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.

Connecting Columbus

Posted by Columbus Transit On 10:54 PM
Columbus is a fantastic city full of lively districts, beautiful urban neighborhoods, and a hip urban feel. Citizens, tourists, and agencies can talk about our Arts District, Brewery District, or Arena District. We attract national attention with our massive University and cool Midwestern feel. Despite our multiple and successful areas, the city's downtown lags behind the surrounding areas in terms of development. While the up-and-coming housing projects are building hope for a renewed downtown, the connections between the city center and its surrounding areas need to be improved.

Columbus has many large population centers directly next to the downtown. The Short North and German village immediately come to mind. Despite these districts, the downtown does not attract huge crowds from these populations. Why? I believe one reason is the unsightly divides between our districts. Rather than flowing from one area of the city to the next, we have cut the downtown apart with highways and dead zones. Check out what I mean:
  1. High Street between Nationwide and Vine. While I briefly discussed the dead zone when discussing the green aspect of downtown, it deserves a second look. This area seems to be one of the most important to fully develop. As the gateway between Downtown, the Arena District, and the Short North, it is remarkably underdeveloped. Situated over roads and rail, there are no buildings to speak of, killing this section of high and locking pedestrians into their respective areas. While the Convention Center takes up some space, its high, often-windowless walls makes the walk boring.
  2. High Street between Fulton and Livingston. This overpass cuts the Brewery District and the German Village from Downtown. The loud, dead area stops free movement.
  3. Broad Street crossing I-71. This overpass is equally as unsightly.
  4. High Street in front of One Nationwide Plaza. Despite all Nationwide has given to the community, its home office hinders downtown development. The massive park out front is an asset during the day, but does not attract life at night. Rather than shops or buildings against the sidewalk, the park looks dark and menacing.
These dead zones stop movement. They keep the large populations around downtown from venturing into the city. There are some fantastic examples of how to repair this. The High Street cap over I-670 is a great way of connecting the convention center to the Short North, and that type of development should be duplicated across the city, especially to the overpasses that cut downtown apart.

There is a bright spot. The Dispatch published pictures (click see slideshow on the right of the page) showing ideas for how best to make Downtown walkable by developing in-fill and covering unsightly areas. The pictures below (including one before and after set) show some of their ideas. These type of developments could be the future of connecting downtown and pulling the surrounding areas into the city.

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