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The Ticker: A transit solution and new businesses on the west side

Is a bus always just a bus?

If you find yourself downtown tomorrow near the Chamber of Commerce’s offices at 20th and 5th Avenue North, say around 11 a.m., you may notice a sight that is not normal for the region. If you miss it there, you might see a similar sight over at MAX‘s Central Station around 1:45 p.m. At first glance the sight of a bus would lead some of you to think I’m crazier than you already think (especially after yesterday’s post). That’s not the not normal part. The bus that will be there is one used for bus rapid transit, one of the newer types of transit systems being implemented in cities such as Los Angeles and Mexico City, Mexico. There are plans for a system like this to be implemented in Kansas City. At the end of the Wikipedia piece linked to earlier in the post, you will see a list of cities currently using or in the process of implementing a plan for use.

These systems are also used to augment existing systems in the world, providing faster speeds when compared to use as a limited stop service provider in areas like New York City. We’ve written before about some of the transit issues that face our region. It will be very interesting to see what the reaction is to the bus around town today as it is demonstrated as part of the In-Town Transit Partnership Project at the Regional Planning Commission.

New businesses thrive on the west side

There has been a great deal of activity in Ensley in recent months as the district begins to see reinvestment. One of the most recent projects to be completed is a new business located at 417 19th Street in the building formerly occupied by AJ’s Bargain Shop. It is now Recycled Wardrobe, an urban consignment shop specializing in current fashions. The work done on the interior of the space provides an excellent example of how properties can be restored and make an area come alive. Hopefully he is the first of many opportunities.

A lecture I attended at the library yesterday about the history of jazz in Ensley (presented by Karen Utz of Sloss Furnaces) makes me wonder about how the area will come back. It may also help you follow my train of thought in mentioning both of these items in today’s post. It is widely accepted that the trolley turnaround located in Tuxedo Junction helped make it one of, if not the, premiere entertainment location in the city of Birmingham. With the focus already beginning to fall on increasing the housing density, one hopes that one will look at transit as well. To keep the character of the area, perhaps one should look at a return to active bus service to the area, with parking left at the periphery. It will definitely help with the image of the area; just wondering if its still possible.

Enjoy the day.


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