It’s been well over a year since I wrote anything about COTA’s proposed Cleveland Avenue bus rapid transit (BRT) line. In that post, COTA had just announced the study and I was speculating about what would be included. Now that the study is finished, we know more about the design. According to COTA’s public presentation, it will include:
- Buses in mixed traffic
- BRT stations (except for downtown and north of SR 161)
- Signal priority
- Level boarding
- Special branding of service
- Frequent service (BRT will operate every 10 minutes in peak periods and every 15 minutes in off-peak periods. Local service will continue to operate every 30 minutes)
The map below shows the route. There would be five stops on High Street, one at Nationwide Blvd & High Street, and three on Naughten or Mt. Vernon. The BRT stations start north of there, with 23 stops in the 8.8 miles up to Columbus Square Shopping Center. That’s an average stop spacing of 0.38 miles. That’s more stops than I would like to see on a BRT line, but it’s expected given that the line will still have to accommodate much of the local service given the planned low frequency (30 minute headway) of the #1. Travel times are still projected to decrease by 20 percent and ridership is expected to increase by 15 to 30 percent, so that’s very good.
So when will this be done? COTA was scheduled to submit to the FTA in August. If they get a grant, then construction can begin in 2014 and service can begin in 2016. Hopefully if COTA gets FTA approval, they will start working on other corridors – like High Street, Broad Street, Main Street, and Livingston Avenue – before 2016. It would be nice to see a comprehensive plan for BRT routes radiating in all directions that can create the capacity needed to move towards a frequent transit grid that could also reduce bus congestion downtown.