GOPC Speaks at Legacy City Event

December 27th, 2012

On December 11, 2012, Greater Ohio Policy Center’s Executive Director Lavea Brachman joined a panel of urban experts at the “Revitalizing the Legacy Cities of Upstate New York” convening.  The panel held at Syracuse University, opened the two day event, discussing shared challenges and new strategies “legacy cities” can utilize to become globally competitive, build a world class innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, and be more innovative with vacant property and land.

 Brachman stressed the importance of collaboration between legacy cities in disseminating best practices and new polices.  Brachman also spoke of the need for cities to work more regionally and convince people of the center city’s connectedness to a region’s strength.  

 For more information about the event, visit the SyracuseU Live twitter feed.

Common Ground, Not Battleground

December 27th, 2012

By Lavea Brachman, Executive Director, Greater Ohio Policy Center

With the aftermath of the election barely behind us and the so-called “fiscal cliff” looming, political polarization seems unabated.  But beneath the surface and beyond the drama of the national election in “battleground Ohio,” Ohio is less divided in ways that matter to economic progress.  As a bipartisan state policy organization, we are privileged to observe the similarities of governing and good policies among policymakers of both parties.

First, the urban-rural divide characterizing Ohio for decades has quietly and gradually begun to fade away.  Seven major regions in the state exist now, centered around cities. Rural places are increasingly economically dependent on the urban areas and their satellites.  But benefits extend in both directions- for example, urban Columbus-ites enjoy the proximity of the Hocking Hills while those in the Appalachian region benefit from health care and spin off jobs from the city.

Second, for over a decade, policymakers have been turning these regions into the building blocks of the new economy.  Democratic and Republican governors alike embraced the concepts found in a seminal report completed in the mid-2000’s during the Taft Administration, identifying key economic regions in the state and critical industries. A regional economic development approach was initiated under Governor Strickland with now Governor Kasich working on economic redevelopment through on-the-ground regional organizations. While implementation scenarios vary, regional economic growth efforts – corresponding loosely to metropolitan regions — are starting to take hold.
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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.