Saturday, March 22, 2008

Light/Commuter Rail in Columbus

Light Rail in Columbus
Back in November, th0m posted the map above on the Columbus Underground site as a demonstration of what a light rail map for the Columbus area could look like if regional planners were to try to take on such an ambitious project.

As th0m notes, there are no routes to the northeast side of the metro leaving Westerville and New Albany out of the plan.

I also wonder, whether you like Easton or not, if it should be included in any rail plan solely on its growth not only as a retail hub but because of the number of corporate offices located there -- and given the Disney feel that you get from Easton, maybe a Disney-like Monorail is more appropriate. Probably running a branch from CMH would do the trick.

Commuter Rail In Columbus
To carry the idea further, Transportation Engineer John Wirtz proposed another map today on the Xing Columbus site that extends rail transportation into more a Commuter Rail system stretching out to Delaware in the north, Newark in the east, London to the west, and Athens to the southeast.

Being a suburbanite that drives to OSU every day, I would gladly trade the freedom of a car for the convenience and cost savings that would occur from a rail commute into Columbus.

For the most part, these maps utilize existing tracks that make the reality of this concept something within reason - albeit a significant community investment.

Put a coffee shop by the rail station in Powell and it would mean a painless and much more productive trip into the city each day.

It's now been several years and $2.00 more per gallon of gas that these ideas were first discussed and discarded. However, now, at this moment, there seems to be a growing need to renew the conversation on this issue with the combination of growing congestion on the freeways and the cost of filling up a tank of gas.

Streetcars Are The First Step
The first step seems to be to develop a Streetcar line that will initially run from the OSU campus down High Street to the Courthouse just north the 70/71. Mayor Coleman will detail the financing plan for the Streetcars at a meeting in the City Council Chambers on Thursday, March 27th at 6:00 pm.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has been strong advocating for this idea for quite some time and spoke about it extensively at his State of the City speech earlier this month as well on WOSU 820's Open Line with Fred Andrle on Friday.

Hat tip to Walker for his strong advocacy and aggregation of information regarding this critical transportation issue.


Andrew said...

Tim- Very nice wrap up of this topic and the current work going on in different parts of the blog world and local world.

Dawn said...

Thank you for this -- sending it to everyone in my Columbus address book!

Jason Gonzales said...

If such a train system allowed for bikes (like Chicago does), we could really and truly take our city to the gold standard!