1. Use Pre-Existing Structures and Remodel Interior
The group feels that it’s a good idea because it solves more problems than just expensive housing. First, it helps transform brownfields into something functional. Second, it would take away a large structural cost, since the main foundation to the home is built. The remaining costs would be the interior, such as appliances, HVAC, and electrical. This reduces the cost that both the developer and the buyer would need to bring forward. In addition to old buildings, another pre-existing structure that can be used are shipping containers. Recently, a lot of people have been building their shipping container houses in order to save money on building costs as well as utility bills. This helps reduce the number of unused containers, while also decreasing costs to the homeowner, who again only has to pay for the interior remodeling.
- Build near Public Transportation
The group feels that building a development near transportation lines is a good idea because it reduces costs elsewhere in the homeowners life. It would benefit not only the owner, but would also benefit the companies that they work for. Being close to transportation would allow them to easily get to work. This would make housing more affordable in the sense that other expenses in the homeowners life would be decreased. Cars cost a lot of money both for maintenance and gas, so not needing to rely on one would leave more money in the budget for a home. Additionally, the developer would be able to eliminate substantial parking. This can increase the number of properties that can be built, ultimately increasing the density of the housing development.
- City wide policy requiring certain percent of housing in all development projects to be “affordable rate housing”
The group feels that this is a good idea because it can help solve problems that could potentially arise from neighborhoods with only affordable housing. These neighborhoods tend to be lower income, therefore the schooling is also not as great as some of the schools in suburbs. This is unfortunately a common problem, which is why integrating the affordable housing into all neighborhoods can help mix the socioeconomic statuses, and allow everyone to benefit from the better schooling and environments. This would help prevent these areas from becoming some place that people try to avoid. This plays more into circulating resources to everyone in the community, since there will be more interactions among different people. This can help spread ideas, knowledge, and even job prospects. It allows equal opportunity, regardless of your income. This can provide further payoffs in the future, and certainly allow more people to rise above their current income level.
Which is considered the best idea?
The group considers the first idea, remodeling pre-existing structures, the best idea for making housing more affordable. The idea solves more than just a housing problem, and saving money on the main structure and foundation work will cut a lot out of the overall budget. It helps more people afford housing, while also turning a previous brownfield into a functioning site that plays into the community. This idea helps not only the homeowners, but the other community members also benefit, and it is for that reason that it is thought to be the group’s best idea.
The group sat down for a brainstorm, examining and addressing an issue plaguing numerous low income families in America, affordable housing. The question the group had to ask each other was how can one make housing much more affordable so that everyone would be presented with the opportunity to be homeowners themselves. After the ideas presented by the group, three were decided upon as the best as voted by our peers in the class and ourselves.
Among one of our most popular ideas were providing incentives for contractors and developers to drive down costs and build these smaller, more affordable homes. Housing is an expensive ordeal to fully build and furnish, and building smaller, more affordable homes, generally is not as desirable for a construction business due to the lower profit margin generally associated with them. Offering these incentives for a business to build affordable housing options into their projects is an important enticement that would hopefully increase the number of affordable homes for the people.
Another option including and favored by our group was community involvement into these homes that would help with maintenance. Not only are homes and mortgages expensive, maintenance and general upkeep can be an additional and frustrated cost that can be diminutive at first but ultimately rack up larger bills. Teaching community involvement in helping neighbors where they can possibly help in house maintenance tasks. Additional ideas include community gardens that can help reduce overall food costs as well as increase an overall quality of life in the neighborhood. These are all simpler ideas to help reduce costs of general home costs for more affordable housing.
As voted upon by our peers in the class, and one of the groups personal favorite ideas, was the idea of shared utility costs in the neighborhoods. These tied utility bills would hypothetically drive their overall prices down for the homes. Shared costs of these bills would help lower homes and their overall expense down as the bills are tied together. These driven down costs ultimately make it more readily available to own a home as it is a less expected expense on the overall home for these families. Ultimately this idea was settled upon in the group as what we felt our strongest idea was with less worries than others, as well was well received by the class in itself during the voting.
