Last Day to Tell ODOT What Kind of Transit We Want in Ohio!

June 30th, 2014

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has designed a survey that lets you weigh in on what the state’s transit priorities should be. All Ohioans are encouraged to take the online survey by June 30, 2014 (today!).

Visit ohiotransitsurvey.com to let them know your transit preferences and please share the survey with your networks!

For more information about ODOT’s Transit Needs Study, go to www.TransitNeedsStudy.ohio.gov.

GOPC Applauds Transportation Reform in Pennsylvania

February 12th, 2014

The Greater Ohio Policy Center sends its belated congratulation to our smart growth colleague 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania for leading a diverse coalition of stakeholders in successfully advocating for a $2.3 billion state transportation package in Pennsylvania.

In late 2013, Republican Governor, Tom Corbett, signed a bill that was advanced by the Republican-controlled legislature.  Under this transportation funding bill, Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation will:

  • Creates a multi-modal fund that grows from $30 to $144 million over a 5-year period, to which bicycle and pedestrian projects can apply for funding; and sets an annual minimum of $2 million of that fund to be spent on bicycle and pedestrian facilities;
  • new revenue streams for transit will generate $49 million to $60 million statewide in the current fiscal year and $476 million to $497 million in year five.
  • Funding for repairing deficient bridges and roads

This package is expected create 50,000 new jobs and preserve 12,000 existing jobs, according to the Governor’s office.

Funding for this work will come from the gradual elimination of the limit on the wholesale tax on gasoline, and increased fees on licenses, permits and traffic tickets.

Together, multi-modal advocates, road contractors, business leaders and policymakers made the economic case for this visionary, game-changing budget.  GOPC congratulates all advocates and applauds Pennsylvania’s General Assembly and Governor.

Transportation for America

December 13th, 2013

On December 4th, GOPC participated in an all-day event convened by Transportation for America, a program of Smart Growth America. The workshop brought together representatives from national organizations, state organizations—such as GOPC—and local organizations, which are interested in effecting state-level transportation reform.

Although about half of the states represented have strong multi-modal transportation systems and are focused on preserving and expanding these systems, GOPC was joined by other states that are still fighting to set up viable multi-modal systems.  Despite these differences, all attendees found the workshop extremely useful.  Among the highlights, GOPC and its peers learned of model legislative language that could help advance reform in their states and met other advocates who have helpful stories and lessons learned from their experiences.

GOPC looks forward to continuing this conversation and strengthening connections to peers across the country as we all work to expand and sustainably support transportation options.

Columbus Welcomes CoGo Bike Share

August 2nd, 2013

 

GOPC's CoGo Station at Grant Avenue and Main Street

The city of Columbus is one of 15 bike share programs around the United States with the most recent opening being New York City.  This form of alternative transportation has become a hit in larger urban cities like Chicago and New York because of the generational shift of preferences for transportation.  The Millennial generation prefers alternatives to driving a car and bicycling offers both exercise and efficiency on roads that are becoming safer for multiple modes of transit at the same time.

Alta Bicycle Share headquartered in Portland, Oregon; will be running the bike share in Columbus with 30 stations and 300 bikes to start off.  Memberships for a year are $75 while daily membership is $6.  Greater Ohio supports increased transit options and commends the city for taking action into their own hands.

CoGo has a mobile app that offers maps, station information, and history of trips taken on your bike.  Tracking the bikes will bring information about potential expansion.

Visit http://cogobikeshare.com/ for more information!

Chicago-Columbus Passenger Rail Studied

July 17th, 2013

The Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association released the feasibility study and business plan of a potential connection for passenger rail between Columbus and Chicago.

It is important to note that there is not currently a straight highway from Columbus to Chicago as this new train route would provide.  The rail service would dramatically decrease the travel time between Columbus and Chicago in all transportation modes except air.  According to All Aboard Ohio, Columbus is the largest city in America without access to passenger rail.  The report indicates that private companies may want to invest in the project that will be 80% funded by the federal government.  This could mean that the states will not have to put much money into the project.

