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Get Transit Rolling October 13, 2007

Posted by cbuchanan in Uncategorized.
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Wouldn’t it be great if we had some sort of rapid transit connecting the BJCC/downtown with UAB/Five Points South? It’s actually in the works, and you have a chance to be part of the planning process this coming week.

According to this fascinating article by Eddie Lard on al.com, the In-Town Transit Partnership Project has been planning this since 2005, and currently the idea is to have free buses (larger ones than usual) running up and down a dedicated lane on 18th Street, with 10 bus stations along the way at spots including the Railroad Reservation Park and Central Station. The concept here is that transit attracts people, which means foot traffic, which means development–stores, restaurants, condos, offices, etc.

The Birmingham project was inspired by a successful model in Denver, and I’ve seen something similar (and very popular) in Calgary. Personally, I like this idea as an improvement on the DART trolleys; a dedicated lane would allow the new bus transit to actually run on a schedule, like a subway or light rail train would and unlike the poor traffic-trapped DARTs. Also, the selection of 18th Street is a wise one, since it places plenty of destinations along the route (theater district, McWane Science Center, Civil Rights District, Railroad Park) and hits closer to the heart of UAB while avoiding some of the traffic of 20th Street.

From Monday through Thursday of this week, the ITP is hosting planning workshops that will give residents of neighborhoods around the city center the opportunity to voice their opinions on transit. For details, click the ITP link above and scroll down to “Project News.”

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