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4 minutes ago, growingup15 said:

 

So your idea is old school and invalid. 

 

Because it's bad in one city doesn't mean it won't work in another. Also these high ways were built in the 60s and 70s. Now with modern day planning it could work perfectly.

Sorry to disagree with you, but highways downtown would destroy the character of Columbia. This is not "old school" - it is learning from the mistakes of other cities. Those cities made their mistakes 50 years ago, and are now coming around to much better ways of  moving people around and creating communities. Remember the old adage: "If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got". In this case you get congestion, pollution, broken up neighborhoods, and ugly strips of asphalt and concrete.

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38 minutes ago, growingup15 said:

You can't convince someone like me whos a car guy. I refuse to give up my car to wait For a train or bus. I'm all For public mass transit but 2 problems with your plan.

1. Rail transit unfortunately ain't gonna happen iin Columbia in about another 15-20 years

 

2. Living downtown ain't cheap. Getting frustrated will just get people to leave. More people would rather have a flowing free way then to wait For Columbia to figure out what they should do next. 

 

So your idea is old school and invalid. 

 

Because it's bad in one city doesn't mean it won't work in another. Also these high ways were built in the 60s and 70s. Now with modern day planning it could work perfectly.

Also the city simply can't afford a light-rail at the moment. People think Columbia/Richland government is rich for some odd reason. 

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39 minutes ago, mpretori said:

Also the city simply can't afford a light-rail at the moment. People think Columbia/Richland government is rich for some odd reason. 

Of course - but neither can it fund highways downtown. However, there is a lot of land downtown for apartments and townhouses. The more people who live and work downtown, the less need for highways. Eventually there will be a critical mass of people who live downtown and need to go from the Vista to Main street, to Five Points, to Bull Street, and the city will have to pay for some sort of upgraded mass transit - maybe 20 years from now - and that will mean better bus service, or street cars, or a monorail, etc.

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Just now, mr. chips said:

Of course - but neither can it fund highways downtown. However, there is a lot of land downtown for apartments and townhouses. The more people who live and work downtown, the less need for highways. Eventually there will be a critical mass of people who live downtown and need to go from the Vista to Main street, to Five Points, to Bull Street, and the city will have to pay for some sort of upgraded mass transit - maybe 20 years from now - and that will mean better bus service, or street cars, or a monorail, etc.

 I'm pretty sure the scdot, which is the state funds those roads. Not the county. County only funds local roads. So much greater likely hood of those getting built.

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13 hours ago, growingup15 said:

You can't convince someone like me whos a car guy. I refuse to give up my car to wait For a train or bus. I'm all For public mass transit but 2 problems with your plan.

1. Rail transit unfortunately ain't gonna happen iin Columbia in about another 15-20 years

 

2. Living downtown ain't cheap. Getting frustrated will just get people to leave. More people would rather have a flowing free way then to wait For Columbia to figure out what they should do next. 

 

So your idea is old school and invalid. 

 

Because it's bad in one city doesn't mean it won't work in another. Also these high ways were built in the 60s and 70s. Now with modern day planning it could work perfectly.

Nothing has significantly changed between the 60s/70s and today in terms of highway construction other than the recognition that it only exacerbates sprawl and lowers property values in immediately adjacent neighborhoods. As mr. chips mentioned, many cities are dismantling, burying, or trying to minimize the impact of urban highways. I don't know of a single city that is pushing to build a highway through its downtown. Leaders in places like San Francisco and New York have recognized that space currently devoted to cars would be better devoted to public spaces and affordable housing. The amount of space a highway and its easements takes is a complete waste: highways do not generate any property taxes, generally are revenue negative (even toll roads), and again, subdivide neighborhoods.

Take a non-highway like Assembly. Columbia has built out curbs to try to make the road seem less cavernous, but it still feels like it slices the CBD off from the Vista and main campus from the Moore School/Koger Center/Greek Village, etc.. Now imagine building a highway above grade and tell me that it won't feel like a wall. There's a reason that many cities have tried to get creative with pedestrian bridges over and walkways under highways: people often do not feel safe or comfortable crossing them. Building a highway anywhere downtown would only serve to halt development beyond it.

