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CMC Forum: Trains And Transit, Past And Future


Featuring Thea Walsh Ewing, Director of Transportation and Infrastructure, MORPC and Jeffrey Darbee, author of the forthcoming (October 2021) book, “Amtrak, America’s Railroad: Transportation’s Orphan and Its Struggle for Survival (Railroad Past and Present)” and Owner, Benjamin D Rickey & Co., and Derrick James, Senior Manager, Local and State Legislative Relations, Amtrak with host, Andy Chow, journalist, Ohio Statehouse News Bureau.

From the glory days of street cars, beginning with the horse drawn cars in 1863 which became an electric line in 1888, to being a hub of transportation with the Columbus and Xenia Railroad beginning in 1850, up to COTA’s downtown circulator and last mile solutions of today, Columbus has had an interest in efficient public transit. In the “Never Built Columbus: Transit”, a feature in Columbus Underground, a February 9, 2020 article provides a view into a possible transit future, “Here’s a scene from an alternate universe – an OSU student boards a streetcar at 11th Avenue and takes it down High Street to Nationwide Boulevard, where she walks down some stairs to a boarding platform to catch a train to Cleveland for the holidays (oh, and her brother arrives from his home on the Near East Side via monorail). Other options for arriving at this Downtown multi-modal transit hub include a light rail line with service from Polaris and, for those who prefer a more active mode, a city-wide network of protected bike lanes. These were all actual ideas that were proposed for Columbus, and none of them were built.” What happened to these plans and what is the vision for transit today? Our panelists will discuss the many options under consideration, in particular, passenger rail, to move residents around the city more efficiently in the coming years.


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