Columbus demands an alternative mass transit system. Downtown parking is an issue. Gas prices are at an all-time high. An environmentally-beneficial streetcar system is exactly what Columbus needs to provide connectivity, spur economic development, encourage a pedestrian-friend downtown and enhance downtown as a sense of place.
The Columbus Streetcar will essentially be a monorail on the ground. Powered by electricity, streetcars are single-car transit vehicles that run on railed mixed with car traffic on city streets. With approximately 100,000 downtown employees, 30,000 students attending college downtown, 4,500 downtown residents and over 1 million conventioneers visiting downtown annually, the streetcar system will link these potential riders to attractions, destinations, neighborhoods and offices.
The streetcar will connect the Ohio State University area to the Brewery District, and the Arena District to the Discovery District (see Possible Streetcar Routes link below). It will not only be a catalyst to get from point A to point B, but also a catalyst for economic development. Portland, Charlotte, Tampa, Memphis and several other cities currently have operating streetcar systems. Each of them report substantial development along their streetcar routes. In fact, Portland has reported $2.28 billion of new development because of its streetcar line. Columbus has experienced over $2 billion in development since 2000 and Columbus streetcars will only amplify development in downtown Columbus, the heart of our city.
While the desirability and feasibility of streetcars in Columbus is being examined, the Mayor has asked the community, especially young professionals, to educate others about its benefits. As we strive to move away from being a car-reliable city towards a sustainable city, streetcars are a good choice for Columbus.
Possible Streetcar Routes: http://downtowncolumbus.com/publications/DCSWG7PossibleRoutesMap.pdf