVE growth also have rail)?

     

  7. Bart Said,

    So for the belated post.

    One blatantly missing point in this post is something called m-o-n-e-y. The cost to build these rail lines is draining these cities.

    Charolette for example, solld the tranit levy to voters by project the first rail line to be built for $250 million. Final tab: Over $500 million.

    Nearly half of Pheonix's passengers om their rail system are riding for free. Or is it free? All city workers, and ASU students have their tranit passes 100% subsidized...by who? Taxpayers.

    Hey - there will also be a "largets city without rail". If Columbus builds it, then someone else will fill that spot. Who cares? That's not a reason to build rail.

    Rail is a nice idea with one huge problem: It is simply to expensive to build and maintain.

     

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