Our top ideas were…
Work for rent– Work for rent is a concept where people who do not have enough funds to make a down payment for housing can go to a complex and work for the renters to pay for their rent. A large portion of rent paid goes to cover the owner of a building’s cost to run the complex, so if there are programs where people who need help paying rent can work on landscape, maintenance, cleaning, etc. in exchange for rent or as a way to reduce their monthly payment. This can help keep low income buildings well maintained, nice to live in, and affordable for a lot more people. If the people who live in a place also work to make it nicer, than the amount of care that goes into the work will show in the end result. This confronts the unfair way that cheap housing is in near disrepair, and how the slumlords can charge more rent than it should be because of a lack of better options. This strategy would be a lot more effective if the government incentivized programs such as this to attract the owners of buildings in areas that need it.
Rent to own– Renting to own allows people to build some equity when they pay rent. When people are using half their incomes on their rent then their money is essentially lost to the renters. So, if there was some program incentivized by the government for people who pay rent on time, have been good tenants, and have stayed in a place for a prolonged time to be able to build up equity in the property that they live in. Over time, part of their rent every month will build up in equity, and if they want they can take out a mortgage to buy the place, but the equity that they have built up will go towards the down payment or directly to pay off some of the mortgage.
Split housing– If there were a lot of multi-family housing units developed in existing structures that are in disrepair using the rent-to-own and work-for-rent concepts discussed above, then many of the low income housing problems can be addressed. Many existing structures in Columbus could be great places to live, and if communities that are affordable and promote care for housing are set up then they could be brought back to their intended potential and the slow decay of low income housing could stop and maybe one day, they will just be regular housing and everyone will have the opportunity to live in an affordable nice place.
Our team decided that the most effective strategy would be the work for rent program. We believe this because of all of the ideas listed above, the work for rent program would be the easiest to implement and would have a positive outcome on the community immediately.
Trip to Nationwide Children’s Hospital
The New Kids on the Block chose to go to Nationwide Children’s Hospital located off of Livingston Avenue and Parsons Avenue on the east side of Columbus. Our transit audit started at 18th Avenue and High Street.
This stop was clean for the most part and had trash cans around. However, there weren’t any places to sit or any shelter if there happened to be inclement weather. We caught the number two bus at 3:43 PM, which was one minute late from its scheduled arrival time of 3:42 PM. While getting on the, the first thing we noticed was that the bus the driver wasn’t too polite to Casey because her Buck ID wasn’t working correctly. As we sat down we noticed there weren’t any bad smells and there were plenty of open seats for our entire group. Overall bus number two going southbound on High Street from Woodruff Avenue was, quiet, warm, clean, and other than a slight situation with a Buck ID the ride went smoothly.
Before transitioning to our next bus, the number one, our experience during the next stop wasn’t as nice. Our stop at Broad Street and High Street was very crowded. There was hardly any room in the shelter for all of us. It was very windy that day, the 12th of November, and we all wanted to get under the shelter to block the wind. While we were inside the shelter, a homeless man and woman approached us for money before we got on the number one. Unlike the stop before, this stop had information posted inside the shelters. The information included a map of the transit stops as well as bus fair, times, popular destinations, etc.
Bus number one, our second bus, arrived at 4:05 PM. This was perfectly on time. The driver was very polite, but this bus experience was very different than the previous one. People on the bus were less hygienic and the bus was more crowded. Also, there was a man singing the entire trip to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Due to the over crowdedness people were forced to stand until the next stop. Right before we arrived to our destination, the bus driver slammed on his brakes for no apparent reason. Which left a few people uneasy.
After reaching our destination at Nationwide Children’s Hospital we then stood under the shelter of our next stop for around 5 minutes until our next bus, the number one, going west arrived at 4:30 PM. However, the bus didn’t arrive until 4:31PM which was one minute later than scheduled arrival time.
Entering the bus, the first thing noticed was how polite the bus driver was. We all then sat down because there were plenty of open seats and also saw that nobody else was standing. After standing outside in high wind and cold 40 degree weather, we noticed that the heat was on and working well inside the bus and warmed us all back up. We then headed aback towards downtown for our next stop at Broad Street and High Street, which was in front of Columbus Statehouse.
