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.

Could Cincinnati Derail Ohio's Plans?

Posted by Columbus Transit On 10:46 AM
Cincinnati is poised to derail the state-wide and regional plans for intercity and high-speed rail through one organization's anti-rail tirade and another organization's lack of oversight.

Cincinnati has been planning for some time to build a streetcar loop through its downtown, but anti-transit and anti-tax groups have been gathering to defeat the proposal. COAST, Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, and Cincinnati's local chapter of the NAACP have teamed up to force a ballot question on the issue. The NAACP believes the money will be better used elsewhere in the city, while COAST is largely opposed to all government ventures of the type. Together, the two have successfully petitioned to get a charter amendment on the ballot, but if approved, the measure would have unintended consequences.

The NAACP and COAST's petition asks for a vote on ALL passenger rail initiatives within the city. That is, any time a passenger rail line is proposed, it must be approved by voters before it can be built. Rather than limiting the scope to the streetcar as was the NAACP's motive, COAST has made an underhanded attempt to require ballot approval on all passenger rail. If passed, this petition will mean that Cincinnati citizens will need to approve the 3-C Corridor and the Ohio Hub, pushing back the implementation of such plans for months. Given the nature of the stimulus bill which calls for swift ventures, a required ballot approval, which could delay the process by 10 to 12 months, could scuttle Ohio's attempt to be incorporated into a high-speed rail system. And that is even if voters approve the measure! If they were not to approve the plan, would a Columbus-Cleveland line still be effective? Or would the 3-C corridor be scrapped and any high speed rail terminate in Cleveland? Yet despite the sweeping consequences of the ballot measure, the groups rallying for it are billing it as a strictly streetcar-focused matter, confusing the public.

This ballot measure has consequences for almost every citizen of the state because we would all benefit from the implementation and economic benefits of high-speed rail and the federal dollars that come with it. Even some media outlets in the city opposed to the streetcar line have also come out in opposition to the ballot petition for its ability to hamper development. This is something CBT will watch closely. The vote will take place on the November 2009 ballot.

46 Response to "Could Cincinnati Derail Ohio's Plans?"

  1. John Said,

    Good post. I guess we'll just have to end the line in Hamilton, OH or something and everyone in Cincinnati can take the bus.


  2. I don't know if there would have to be a city-wide vote on that tho! :-O


  3. Randy Simes Said,

    The amendment's language is even worse than you illustrate here. If the Anti-Passenger Rail Amendment is approved then it would require voter approval for the spending of any monies by the City for passenger rail related projects. That would include preliminary studies and the like.

    That means that if the City were to look to apply for grants to fund a rail system, they would first have to get voter approval on a hypothetical issue so that they could use City Staff time on putting together the grant applications. This would seriously stall, and in reality, stop any rail project in its tracks (pardon the pun). Tt's an absurd ballot initiative and its being driven by hyper-conservative special interest groups in Cincinnati that worked tirelessly to defeat Cincinnati's light rail plan in 2002. We could certainly use as much help as possible as the November election nears.


  4. That is just ridiculous Randy! Do you happen to know any groups formed against the ballot measure that I may be able to blog about?


  5. Randy, there is no need to make stuff up. Here is the language (which I oppose):

    Be it resolved by the people of the City of Cincinnati that a new Article XVI of the Charter is hereby added as follows: The City, and its various Boards and Commissions, may not spend any monies for right-of-way acquisition or construction of improvements for passenger rail transportation (e.g., a trolley or streetcar) within the city limits without first submitting the question of approval of such expenditure to a vote of the electorate of the City and receiving a majority affirmative vote for the same.

    Grant applications are not "right of way acquisitions" or "construction of improvements."


  6. JonWhite40 Said,

    The conservative headlock around Cincinnati really really prevents it from being a vibrant city.


  7. Columbus Transit,

    Not all of Cincinnati agrees with the anti-everything COAST and NAACP. Check out which has formed to oppose this ballot issue. We don't want to stop the 3C Corridor from happening, we would very much like to be a part of it.


  8. jennifer Said,

    Cincinnati, as a whole, hates anything new or progressive. But I agree with previous posters...not all of us are that way. It's especially frustrating when it is so simple to see how this would benefit us, but in a city where public transportation is thought of as a novelty by most, things don't look good.


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