Something to watch from Lorain County

15 09 2012

Though it is only a trial run, it looks like something good for public transit has emerged from casinos opening – by constitutional amendment – in all the major cities of the state.  On Monday, September 10th the Lorain County Transit started running regular routes to downtown Cleveland with park-and-ride at three locations in Elyria and Lorain.  Though there may have been planning on this for years, the spark for this expanded service seems to have been a way to cash in on the Horseshoe Casino opening in public square.  Or, at least that is how it has played out in the media.  Regardless, it looks like a few Lorain County residents have started to take advantage of this service for non-gambling purposes.

Other neighboring transit services have also talked about or expanded busing to downtown Cleveland with mentions of the casino.  Metro in Summit County to the south expanded its weekday commuter route at the end of August.    And from the beginning of the casino’s opening, Laketran in Lake County east of Cleveland has promoted its commuter bus service in connection to the casino (and other downtown attractions).  

Will this piggy-backing on the casino change how commuters and residents of other counties get downtown?


A Transit Center Review

9 06 2011

If a city has not had a central transit center built within the last few years (Dayton, Akron, Cleveland), there is probably talk of building one.  The latest news included proposals or seeking proposals in Columbus and Toledo.   I happened to be in Akron this week and was able to experience the Intermodal Transit Center, which opened in 2009, and I have a few brief observations.

What I liked…

– The Transit Center is an impressive building.  Glass, metal, spacious, and very clean.  Walking through the center, you feel like you are somewhere beyond a bus stop and that you are metaphysically going places.  I would compare it (somewhat exaggerating, I know) to walking through an airport or being in Penn Station in New York.  Nice things make us feel better about our current task that might simply be transferring buses.

– You can get out of Akron from the Transit Center.  The Greyhound station is located in the center.  This seems much more convenient than the old Greyhound location off a nearby exit on Interest 76.  Megabus also has a stop here on its Cleveland to Pittsburgh route.  I see intra-city bus travel growing in the near future and Akron is ready.

What I did not like…

– Though technically downtown and within a 10 or 15 minute walk to the city center and The University of Akron, the location feels isolated, surrounded by industrial buildings.  Though there is some food options within the center, it seems like an “intermodal transit center” would be a perfect opportunity for development.  It seems like the city could easily throw out a number of how many passengers go through the station everyday to cigarette sellers and coffee brewers.

And in a perfect world, businesses could attract top talent by locating next to the center: no transfers required.  I guess we can dream.