After getting off the number one bus going northbound, we initially noticed this area was nicer than the other stops. The stop had a much larger shelter than the other stops. However, it was also much more crowded than the other stops which caused us not to be able to sit under the shelter. While at this stop, one of our group members was approached by a woman to sign a petition, which is a slight annoyance. When our last bus, the number two, arrived at 4:48 PM there were three buses already at the stop. Even though the bus arrived on time we had to walk outside of the shelter about 65 feet down the street to enter our last bus.
While going back to Woodruff Avenue, the number two bus was quite crowded. After getting a nice greeting from the driver, we noticed a handful of people were standing up, and it got loud. This was due to an inebriated individual toward the back of the bus who slurred his way through his sentences the entire ride.
When we got off our final bus, the stop at Woodruff Avenue and High Street was in very poor condition. The stop had two wooden benches which were also in poor condition that could only fit about two people on each.
Overall our trip went well, we managed make it back by 5:11 PM after starting at 3:43 PM and travelling a total of 5.2 miles. Initially the trip was easy to navigate using COTA’s website which was helpful. Most of the stops were fine. All of which had some seating except for one. All of the stops had shelters except our initial and final stops. Our only problems with these stops weren’t necessarily the stops themselves, but being bothered by other people at the stops. While we were on the buses, 3 of the 4 drivers were very kind. Half of the buses were quiet and had room for everyone to sit. We felt safe on the buses. Each bus had the locations being called out as well as mini pamphlets with bus information in them. They also each had trash bags, hand sanitizers, and the heat was working.
For the COTA transit audit, the Diamond Developers met at the southbound High and Woodruff bus stop to catch the number 2 bus towards downtown, with the goal being to reach the Panera Bread on East Broad Street in Bexley (5.4 miles). Upon arrival, the bus stop was clean and free of any trash or debris. There were two trashcans at the stop and a sign indicating the stop location and the lines that served the stopped. There was not a shelter however, which was something our group found odd as this is a very busy stop with student traffic as well as general everyday bus ridership. It was a cold and windy day so this was not exactly a pleasant start. The 2A (East Main to Hamilton Road) had an arrival time of 3:59 pm. The actual arrival was 4:05, about 6 minutes late and not the best start.
As the bus pulled up at the stop, it was easy to see it was already close to capacity as people were already standing. There were about 15 people that needed to get on at this stop, so as we all piled on, it became uncomfortably tight. Despite the overly tight conditions, the bus had minimal smell to it and was clean and free of trash. This was an older bus with fabric seats that were somewhat dirty, but that is expected with anything that is used so often. The speaker system was loud enough and the next stop announcements were audible throughout the bus, although we believe more speakers spread about the bus would help certain riders with hearing disabilities as the bus got loud at times with so many people on it. Overall this portion of the route was an okay experience. Being on-time is and has been an issue for COTA and this was our main concern with this part of our journey.
Getting off at Broad and High Streets downtown, our team knew we needed to get to the southeast corner of the intersection in order to get on the eastbound #10. It took us just a couple of minutes to walk to our next stop which was a very visually pleasing stop. Being downtown and next to the statehouse, this stop was probably designed with more attention and care, and made for an interesting wait. The shelter is large and had benches inside for sitting and waiting along with trash cans placed outside the shelter. The stop was pretty busy again with it being the middle of rush hour.
The #10L we planned to get on was 3 minutes late which helped us in the end seeing as our first bus was also late. The bus arrived at the stop with only a handful of people on it, but quickly filled up at this busy stop. This bus was newer and had plastic seats which feel cleaner as they don’t collect everything from everyone who has sat in them. The bus overall was also clean and had minimal or no smell to it.
Unfortunately, our group did not make it very far. We got off just a few stops later at Broad and 5th because we knew we were pressed for time. From here we walked up to Gay and High and waited for a northbound #2 back to the campus area. This bus, labeled 2V, arrived at a stop that was somewhat dirty and had a trashcan that was overflowing. Unfortunately again, this bus was not much better than the stop. The bus had a strong and offensive smell to it almost like urine and seemed rather dirty. The bus was not too full and everyone had a seat this time except a couple of riders who chose to stand. The conclusion of our journey got us back to campus right at the 5:14 mark, the end of class.
