LinkUS initiative drives mobility choices, community vitality and regional growth
The City of Columbus, Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) announced on June 30, 2020 unveiled LinkUS, a collaborative effort with private sector and neighborhood partners that allows for mobility implementation efforts within the region to be centered under an umbrella program. The LinkUS Mobility Initiative will help to address traffic congestion, provide new mobility options, expand access to resources, and promote equity and economic vitality along key regional corridors.
LinkUS will provide a consistent and equitable approach to implement transit and multi-modal transportation improvements, coupled with new jobs and housing opportunities. This effort builds on previous regional planning studies, including MORPC’s Insight 2050 Corridor Concepts study. LinkUS has begun with the Northwest Corridor Mobility Initiative — the first of several corridor action plans that will identify and carry out preferred strategies to develop high-quality transit and mobility choices while bringing new housing and jobs to the corridor. Implementation efforts will also begin this year for an East-West Corridors Plan, including West Broad Street, and a study of East Main and East Broad Streets. Other future corridors have been identified as part of a broader framework strategy created to guide the initiative.
“Today more than ever, we must move swiftly to address critical needs in Columbus and Central Ohio to foster a more resilient and inclusive region, ” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “As our region continues to grow, we must ensure that all residents prosper, not just a few. LinkUS will deliver mobility options in our community that will help increase equity by enhancing access to jobs, business development, housing and healthcare, and prepare for future growth that is inclusive and available for all of our residents.”
As the regional council to help drive solutions for the future of Central Ohio’s growing region, MORPC is a core partner in the planning and strategy development of LinkUS.
“LinkUS is an exciting catalyst for Central Ohio’s future that will improve our quality of life and add more mobility choices,” said MORPC executive director William Murdock. “Our region is growing quickly and more diverse to a projected three million people by 2050. Planning and investing today along corridors will create better transportation and housing options for residents and businesses alike.” Driving transportation innovation for Columbus is critical to the framework of LinkUS implementation. COTA’s leadership in equitable and sustainable transportation solutions is important to the success of LinkUS.
“COTA’s vision is to move every life forward in Central Ohio, and that means finding innovative mobility solutions that provide access to jobs, health care, education, recreation, entertainment and other opportunities for prosperity,” said COTA president/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton.
“The recent events in our community and across our country have underscored various social and public infrastructure disparities that impede equity. COTA believes affordable, accessible and equitable public mobility systems will not only help better connect our most vulnerable residents to opportunity, but also prepare our region to handle the mobility needs of a million more people by 2050. I am incredibly grateful COTA is partnering with forward-thinking community leaders to prepare our region for a bright future.”
Research shows a strong link between transportation mobility and the ability of individuals to increase their social and economic well-being. Stakeholder and public engagement are critical parts of the LinkUS initiative. Throughout the process, the public will be invited to provide input to help ensure solutions address community needs. A variety of forums (including in person, virtual and other creative outlets) will be used to make participation a choice for all who care about the future of central Ohio’s mobility corridors.
Columbus City Council president Shannon G. Hardin says that investing in transit, housing, and jobs along corridors is critical to serve working families.
“LinkUS is how we’re going to bring new high-quality transit to the City of Columbus,” said Hardin. “We’ve also got to capture the opportunities that come with better mobility to build more affordable housing, grow new jobs in our neighborhoods, and create an urban environment that works for working families. We know that COTA ridership is disproportionately African-American and working class; creating a transit system that better serves our residents is a matter of racial and economic justice.”
To learn more about LinkUS and get a full understanding of the framework strategy and corridor implementation, visit LinkUScolumbus.com.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority is the regional public transit provider for greater Columbus and Central Ohio. With a service area of 562 square miles, COTA provides more than 19 million passenger trips annually and is committed to integrating and expanding mobility options across Central Ohio.
MORPC is Central Ohio’s regional council for more than 70 members comprised of counties, cities, villages, townships, and regional organizations. MORPC takes pride in bringing communities of all sizes and interests together to collaborate on best practices and plan for the future of our growing region.