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On 6/11/2016 at 11:03 PM, growingup15 said:

You can't convince someone like me whos a car guy. I refuse to give up my car to wait For a train or bus. I'm all For public mass transit but 2 problems with your plan.

1. Rail transit unfortunately ain't gonna happen iin Columbia in about another 15-20 years

2. Living downtown ain't cheap. Getting frustrated will just get people to leave. More people would rather have a flowing free way then to wait For Columbia to figure out what they should do next. 

So your idea is old school and invalid. 

Because it's bad in one city doesn't mean it won't work in another. Also these high ways were built in the 60s and 70s. Now with modern day planning it could work perfectly.

Sorry, but no. Your ideas are extremely old school. Widening roads and making highways go everywhere are a mid-20th century mentality. In Charlotte, they built Independence, the Brookshire and the Belk Freeways by way of the Urban Renewal process and destroyed quite a few African American neighborhoods in the process. In order to build the types of things you are proposing, you would have to level large portions of Columbia - notably the historic African American communities along Harden Street. Not to mention the obliteration of Five Points, Olympia, and slicing USC's campus in half along with cutting the city off from the river. Do we really need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars just do people can save 5 minutes while driving across the central part of the city? Or is it just so Columbia will look cooler on Google Maps?

Do yourself a favor an look up the old Doxiadis plan for Columbia. I think it was a 1960s era plan, but I could be off on the date. They had essentially the same highway network you are proposing in their plan and it is partially why we ended up with I-126 and SC-277 extending into the city like they do. 

The one point I will concede to you is that Columbia can't ignore vehicular traffic altogether. Roads will still need to be widened, new ones will need to be constructed, etc. If we just 'stopped' doing these things then the system would probably fail. The big change is that more focus needs to be made on bike, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure. Columbia is slowly but surely taking those steps and the starting place is downtown. Building large freeways everywhere won't make the situation better for pedestrians and thus will destroy any potential that downtown has.

No respectable transportation planner will ever tell you that the goal for traffic is free flowing conditions. It's not possible to achieve. Cities will always have traffic. If you design urban core well, then people will want to be in the city despite the traffic.

 

On 6/12/2016 at 0:30 AM, mpretori said:

 I'm pretty sure the scdot, which is the state funds those roads. Not the county. County only funds local roads. So much greater likely hood of those getting built.

SCDOT works with local MPOs to plan and fund roads. The City works with CMCOG/COATS to give local input on the process. If you go to their website you can see how it all works. I would post a more direct link, but their website appears to be down right now. http://centralmidlands.org/

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1 hour ago, growingup15 said:

Ok back to my crazy ideas.

 

BRT what's your thoughts on it and wouldn't it be cheaper for it to build a BRT system over a Rail system.

BRT is a much cheaper alternative. The funding mechanisms are often the same- state/local with a federal match- but the cost is much lower. BRT has worked wonders for some cities; notably, Bogota, Colombia and Cleveland, Ohio. The city seems to recognize that COMET is the most realistic form of mass transit at this point. I can't understand why USC and COMET don't merge their systems for the life of me. Of course they do during football games- USC uses both its own fleet and COMET buses to take people from various points on campus to the stadium. It would make a lot of sense to create some dedicated USC routes and others that connect USC to other areas of town (Five Points, the Vista, Main Street, etc.). Logistically this would be very easy.

1. An all-COMET model: COMET could install Carolina Card readers in its buses to shuttle USC students for free. COMET buses (perhaps with USC design elements incorporated) would replace existing shuttle routes. This would encourage students to use COMET to get around town. The school would pay for service (drastically reduced fixed fare x Carolina Cards scanned or fixed monthly payment). This might save USC on operating costs and would add 30,000+ potential users to the city's bus system. Of course people could abuse the system by swiping on non-USC trips, which is why a fixed monthly subsidy might make sense.