Overall, this trip was an okay experience. The actual rides were not bad on the busses, with the exception of the dirty and smelly final ride. The main issues we saw as a group dealt with the stops themselves and the schedules and punctuality. All 3 of our busses were 2-6 mins late, which is unfortunate. Also, while we never waited “too long” for a bus, we realized that was during rush hour. This is the time of day when busses are most frequent. If we were doing this at 10pm or at another off time, things could have been very different. For a person that takes COTA everyday or most days and has to transfer, every bus being 2-6 mins late can throw off a whole schedule. One bus being 6 mins late can make a person miss a planned transfer.
Another couple of issues we felt COTA needs to address immediately include bus capacities, real-time tracking, and labeling. With there being 3 routes that, when combined, consist of 50% of ridership, larger busses can most certainly be justified for those routes. In the case of the #2 during rush hour, it was uncomfortably full. People were obviously anxious to get off the bus because they were being pushed around and crowded. Larger busses on certain routes would not only address capacity issues but would also promote more ridership. Many cities have been using articulated busses for years, why isn’t Columbus? In regards to real-time tracking, COTA is embarrassingly behind other major systems and cities. With real time tracking, people can easily check when their bus will actually arrive at the stop via smart phone and even LED signs at bus stops listing arrival times. This allows people to stay inside a little longer when it’s cold outside or maybe hurry up to make the bus they want to get on. It allows people to not be overly reliant on schedules and would increase ridership and bring COTA into the 21st century. One group member mentioned that there was a sign at a bus stop recently that proudly announced real-time tracking was “coming September 2013!”. It is now almost 2016.
When it comes to labeling of busses, COTA makes it very confusing. Nearly everyone seems clueless on what the letters mean after the number (Ex. 2V). People will oftentimes ask drivers where the bus is headed and if it will make it to a certain location. Visitors are helpless if they are unfamiliar with Columbus and people who don’t ride public transit are completely intimidated by the confusion. With the planned system redesign, COTA officials need to consider a new way to label and design routes so they’re not so confusing.
The rides were not terrible, nor were they great, but COTA has a lot of work to do. With smart redesigns and implementation of common-sense technology and amenities, COTA can finally become a world-class transit system.
Our plan was to take the #7 bus at 3:34 PM and then transfer to the #5 bus at 3:54 PM. We waited at the bus stop outside of Knowlton Hall to catch the #7. Here, we sat on a bench with a shelter while we waited. It was a frigid day, so this somewhat helped to keep the cold wind out. The sidewalk was also clean and wide; there was a lot of room for people to stand waiting all while people could pass. The #7 arrived a few minutes late. Once we got on, the driver greeted us kindly. The bus appeared to be in a suitable condition with some signs of use. The overall environment was acceptable. The lights were dimmed, the bus was clean, and the other passengers kept to themselves. The stops were regularly announced over a loudspeaker, and the time, date, and next stop were also announced and shown on an LED screen at the front of the bus.
Once we got off of the #7, we had to cross residential roads (Neil Avenue) in order to get to our transfer stop. There was no cross walk and the roads were fairly busy. At this bus stop, we had no place to sit. There was only a sign stating that the #5 stopped there. Here, we waited until the bus arrived at 3:54 PM. This bus was slightly cleaner than the #7, but the driver didn’t greet us as nicely as the first; it was also much smaller and busier. The bus was quiet and became less and less busy as we went on. We rode this for awhile until the driver told us that we would have to get off so that she could go into First Community Village to pick up passengers; we weren’t allowed in because this area was not open for the public.
At this stop, there was no sidewalk and no bench. The stop going back the other way was initially hard to spot, and was on the private drive to the retirement village. We all had to stand in the cold for 15 to 20 minutes. The same bus came out of the assisted living home and picked us up again.