Below are some of the benefits of the proposed rail line:

  • 12,000 temporary jobs and 26,800 permanent jobs resulting from  this project;
  • Generate $7.1 billion in increased output for the region’s businesses;
  • Generate $6 billion worth of direct user benefits over the 30-year life of the project;
  • Start-up costs estimated at $4 million per mile vs. 10 times that for Interstate highway construction;
  • For every $1 invested in this project, an economic return of $1.70 is forecast.
  • 2.1 million riders in 2020, rising to 3.3 million by 2040, with 79% of riders diverted from cars;
  • Reduced emissions, traffic and dependence on expensive fuel; and
  • Rail fares set at 2/3 that of air fares will generate annual farebox revenue of $116 million in 2020 rising to $190 million by 2040.

Columbus gave $15,000 in the budget to help pay for the feasibility study.  The next step in the process is to conduct an EIA, known as an Environmental Impact Assessment.  The EIA will most likely be commissioned to a private firm that the states agree upon and will take a year or two to accomplish when the appropriated funds get approved which could cost a couple million of dollars.

The Columbus Dispatch reported on the rail line 7/17/2013.

Highlights from “Advancing Ohio’s Urban Agenda”

January 25th, 2013

On our journey from Cincinnati to Columbus to Cleveland for the joint ULI/GOPC/LOCUS event series, “Advancing Ohio’s Urban Agenda: Walkable Communities for Globally Competitive Cities,” trends amongst the three cities became apparent as participants engaged in the dialogue about addressing the market demand for walkable development in Ohio. We were able to capture some of these trends in both text and film (yes, videos are coming!) form and would like to share some of the key highlights with you.

Highlights from the Events:

  • Millennials (aka Generation Y) are shifting market demand and cities in Ohio must meet that demand for walkable, urban development in order to remain globally competitive.
  • As more walkable development (approximately 100-500 meters in diameter of mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development) is added to areas, their property values increase and the local market improves.
  • Transportation drives development. If developers build quality products in the right locations with access to urban-friendly transportation systems, they will get a price premium. Seventy percent of ballots across the nation to increase sales tax to fund public transportation have passed.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

Advancing Ohio’s Urban Agenda

January 18th, 2013

In Ohio and around the country, real estate developers and investors are recognizing pent-up demand for and a market shift toward sustainable, walkable urban places. Despite this paradigm shift and change in market momentum, many local, state and federal policies currently in place distort development incentives and hamper efforts to create the development consumers want and that support strong local economies. Urban developers and real estate and land use experts can align to provide state and national policy makers with expert advice on current consumer demand and the many benefits of urban and metropolitan growth strategies.

Over the past few days—January 16th and 17th—Greater Ohio traveled to Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland to co-host events with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) district councils of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, as well as LOCUS to host “Advancing Ohio’s Urban Agenda: Walkable Communities for Globally Competitive Cities,” an exclusive series featuring Christopher Leinberger, President of LOCUS—a national network of real estate developers and investors that advocates for sustainable, walkable urban development in America’s metropolitan areas.

These first-of-their-kind events in Ohio provided a forum to connect developers from urban centers across the state to discuss the demand for sustainable communities. The gatherings were a critical first step toward identifying ways to inform policymakers and ultimately help more communities across Ohio develop in ways that are sustainable for the environment, the people living in them, and their bottom lines.

Click here to read Mark Ferenchick’s Columbus Dispatch article on the Columbus event: “Walkable urban development will keep younger professionals in Columbus, expert says”.

Greater Ohio 2012 Accomplishments

January 18th, 2013

We are proud of the accomplishments we have made in 2012. To fill you in on what’s been going on at GOPC’s office and throughout the state in the past year, below is a list of our accomplishments within our three priority policy areas: Urban Core and Neighborhood Redevelopment, Transportation and Sustainable Growth, and Regional Governance Reform. Together, redeveloping our urban centers, expanding our transportation options, and fostering regional cooperation will contribute to smarter, more sustainable growth, improving our quality of life and economic competitiveness in Ohio.

