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The Current TARTA Downtown Loop to Be Replaced by Cherry/Huron Loop

Special to The Truth

The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) is the local public transit system for the Toledo, Ohio area. Its annual ridership is approximately three million trips and the majority of this ridership is along its 32 fixed routes. Of these routes, all but four are radial in nature, originating or terminating within the Central Business District (CBD), and stopping at four separate downtown transit transfer points.

Service to these stops is provided on the “Loop,” a dedicated bus-only lane that surrounds a 12-block area bounded by Jackson, Summit, Jefferson, and Erie Streets. The Loop and its original five stations were opened for service in 1982 on the basis of the current regional demand patterns. At that time, downtown Toledo was the primary destination in the metropolitan area.

Subsequent shifts in land use, employment activity, commercial development, and overall travel patterns have made the Loop less useful, however. There have been significant changes in the more than 30 years since the Loop was built.

Downtown has changed. Viewpoints on how traffic and transit can assist downtown development have changed. The origins and destinations of where TARTA’s passengers live, work, and wish to journey to in their daily lives have changed, and TARTA also needs to continue to change.

“With a single downtown hub, the efficiency of buses coming downtown has decreased,” said Steve Stkinson, communications director for TARTA. “We have used the loop less and less.”

Proposed central transit “Hub” The TARTA Transit Hub project addresses the current Loop issue through the acquisition of a new centralized transit facility in downtown Toledo and the reconfiguration of surrounding streets to improve bus operations, transit connectivity, and access to downtown Toledo. In addition to improvements to local bus service, the project also includes streetscape and connectivity upgrades that will benefit pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Goodwill building has been identified as a preferred transit center location through a multiyear alternatives evaluation and stakeholder engagement process. The project will feature an indoor transit center waiting area and commercial space, ticketing center and administrative offices headquarters. The location is transit rich, situated within two blocks of Toledo’s current primary transit hub: the Jackson Street/Government transit loop station.

The proposed TARTA Downtown Transit Hub area is served today by all TARTA routes in the network. It is positioned along the inbound corridor for most routes serving the northwestern service area and represents a natural downtown gateway or service terminal area for the remaining inbound routes. Cherry Street, its retail frontage corridor and a major arterial, has been identified as a transit enhancement priority area through TARTA’s strategic planning process.

“Demand has shifted to Jackson Street but it has not been as efficient as having a stop at Cherry/Huron will be,” said Atkinson. “We are making it more comfortable for passengers and we need a place where passengers have a one-stop shop.”

The site intersects three neighborhood areas: the downtown business district, the Civic Center, and the Vistula/United North historic mixed-use and residential neighborhood. Land uses in the immediate area include subsidized housing towers along Cherry Street, government office buildings, other office properties and places of worship.

The Cherry Street/Huron Street intersection fronts one of the highest concentrations of affordable housing in the city. The Goodwill building features the only sidewalk-oriented retail space in the surrounding Civic Center and Cherry Street corridor area. The building presents a turnkey solution for a well-lit, visible and sidewalk-oriented indoor transit waiting area with activating and neighborhood-supporting retail. Locating the transit center at Cherry and Huron complements downtown planning initiatives to create a more walkable environment (see Downtown Toledo Master Plan 2017 and Cherry Street Legacy Plan 2009).

Cherry Street borders the northern edge of downtown Toledo. It is a wide corridor with over 8000 daily vehicle movements. The 2017 Downtown Master Plan identifies the objective to redesign the street to improve non-motorized connectivity between the Vistula neighborhood and downtown, with Huron Street as a major pedestrian gateway. The transit center presents an opportunity to focus pedestrian infrastructure at Cherry/Huron, connecting bus bays and destinations on all sides of the intersection.

The proposed Transit Hub is an existing two-story structure at 612 N. Huron Street in downtown Toledo. This building will contain a climate-controlled indoor waiting area of approximately 5,000 square feet. The waiting area will provide various amenities, including restrooms and water fountains, an information area and attendant booth or service counter, and an active monitoring technology to be monitored by TARTA customer service and security personnel. TARTA will use the upper floor of this building for administrative and office functions. The building has roof-top parking, and will include a sheltered bicycle parking station. Street furniture will also be installed, including bicycle racks, benches, trash receptacles, wayfinding and directional signage, traffic control related to multiuse path crossings, and outdoor canopies.


Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:12 -0700.

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