By this time, we realized that we had planned to get on the wrong bus. Instead of
going to our required destination, we had only gone about four miles. We tossed around the idea of getting off of this bus and finding the right one to get on, but we eventually decided that we wouldn’t make in there and back in time. We chalked this mistake up to the fact that the COTA system was difficult to understand. The website itself warns potential passengers that its information may not be correct, and that they should check Google maps for updated information. The lettering system of the buses also doesn’t make sense unless you know exactly which bus goes where.
We then stopped again near where we stopped for our transfer to the #5 bus. We had a bench to sit on, but it was very close to the road with no curb. The sidewalk was also narrow. There were two buses that came to this stop; the #7 and the #18. We understood that both went back to campus, so we simply waited for the first one that came, which ended up being the #18. Like the #7, this bus was in acceptable condition with some signs of regular use.
Overall, our trip on the bus wasn’t bad, but required much planning and forethought. You had to look up the timetables online because there are none that we found at bus stops, the Student Union, or any place a university connected to a city bus system would typically have them. In addition, COTA’s website mislead and confused us as we accidentally planned a trip to the incorrect Giant Eagle Market District. However, we did eventually realize that we had taken the wrong route because of the regular announcements of each stop’s location. The other passengers acted similarly throughout the evening, mostly keeping to themselves, and the drivers all greeted us, but to different degrees. Additionally, the equipment throughout our transfers all appeared to be in good condition with acceptable signs of use. These aspects allowed us to feel as though we were in a safe environment, allowing for a pleasant trip that took exactly 1 hour and 16 minutes on the bus overlooking the trouble we had with finding the correct route.
Following the guest presentation by Elliot Doza and Alex Beim on the organization of the COTA bus system, it was our job to experience first hand how effective bus travel was in getting to one’s destination. Many people rely heavily on the COTA bus system to get to school, work, and home; therefore our audit of the COTA bus system was very practical.
Our team met on the corner of Woodruff and High at 3:55pm on Thursday afternoon. Our goal was to get from campus to Graeter’s in Bexley and back again in one class period. Because our destination was only 6.6 miles away we believed this was an attainable goal. We began by walking to stop #3957 on N High & 18th Ave. The stop was conveniently situated on the right side of High Street and easily visible. Although there was no shelter, there were some benches for those waiting. On that day a shelter would have been highly appreciated, as it was very cold and windy for the many people waiting at the stop. There were also two big streetlights on either side of the stop that gave off a safe feeling for those waiting.
Our plan was to catch The 18 to High & Broad, get off and catch The 2 the rest of the way into Bexley. Our first road block occurred when the scheduled 3:57pm bus was around 10 minutes late. This initially delayed our travel time. Once on the bus our group easily all found seats, as the bus was just around half way full. Overall the ride was fairly pleasant. The ride was warm, smooth, and relatively quiet. The bus smelled clean and there was not any visible trash from where we were sitting. As we surveyed others riding the bus we saw many had headphones in or were relaxing, as many of them looked to be ending a workday and going home. As previously stated the bus wasn’t full at the time of our ride, but as people began to get on, others were more than willing to make room for available seating. Due to the timing of our ride, it began to get dark outside, however there was sufficient lighting on board without it being too bright. Due to the technology on the bus, riders could request a stop at anytime along the route. While we did agree this was convenient for riders, it also proved to be significantly time consuming as the bus made many stops along our journey, especially through the Short North neighborhood.
Because of this we were delayed in getting to our transfer location on S High St & Capitol Square. Once we made it to our transfer location, we boarded The 2 fairly quickly. Although it was dark outside, the bus stop (#7341) was very pleasant. The shelter was atheistically pleasing and blended in nicely with the surrounding area. The shelter was also lit on both sides, and trashcans were easily located to decrease litter in the area. The 2 was more full than The 18 at this point, however we all managed to find seats. Looking around, we gathered the main demographic of those riding the bus was an older crowd however; two young boys did board the bus with their father at one point. Because most of our group has been in Columbus for quiet sometime, and are familiar with some suburbs we knew for the most part where we where. The 2 was also quiet, however on two different occasions the bus driver began to get very angry at someone because she could hear their music. Although the music was barely heard by any of us, it proved to be a great annoyance and hazard to the driver. When the music was not immediately turned off the driver angrily said she would not continue driving until it was turned off. The passenger complied, and we continued on our way. Eventually around 5pm we got to our destination in Bexley.