URBAN CORE & NEIGHBORHOOD REDEVELOPMENT

Raising Our Statewide Profile:

  • Ohio Properties Redevelopment Institute. GOPC hosted this innovative two-day forum that promoted solutions to vacant and abandoned properties. Nearly 200 local leaders from municipalities and non-profit community development organizations across the state attended.
  • Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program. The Ohio Attorney General’s office contracted with the GOPC to provide technical assistance to communities for the Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program, which supports Ohio’s communities undertaking activities to demolish abandoned and vacant residential properties.
  • Panels and Keynotes. GOPC presented on urban revitalization issues over 20 times to a variety of audiences including Ohio code enforcement officers, Cincinnati’s Foreclosure Group, Cleveland’s Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council (VAPAC), and Heritage Ohio workshop attendees.
  • In the Media. In 2012, GOPC was quoted or cited over 50 times in Ohio’s major newspapers and other publications around the country. In one article about vacant properties, The Columbus Dispatch relied heavily on data and graphs produced by GOPC.

Read the rest of this entry »

Columbus Taking a Giant Leap Toward Multi-Modal Transit

December 14th, 2012

By John Gardocki, Greater Ohio Policy Center Intern

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman recently announced a plan to roll out the first bike share program in the state in the summer of 2013.  The metropolitan cities of Chicago, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Portland all have successful programs.  New York City and Columbus seem to be the next big ones to join in the craze. 

Managed by Alta Bicycle Share, the program will include approximately 30 stations with 10 bikes at each station for a total of 300 bicycles- however you can return the bike at any of the 30 stations located at major spots in Downtown and the surrounding communities. 

Public involvement will be integral for the locations of the bike share stations.  With the addition of the bike share program, Columbus will have an additional transit option in the downtown area for residents and business people.  Alta operates Capital Bike share in the Washington, D.C. area, Hubway in the Boston Metro, Melbourne Bike Share (Australia), and Chattanooga’s Bicycle Transit System.  Capital Bike Share has seen an increase in all types of memberships since beginning operations in 2010. 

There are many pro-bike coalitions across the U.S. that collect statistics to compare with other modes of transportation.  It is important to document the statistics of bicycling so people can see whether or not it will be beneficial for them to switch modes of transportation.  Bikes Belong is an organization devoted to increasing the amount of bikers on the roads.  Bike commuters report lower stress and greater feelings of freedom, relaxation, and excitement than car commuters. Appleton, M., 2011 While Columbus has a relatively stress-free commute compared to other metropolitan cities; it still puts a hamper on people’s behaviors.

Bike share is a cost effective solution for urban center residents and workers to commute sustainably.  The Bureau of Transportation Statistics in 2010 stated, “The average American household spends $7,179 per year on owning and driving their cars. Cost savings for riding a bicycle are incredible especially if it is done on a daily basis.”

With the implementation of the bike share Columbus will not only be providing more transit options; but also improving the region’s health by reducing carbon emissions and encouraging exercise.  With more people bicycling on the streets, drivers should be more willing to share the road thus making it safer for all types of transportation modes.  This exciting development will be watched closely as implementation occurs because Columbus residents have been seeking greater investment into transportation choices.

Want More Transportation Options in Ohio? Let ODOT Know in this Survey!

July 18th, 2012

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is currently writing its long-term transportation plan called Access Ohio 2040. You can participate in their stakeholder engagement process by going to this link and clicking “Take the Access Ohio Survey.” Let them know your priorities for transportation in Ohio!

At Greater Ohio, we support investing in fix-it-first strategies for Ohio’s existing transportation infrastructure and finding more sustainable funding sources for our public transit systems.

By increasing our state’s transportation options with increased bus, rail, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, we can reduce our dependency on and need for new and expanded roads. Not only will a comprehensive transportation system limit the cost of infrastructure to taxpayers in the long term, but also decrease traffic congestion, fossil fuel consumption, and health issues related to inactivity. Building more robust public transportation systems will also help create jobs and boost economic development in the state, because people and businesses want to locate in areas that are accessible by more means than just cars. As the price of fossil fuels continues to escalate, it’s time that as a state, we build a more sustainable system of transportation.

You can help make a difference for the future of transportation in Ohio by taking this survey and letting ODOT know your priorities for transportation in Ohio.