Study says high capacity transit needed in central Ohio with population expected to double by 2050

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A new study released Tuesday says focused, compact growth makes sense for central Ohio as the region’s population is expected to double to three million people by the year 2050.

The “Corridor Concepts”  report was prepared for Insight 2050, a public-private partnership created to help the area prepare for growth.  It identifies five corridors that could benefit from focused investment and high capacity transit options:

East Main St. Corridor – From SR 256 in Reynoldsburg to Downtown Columbus via East Main St

Northeast Corridor – From Polaris Parkway to Downtown Columbus via Cleveland Avenue

Northwest Corridor – From US 33 at Post Rd. to Downtown Columbus via Sawmill, Bethel and Olentangy

Southeast Corridor – From Rickenbacker to Downtown Columbus via Alum Creek and Parsons

West Broad St. Corridor – From Norton Rd. to Downtown Columbus via West Broad St.

The study says investing in economic development along large corridors increases the number of homes with access to jobs, reduces per household costs and cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent.

Steve Schoeny, Columbus Development Director, says the city has opportunities to connect people to jobs and jobs to people in ways that other cities will envy. “It’s something that employers are looking at,” Schoeny said. “It’s something that employers, as they look at the city they say, ‘my most important supply chain is how my people get to work because that’s the most important component to my business’.”

The Corridor Concept suggests dedicating right-of-way and curb space for high-capacity transit to move people more efficiently.

COTA’s C-Max buses use smart technology to connect with the traffic lights making the trips up and down Cleveland Ave. faster and more efficient. It does not have a dedicated right-of-way but COTA CEO Joanna Pinkerton says the C-Max line has been a success. “We’re already seeing an increased ridership of more than 20 percent along that line just by reorienting this system as it was,” Pinkerton said.

Architect Peter Calthorpe, one of the authors of the report says the corridor concept is about community and connectivity. “It’s not density, it’s not living on tracks, it’s living in walkable communities, places where people can connect with each other and they can connect easily with their local destinations.”

See the Corridor Concepts report here:

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