After a little under an hour of travel time, we concluded as a group we would not be able to take the bus home. Many of us had class at 5:30 or other obligations that the bus would not get us back in time for. Alternatively, we decided to Uber and got back to campus in 20 minutes instead of an hour. Although this was not the ideal situation, it was necessary given the bus’ travel time. Overall, we concluded taking the bus for short trips would be very effective and easy, however when interested in going further, the length of time and unreliability of the system outweigh the benefits.
The Chaire of Pierre started its COTA adventure on 18th and Woodruff heading North on the number 2 bus. The end goal was to arrive to Micro Center off bethel road within the same amount of time as one class period. We used the COTA trip planner app to decide on our route, ensure that the distance was over 5 miles (5.2), as well as confirm that we were completing our transfer with the correct bus routes. The app suggested that we take the number two bus north to Morse Rd, where we would then change to the number 95 bus to arrive to the final destination. It seemed simple enough.
Our group gathered at the northbound stop on High and Woodruff. This is a very crowded stop, as there was not enough space to hold the capacity of people waiting on their bus around this time. Despite the smaller size, it ultimately didn’t seem to matter considering the number 2 has so many buses on route, and generally speaking arrives very frequently, so that the large mass of people were not staying there too long. After arriving at our northbound stop, we decided not to get on the 3:55 bus so that we could observe the bus stops’ functionality. After watching two number 2 buses go by, it was time to board.
The number 2 bus line goes up and down high street all day long. The closer it is to campus and downtown, the more crowded the bus seemed to be. When we first got on, not all of us had a place to sit. However, as the bus proceeded towards Clintonville, much of the bus passengers were departing. By the time we got off there were only a handful of people left. From this, we came to the conclusion that during peak hours the buses that were traveling in more “prime” locations, such as High St. and the campus area, tend to be over-crowded which can cause a more un-enjoyable experience for COTA’s riders.
As we left our number 2 bus to prepare for our transfer to the 95 bus, we waited at a bus stop on Morse Rd. Unlike the stop that we waited at on High St., this bus had a shelter with a bench, which gave us a place to sit down while we waited for the bus arrival, as well as provided a structure to help protect us from the wind. The wait for our transfer bus was minimal, roughly 10-15 minutes. The time that the bus arrived matched with the sign at the physical bus stop, but was about 4-5 minutes later than what the app suggested. Although the app was slightly incorrect, it is important to remember that these are the peak times of rush-hour, and a slight delay in the timing is to be inevitable. The 95 bus was significantly less crowded as we only shared the bus with one person, who got off shortly after we arrived, leaving our group on the bus by ourselves.
Despite the large crowd that we were initially the bus with, safety did not seem to be a concern for us. Considering the time of day and the fact that most people were riding to their homes after class/work, most riders seemed to be quiet, listening to music, or just simply keeping to themselves, which did allot for a better experience for all riders on board. On top of feeling safe in regards to the other passengers on board, the staff we encountered on both busses was very friendly and helpful. In respect to the equipment on the bus, there were noises that could be heard, but nothing that seemed to be too overbearing to diminish our experience on the bus.
Overall, we came to the conclusion that the COTA is an efficient system, but still has room for improvements. Throughout the trip, we always had a least one group member familiar with where we were considering several of our members are from Columbus, as well as another member currently living in the Clintonville area. As we stated previously, the busses did arrive around the same time that the stops anticipated, but it would be nice to have a transit system that could have faster bus routes. One way that this could become a reality is through incorporating more express bus lines. These express bus lines would give community members a more direct route to their location, which would limit the amount of planning that riders must do to get to their final location on time.
The Urban Avengers’ trek began at the COTA bus stop on High Street (heading south) near 18th Avenue. While this stop was certainly not chock-full of amenities, it did provide two large, sturdy trash cans.
