COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The City of Columbus and Hopper Carts announced a pilot project in the Short North to test a free neighborhood shuttle. The carts will hit the streets starting May 1 for a two-month pilot. Rides may be accessed through a phone application. The area covered will be approximately Nationwide Boulevard north to Fifth Avenue.
Parking and safety are two of the most talked about issues in the Short North, and the owners of Hopper Carts said they have been hearing the same thing. They believe this free shuttle will help free up more of these meters for people who really need them, and make sure people get home safely.
“We really saw there was a problem in the Short North with parking, and we wanted to find a way to alleviate it,” said co-owner Chris Potts.
The 6-passenger vehicle will bring people from their front door to the Short North free of charge. The City of Columbus and Hopper Carts hope it makes life a little easier for those who live, work, and visit here. A few residents already think that.
“As somebody who worked down here, finding parking, running after your meter every three hours, paying for that, paying for tickets,” said Short North resident Lisa Fox. “I think it’s really something a lot of people would appreciate and utilize.”
While parking is an issue that even City Council has tried to solve, it isn’t the only issue on the minds of people in the Short North.
It’s been two months since Ohio State student Reagan Tokes was kidnapped and killed after leaving her job in the Short North.
Even though there’s been an arrest, the mindset of the community has already changed.
“There’s an element of fear. People don’t feel so comfortable coming down to the Short North anymore especially in light of some of thing things that happened this year,” said Brooke Vaughn Saige.
Vaughan Saige believes this shuttle start to change that.
“It’s not going to solve the problem, but I think it will maybe be a step to start and trust the neighborhood again.”
The owners also said this service will help people get better access to all the small businesses along the High Street strip.