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Metro officials looking for public feedback to develop new regional transit plan

Metro officials last updated the regional authority’s transit plan in 2008, but a lot has changed with public transportation since that time and leaders are looking to freshen up that vision. Four public meetings have already been held, with an additional four scheduled, and an online survey will be available now through August.

Officials with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) are looking for public input about how to improve the region’s Metro bus system. The feedback is being solicited in order to update the organization’s plan which was last completed in 2008.

Since the last transit plan was completed, SORTA officials tout the completion of several major items include new articulated buses, hybrid buses, Uptown and Western Hills transit centers, GoogleTransit interface, payment technologies, Google Transit interface and a revamped website.

An articulated bus picks up passengers at Government Square. Photograph by Randy A. Simes for UrbanCincy.

With those initiatives now in place, the transit authority is looking to do more. In an online survey, available now through August 2012, officials ask what could be improved about existing service and what kinds of new service would add value to the regional bus network. The survey also asks whether amenity upgrades like bus shelters, benches, and real-time arrival at busy stops would be of value.

In addition to the online survey, SORTA has held four public meetings to date, with another four scheduled to take place by this Friday. The final four meetings planned will take place as follows:

  • March 28, 2012 from 10am to 11am at 602 Main Street, 12th Floor (Metro’s Offices)
  • March 29, 2012 from 10am to 11am at 7000 Hamilton Avenue (Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired)
  • March 29, 2012 from 7pm to 8pm at 3017 Harrison Avenue (Westwood Town Hall)
  • March 30, 2012 from 10am to 11am at 9555 Plainfield Road (Science & Allied Health Building at UC Blue Ash)

The public input gathered, officials say, will help develop a new transit plan that will be released at the end of 2012.

“Through surveys, phone interviews and public meetings, we’ll map specifically where Metro needs to evolve its routes and services,” Metro CEO and General Manager Terry Garcia Crews stated in a prepared release. “This planning initiative will help us define how Metro should best allocate its current resources and prepare for the future.”

Those unable to attend the public meetings can expect a video to be posted online in the coming weeks that will summarize the key points of the public presentations. Additional public meetings will then be scheduled in the fall as the final plan is rolled out to the public.

Officials also emphasize that every person who completes a survey will be entered to win a 30-day rolling Metro pass, with winners being announced in early September.

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.