Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ohio's Geographic Advantages: A Discussion on Urbanophile

There's a great free form talk going on Urbanophile about what should be one of the more self evident attributes of Ohio. Of course one could say the same for several bordering states, but not as much. Talk quickly turned to rail.

"One of them is that Ohio is on the trade routes. Many major transcontinental interstates pass through the place, along with tons of rails lines. This is a big contrast to Michigan, which is a peninsula. Other than Detroit and the trade links through Canada and its air hub, Michigan is almost always going to require a special trip. I noticed this when I drove to Grand Rapids for the first time. It’s a detour. You’re not going to pass through it unless you’re going somewhere else in Michigan. Whereas in Ohio, massive amounts of people and freight are simply passing through. All it has to do is convince some of it to stop. Furthermore, Ohio is a state of many large cities. In addition to the “3C”s of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, there’s also Dayton, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown etc... "

Columbus to Pittsburgh 167 miles
Columbus to Indianapolis 175 miles
Columbus to Chicago 354 miles
Columbus to Cincinnati 102 miles
Columbus to Louisville 209 miles
Columbus to Nashville 333 miles
Columbus to D.C. 409 miles
Columbus to New York 535 miles
Columbus to Charlotte 427 miles

I can't help feeling that with the region's rich array of smaller cities, perhaps high speed rail is less an answer than good commuter lines and trains running at average to(say 70-90 avg MPH) fast speeds. I do find it hard to give up a high speed, Chicago--Indianapolis--Columbus--Pittsburgh route and a fast link connecting Cleveland and Columbus. Between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, I see more value in a train that stops in Youngstown and Akron.

Another huge issue is price. I see a lot more value in options that are affordable to a broad range of people.

99 comments so far, comparing cities, regions, land use, density, transit oriented design and all kinds of side topics.

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