Local New Years Eve 2011, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from RJ Schmidt’s photostream

One of the key recommendations of the recently developed Responsible Hospitality plan involves reforming our transportation infrastructure.  It is important to provide a late-night alternative to driving for residents and visitors enjoying our vibrant entertainment districts. The Port Authority’s current bus routes don’t always provide easy access from one business district to another and can be confusing to visitors and even residents who are used to using the system just to get between their homes and their workplaces. We should work to create a nightlife circulator bus route that will make our streets safer, relieve parking pressure on our businesses and entertainment districts, and provide a fast and reliable transportation option for residents and visitors alike.

1. Providing New Transit Options

Other cities across the country have found success with a circulator model to complement their existing mass transportation infrastructure.  Simple routes, regular frequencies, and distinctive marketing can make a circulator a compelling option for getting around the city. In Washington, D.C., for example, a robust series of circulators serves thousands of students, residents, and visitors every day.  In Baltimore, Maryland a free circulator service traverses the downtown corridor on a regular schedule.

A decade ago, I was an avid supporter of the Ultraviolet Loop, a circulator service sponsored by a coalition of foundations, and community organizations.  The bus provided late-night service on the weekends to destinations in the South Side, Oakland, East Liberty, Lawrenceville, and other parts of the city.  I believe this is an idea even more relevant today than it was a decade ago.  Our entertainment districts have boomed over the last decade, and we need to provide options to connect them to each other and to get people to and from them safely.  As mayor, I will work with community partners and the Port Authority to provide a circulator service not only during weekend evenings, but to provide reliable service for residents and visitors throughout the week.  This service will get people out to cultural destinations, entertainment venues, and business districts quickly and inexpensively.

2. Keeping Our Streets Safe

In addition to providing an appealing new transit option, a nightlife and entertainment circulator service would reduce drunk driving, relieve parking pressure on our neighborhoods, and promote existing transit infrastructure. A new circulator service would help our business districts, our neighborhoods, and the Port Authority.