What was lacking at this highly utilized stop was a shelter, it was windy and people were very chilly. We arrived a few minutes early for our #2 bus, which had a scheduled arrival time of 3:59, however the bus actually arrived at 4:05, which threw us off schedule for the next bus (an eastbound #10 at Broad & High), which we hoped to catch at the scheduled time of 4:20pm, but did not make it in time.
The southbound drive down High Street was long and painful – the bus was completely over a comfortable capacity, with practically as many passengers standing as were seated (this was likely due to the high number of students from our class that were on it – the “regulars” seemed shocked that it was so crowded).
Our bus driver was very friendly and helpful, especially with assisting an elderly handicapped woman onto the bus and into a seat. This bus, while very crowded, did not seem overly noisy.
Our next leg of the trip, was supposed to consist of our group catching the eastbound #10 at 4:20 pm, but our group arrived late due to the lateness of the #2. So we waited in a *COTA shelter at the southeast corner of Broad and High for the next #10, scheduled for 4:31 (actual arrival 4:33).
The general vibe of the passengers on this bus seemed tired, quiet, and perhaps just ready to get home and relax. While the original plan was to take this bus to our chosen destination, The Franklin Park Conservatory – we had to abandon our experiment at 4:45 as we knew we would not be able to get back to the point of origin by class end-time of 5:15 pm. We had one group member leave the bus at 4:40 in order to hopefully get to back to campus for his next class by its start time of 5:30. The rest of us were prepared to attempt the entire trip, but when our bus was continually slowed by several red lights and another handicapped passenger situation, we knew we were looking at a 5:00 pm arrival at our destination (at best), and therefore abandoned the Conservatory destination.
We exited the #10 at Broad and Washington (Columbus Museum of Art), crossed Broad Street and walked 3 blocks west before ½ of our group (the women) waited on a westbound #10 bus, which we could see in the distance. The remainder of the group (the two men left) decided to walk to Broad and High and see if they would “beat the bus.”
While the girls technically “won” by arriving at Broad and High ahead of the walkers, the walkers then caught up with us while walking to the next stop (High and Long). On this final leg of the trip, 4 of us caught the next #2 heading north on High, and one group member caught the #4 which would route up Indianola Avenue to campus. This final bus stop at High and Long is extremely busy and extremely dirty. The smell of either rotten food or vomit (or both) was overwhelming and hard to escape. Our feet were literally sticking to the sidewalks in and around the several shelters. There were several shelters, which we did not enter as they were crowded. We did, however, enjoy the slanted horizontal “resting/leaning pads” which are fastened to the front of the shelters, this helped with standing. This stop, overall, was very disappointing and made for an uncomfortable wait, largely due to the smell and dirty conditions.
The final bus, which was dimly lit and very quiet, arrived at Long and High at approximately 5:12pm and we arrived at Woodruff and High Street at 5:33 pm. It is our belief that had we continued to the Conservatory as originally planned, we would not have arrived back at Woodruff & High until possibly well after 6:00 pm; so while we did not want to abandon the destination, we felt it was the correct choice based on timing.
Overall, all of the buses were clean, drivers were friendly, and we never felt that safety was an issue…with the possible exception of a pretty rambunctious Doberman guide dog-in-training that alarmed two members. The only notable equipment issue was what seemed like very sensitive brakes on the final bus, as the stops were very jerky. It was fairly easy to know where we were at all times on all buses, especially since the automatic verbal announcements communicate the stops, which we found very helpful.
The overall trip was long, and waiting was uncomfortable due to the cold, but the buses were for the most part reliable – the destination was not able to be reached largely due to the lateness of the first bus, and then followed with issues from traffic, red lights and the time it took for large volumes of people getting on and off the bus.
*The shelter at Broad and High seemed fairly new, was nice in appearance, clean, no offensive odors, was partially encased with clean glass windows, contained several long benches and ceiling heaters (however they were not in use), and had no visible damage or graffiti. The chief complaint here was that, while the roof covering would certainly be appreciated if it had been raining or snowing, it did not offer blockage from the wind, as there are large openings at the top and bottom all the way around. It may have actually even been colder inside the shelter as it seemed to act as a wind tunnel.