2. A blended system: USC would keep its existing footprint and consider whether to incorporate COMET buses in routes further off campus. This would provide expanded coverage and allow USC to increase service in the core of campus, thus either increasing frequency or reducing the number of active buses in use.  

3. Bus optimization and scheduling: USC and COMET would stay separate, but optimize routes (i.e. reduce any overlap) and schedules (cut waiting time for joint routes). They would share bus stops and scheduling systems- the screens at USC bus stops. 

Of course there are some reasons why this probably won't happen. 

1. Co-mingling of funds: This is always a little tricky. USC might want to make sure it can control cost by maintaining its own system.

2. Parents and students fears about buses: This is probably the biggest reason. A lot of people are not comfortable with mass transit, especially in a city like Columbia. I can see parents freaking out about their children sharing buses with lower income residents.

3. Branding: Colleges focus time and energy on making campuses feel immersive. USC might feel like it was losing something by giving up its own garnet and black fleet.

4. Lack of cooperation between USC and Columbia: For some reason USC does not seem to solicit any help from the city unless it needs something. Call this "town-gown relations", but it does not seem very deep.

I think strategy 3 is the best way to start to blending the systems. Combining stops would get students and faculty more comfortable with the system and increase its visibility on campus. I also think adding Carolina Card readers (assuming they are not already equipped) could boost bus ridership. 

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On 6/13/2016 at 11:28 AM, Spartan said:

 

SCDOT works with local MPOs to plan and fund roads. The City works with CMCOG/COATS to give local input on the process. If you go to their website you can see how it all works. I would post a more direct link, but their website appears to be down right now. http://centralmidlands.org/

Interstates, primary, and secondary roads are funded by the state. 

Local roads are funded by by their county they reside in. 

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The funding originates from the state and projects are funded (e.g.: selected) based on input from the MPO and local jurisdictions.

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34 minutes ago, Spartan said:

The funding originates from the state and projects are funded (e.g.: selected) based on input from the MPO and local jurisdictions.

Point is, the state funds interstates and primary routes. Not the county or city. 

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That's partially true, yes.

The state always pays for projects on interstates. However, cities and counties can pay for their own projects on non-interstate routes if they want, even if it's on a state road. How that happens depends on the project and the local jurisdiction, but local funding is always an option. For example, York County has a penny sales tax for road improvements, and Richland recently did the same thing. Spartanburg has opted to fund improvements to various streets with local resources (e.g.: a $25 annual vehicle registration fee to fund bridge replacements). 

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I moved the I-77 widening posts to the thread below. I know we got off on a pretty big tangent about roads recently, but since it spun off from a transit-based discussion it gets to stay. New thoughts/ideas/information about roads should go in this thread.

 

 

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Any new plans or announcements about a downtown trolley or other transit service?   I know that the trolleys were unsuccessful 20 years ago, but it seems as though you have more people living downtown now.

I think you could start with a Gervais axis and an Assembly axis.  

Gervais might run from State Street in West Columbia to Five Points.  the Assembly route could run from Whaley (or even George Rogers) to Elmwood.  I think that would capture a lot of the new housing and give these student housing communities access to USC while also letting people move pretty freely between entertainment districts and the river.  

I guess it still would depend on the willingness of people to ride public transit, but maybe it would be convenient enough for people to get a critical mass of people that would feel safer.  I suspect safety is the biggest concern now of many, whether that is a reasonable fear or not.

 

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1 hour ago, ColaFan said:

Any new plans or announcements about a downtown trolley or other transit service?   I know that the trolleys were unsuccessful 20 years ago, but it seems as though you have more people living downtown now.

I think you could start with a Gervais axis and an Assembly axis.  

Gervais might run from State Street in West Columbia to Five Points.  the Assembly route could run from Whaley (or even George Rogers) to Elmwood.  I think that would capture a lot of the new housing and give these student housing communities access to USC while also letting people move pretty freely between entertainment districts and the river.  

