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.

Columbus History: Streetcars

Posted by Columbus Transit On 1:53 PM

While the recent Streetcar plan for Columbus may have seemed like a radical new step in the city's transportation infrastructure, it was actually taken largely from the past. For those of you who do not know, Columbus - like most cities in the United States - can trace its growth in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries to the expansion of its streetcar network.

Streetcars in Columbus first arrived in a non-motorized form. They were horse-drawn wagons riding rails embedded in the street. With the dawn of the electric trolley, Columbus quickly upgraded its fleet of vehicles, in four years moving completely to an electric system. Streetcars rumbled up and down the center of most Columbus streets including High, 4th, Summit, East Broad, Goodale, Parsons, and Cleveland. Run by private companies, these streetcar lines were often laid into open fields which those same companies would then develop with housing and retail. These lines encouraged retail corridor streets to follow them while encouraging housing further from the retail core. In many ways, streetcars encouraged the earliest generation of urban sprawl because they allowed the growth of urban neighborhoods beyond the city center.

While the workers on the streetcar system held a number of strikes, the most violent in Columbus' history happened in 1910. Hoping for higher wages and union recognition, the streetcar workers walked out on April 29. The Columbus Railway and Light Company brought in 450 strike breakers from Cleveland and violence ensued. 24 streetcars were destroyed over the course of the strike which calmed down only in July with the arrival of the National Guard and fully ended in October of that year. A historic marker is located on Long Street commemorating the event.

By 1914 the Columbus streetcar system had returned to full operation, and its lines were so popular that the company experimented with a double-decker streetcar. While the car had a greater capacity, its single door entrance actually made the process of entering and exiting equally as difficult and the car was scrapped.

With the coming of the bus, the streetcar system began a 'modernization' effort. The last Columbus streetcar ran in 1948.

1 Response to "Columbus History: Streetcars"

  1. AJ Said,

    Excellent postcard find!


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