COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Central Ohio Transit Authority is designing rapid transit lines to go along West Broad and East Main Streets to accommodate a growing Columbus population.
The bus rapid transit lines will travel in a designated lane, making public transit commutes faster along the route. The goal is to make transportation in Columbus easy, accessible and affordable.
“That’s what we’re trying to design is a whole system of much faster, well-connected transit for our community,” said Kimberly Sharp, the Senior Director of Development with COTA.
The program is a collaboration among multiple agencies in the area, including the city of Columbus. It’s well-known that Columbus is growing, Sharp said, and rapid transit lines are a way to keep up with that growth.
“We have to move the workforce,” Sharp said. “If you’ve ever been in a pretty robust city with a lot of jobs, you’ve got to get people around in different ways. A lot of people drive, but some people want to walk and some people want to bike and plenty of people want to take transit.”
Sharp said about 3% of people in central Ohio use public transit to get to work, and that number could grow in the next few years — especially as younger people move in.
“We have a lot of people demanding more transit, especially the younger workforce,” Sharp said. “There are a lot of young folks who aren’t interested in driving. They want to live a sustainable lifestyle and it’s much more normal in a lot of other cities,” said Sharp.
The West Broad and East Main corridors will be constructed first, Sharp said, because many people in that area already use transit to commute. However, don’t expect to see anything until 2026.
“What we want to deliver is more options,” said Sharp. “People need to be able to choose how to get around, and it does relieve stress on the roadways when there are options for people to get to work.”
After the east and west corridors are complete, a northwest corridor will connect downtown Columbus with the Ohio University Dublin campus.