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COTA's plan may eliminate 17 High Street stops

Proposal takes ax to local bus stops determined to be too close together

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The Clintonville area stands to lose 17 bus stops along North High Street but gain in on-time service, two representatives of the Central Ohio Transit Authority reported during a presentation at last week's area commission meeting.

That's about 20 percent of the stops on the busy No. 2 line, said Mike Bradley, director of capital projects and planning. The reduction in bus stops, which will include three with shelters, said COTA Service Planner Kristine Marsh, is part of a process begun in 2010 and with two more years to complete.

COTA simply had too many stops too close together, Bradley told Clintonville Area Commission members at their meeting last Thursday, Feb. 7. A study was launched several years ago, with research conducted of the practices of other transit authorities around the country, he said.

That resulted in COTA's Bus Stop Service Improvement Project, which has as its goals:

* Decreasing passenger travel time.

* Increasing the average speed for routes.

* Potentially freeing up buses for additional service.

* Bringing more riders on board.

"One of the things we're trying to balance is speed versus the convenience of walking, and that's pretty difficult," Bradley said.

COTA makes service changes three times a year, Marsh said: in January, May and September.

The bus-stop reductions along North High Street should be finalized in April and go into effect in May, she said.

"This should not affect the frequency of the routes as of right now," Marsh said. "This is all still in the proposal period."

The final list of stops to be dropped will be on COTA's website in April, she added.

Also at last week's monthly meeting, CAC members heard a report from elections committee Chairwoman Sarah Snyder. They voted 8-0, with District 3 member James R. Blazer II not present, to approve minor rule changes and a timeline the panel devised for election of the three commission seats with terms expiring this year.

They are District 3, held by Blazer; District 6, held by Secretary Jennifer Kangas; and District 8, held by Kristopher Keller.

Candidate petitions will be available at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Public Library on Feb. 23, according to the timeline Snyder provided. An orientation meeting for candidates will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 11 at the Whetstone Community Center. This is "optional, but strongly recommended," the document states.

The deadline for candidate petitions is March 29, and election committee members will certify those who successfully qualify April 2.

The deadline for write-in candidates to notify the committee is April 5.

Mail-in balloting requests will be cut off after April 15. Early voting is set April 30.

The actual election will be held May 4, and committee members will announce the results the same day.

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