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Business in Brewery District could benefit from COTA route extension

Emily Collard / Lantern designer

Brewery District businesses are excited about the prospect of more students going downtown when the Central Ohio Transportation Authority extends the route of the No. 21 on Jan. 7.

“The 21 Night Owl is going to be extending its services from the Arena District all the way to Sycamore and the Livingston area,” said Claire Ferneding, a marketing intern for COTA.

The No. 21 bus, known as the “Night Owl,” runs on High Street from Clintonville to Spring Street in the Arena District. It will run even farther south to Sycamore Street in the Brewery District.

John McGinnis, kitchen manager at Plank’s Bier Garten on High Street, expects the extended route to boost business in the Brewery District.

“We’re kind of far away from campus down here on the South Side,” McGinnis said. “It’s an easier opportunity for people to get here and get home safe, so we absolutely like it.”

McGinnis also said the extension could reduce traffic in the Arena and Brewery districts.

“It should help clear congestion on a Friday night,” McGinnis said. “Especially with college kids, they can just hop on the bus.”

Jesse Wohl, a fourth-year in finance, agreed that the route extension could clear congestion.

“It’s hard to get downtown normally,” Wohl said. “You either have to take an expensive cab” or find parking.

Stefan Channels, manager of Claddagh Irish Pub Manager on South Front Street, said he thinks the route will raise awareness about the Brewery District. But he added that he could see the number of drunk students “getting bad quick.”

Some students say the route extension will help prevent people from making poor decisions.

“A lot of times people will take taxis or attempt to drive” drunk, said Thomas Patterson, a third-year in international business. “I’ve had friends drive from down there.”

COTA is also adding a second bus to the route. The additional bus and route extension should have the buses arriving at 30-minute intervals as scheduled.

“What we found was that the Night Owl was running up to 40 percent late,” said Ginny Barry, COTA’s scheduling director. “When it says it’s going to come at 11:35 (p.m.), it’s going to come at 11:35.”

The No. 21 bus is scheduled to run from about 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The extended route will not affect OSU students’ COTA fees, so the fees will remain at $9 per quarter.

“It’s a great use of the resources to help students,” said Kyle Hanneman, a fourth-year in welding engineering. “It’s a great use of the students’ money.”

COTA made the decision to extend the route but collaborates with OSU and welcomes feedback from students.

“We’re excited to continue to work with students and see what they really want,” Ferneding said. “We’re always looking for feedback. We’re always looking to make our services in-line with what students want.”

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