I guess it still would depend on the willingness of people to ride public transit, but maybe it would be convenient enough for people to get a critical mass of people that would feel safer.  I suspect safety is the biggest concern now of many, whether that is a reasonable fear or not.

 

I think since it may be decades until we get a light rail transit or Commuter rail. i would the city to invest into brining Rail Trolleys back into the city. maybe if they work something out with CSX and Southern Norfolk maybe we could get a few Trolley lines running through downtown and into important dense areas. like a trolley running around the Rail loop that surrounds the city and maybe one out to Harbison. part of it would run on the existing tracks and other parts would run the streets.

 

I like your Idea you're not far off on that.

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2 hours ago, ColaFan said:

Any new plans or announcements about a downtown trolley or other transit service?   I know that the trolleys were unsuccessful 20 years ago, but it seems as though you have more people living downtown now.

I think you could start with a Gervais axis and an Assembly axis.  

Gervais might run from State Street in West Columbia to Five Points.  the Assembly route could run from Whaley (or even George Rogers) to Elmwood.  I think that would capture a lot of the new housing and give these student housing communities access to USC while also letting people move pretty freely between entertainment districts and the river.  

I guess it still would depend on the willingness of people to ride public transit, but maybe it would be convenient enough for people to get a critical mass of people that would feel safer.  I suspect safety is the biggest concern now of many, whether that is a reasonable fear or not.

Charlotte had the Gold Rush Shuttle, which ran through part of South End and Uptown. I believe it was funded primarily by corporate sponsors (BoA, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy) and cost $900k a year in operating expenses. The shuttle was free and looked like an old school trolley, which made it more appealing than a bus. Columbia is already pretty overextended, but at some point it could potentially do the same thing with meal tax revenue. Of course it would likely come at the expenses of arts organizations who receive funding from the tax. 

1 hour ago, growingup15 said:

I think since it may be decades until we get a light rail transit or Commuter rail. i would the city to invest into brining Rail Trolleys back into the city. maybe if they work something out with CSX and Southern Norfolk maybe we could get a few Trolley lines running through downtown and into important dense areas. like a trolley running around the Rail loop that surrounds the city and maybe one out to Harbison. part of it would run on the existing tracks and other parts would run the streets.

 

I like your Idea you're not far off on that.

What you are talking about is commuter rail. A train to Harbison could potentially make sense if it offset traffic on 26. Buying trains and establishing service would be prohibitively expense, so Columbia would need state and federal funding to even attempt it.

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I saw a trolley out on Taylor St, while driving home for lunch. Are these being rolled out again? They aren't really a solution to long term transit needs, but do add a little color and character to downtown. 

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39 minutes ago, victory said:

I saw a trolley out on Taylor St, while driving home for lunch. Are these being rolled out again? They aren't really a solution to long term transit needs, but do add a little color and character to downtown. 

from my knowledge those trolleys are being used for events like the Baseball games ect.

Edited by growingup15

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I'm curious would it be cheaper for Columbia to get a Diesel Powered Commuter Train kinda like the Tri Rail in Florida.  With something like that you wouldn't have to worry about building both new rails or electric lines.  Only build would be the Stations.

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1 hour ago, growingup15 said:

I'm curious would it be cheaper for Columbia to get a Diesel Powered Commuter Train kinda like the Tri Rail in Florida.  With something like that you wouldn't have to worry about building both new rails or electric lines.  Only build would be the Stations.

I believe Tri-Rail is privately financed. South Carolina would need to find a company willing to build. There is obviously a cargo line between Charleston and Greer, but I wonder if there is enough demand for a line between Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville?

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17 hours ago, carolinagarnet said:

I believe Tri-Rail is privately financed. South Carolina would need to find a company willing to build. There is obviously a cargo line between Charleston and Greer, but I wonder if there is enough demand for a line between Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville?

I remember we was trying to get a Columbia Charlotte line which imo would be great. 

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