Tag Archives: Columbus

Bicycling in the Rust Belt

Angie and Kate have posted about the Great Lakes Urban Exchange’s “I Will Stay If …” campaign a few times here; and as I was leafing through some of their photos recently, I noticed a number of references to bicycle unfriendliness of some of the Rust Belt cities.

With the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey data now available, I took a look at what the numbers look like throughout the Rust Belt. I should note that I used only core-city geography data, so the comparisons are not completely fair, given the arbitrary nature of political boundaries, but I think they are reasonable enough for this sake of this comparison.


The purple bars show the proportion of commuters who cite a bicycle as their primary source of commuting. The green bars show the number of bicyclists divided by the squared area (excluding water) of the city. Although similar, they give a little different perspective.

The best place for a bicyclist in the Rust Belt is probably Philadelphia. Having biked in Philly over the summer, I can speak from experience that they have done a good job promoting cycling. Erie has a slightly higher proportion of cyclists than Philly, but a smaller total number. On the other end of the spectrum, Detroit, Toledo, Akron, Dayton and Cincinnati all have pretty dismal numbers. I haven’t biked in any of those places, so hopefully someone who has can comment on whether the numbers reflect the reality.

9-08-commuter-amy-greeneNevertheless, even the best cities in the Rust Belt have a long way to go to catch up to the best overall bicycling cities in America (which have a long way to go to catch up to the best bicycling cities in Europe, but I digress). Rust Belt bicyclists might feel a little more at home in a place like Portland (6.0% / 130), Seattle (2.9% /117), Minneapolis (4.3% /150), or Washington, DC (2.3%/113). Unless, of course, we can keep working to make our own cities better for cyclists.

-Rob Pitingolo


Filed under Featured, Public Transportation

Ohio Loses Population

The state of Ohio lost population overall for the first time in nearly a decade, according to a study by Community Research Partners.


90.3 WCPN in Cleveland reports that the state lost 35,000 residents. In-migration and birth rates were not able to offset the decline.

Experts believe the out-migration can be traced to job loss. Ohio has a tendency to lose residents during a recession, experts report.

Franklin County, home to Columbus, managed to avoid the decline and gained residents. Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County and Cincinnati’s Hamilton County both lost residents overall.


Filed under Art, Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, The Big Urban Photography Project

Blogging Down Crime

Block Watch organizations across the county are latching on to a new powerful tool: social media.

The Associated Press reports block watch organizations are increasing utilizing tools like Twitter and blogs.

The article follows a Columbus lawyer who tweets about suspicious vehicles and break-ins to protect his crime-ridden Old Oaks neighborhood.

Columbus lawyer and block watch captain Richard Vickers

Columbus lawyer and block watch captain Richard Vickers

The strategy has payed off for Mr. Vickers. Neighbors report criminal activity has dwindled and the streets are safer.


Filed under Crime, Featured, Good Ideas

WSJ: Big Cities Growing Quicker

The Wall Street Journal is carrying a story about growth in many big cities since the last census.

The paper reports the recession is having a chilling effect on suburban sprawl. Researchers also predict migration to the Sun Belt is cooling.

Philadelphia, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Chicago and Columbus, Ohio are among the big winners.

St. Paul

St. Paul

Detroit and Cleveland, not so much.

“Cities are showing a continued vitality as hubs of activity even as some suburban and exurban areas go through tough times,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. “It emphasizes the buoyancy of large established cities with diverse economies and populations.”

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Filed under Headline, sprawl

Columbus’ Condo Market Faltering

Columbus’s downtown condo market is (of course) suffering under the current housing bust, Columbus’ alt-weekly, The Other Paper, reports.

This is worrisome because the city had vested its hopes for revitalizing downtown on a influx of residential young professionals.

Columbus' Carlyle's Watch: Built During Boom Times

Columbus' Carlyle's Watch: Built During Boom Times

Condo sales account for 2 percent less of overall sales than they did before the bust and many new downtown condo developments are half empty, the paper reports.

This must be happening elsewhere. What will the timing of the economic downturn mean for this relatively new, and once-hot real estate market?


Filed under Featured

Ohio House Passes Foreclosure Moratorium

The Ohio House of representatives has passed a moratorium on foreclosures, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

House Bill 3 will place a six-month moratorium on foreclosures, under certain conditions.


Continue reading

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Filed under Real Estate

Welcome to the Forefront of the Housing Crisis, Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis

It’s kinda nice to read a story about the housing crisis that isn’t set in my backyard (Cleveland) for once.

This time, my hometown of Columbus is front and center in the sad story of houses without owners. A neighborhood in west Columbus was found to have the highest vacancy rate in the country, according to an Associated Press analysis, based on Housing and Urban Development and Postal Service data.

This is kinda unusual because Columbus is generally regarded to be the golden child of Ohio in these parts.

I know the Columbus neighborhood well. Continue reading


Filed under Urban Planning