The Southwest Corridor Transit Study is about finding ways to improve transit services in the southwest corridor of Greater Birmingham along the Bessemer Superhighway Corridor. In addition to improving transit services, the study will look at ways encourage “smarter” and greener planning and land uses to energize economic development for those who live, work and go to school in the corridor. Everyone can get involved— as the study will provide opportunities for local elected officials, planners and citizens to work together, to look for ways to rebuild and revitalize our communities while protecting existing neighborhoods, and to attract new housing, jobs, and services. In short, this study will look at ways to improve: daily travel, quality of life, and economic development.
This study is funded by a Federal Transit Administration grant though the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority. Managed by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, this project also has support from local jurisdictions and the Alabama Department of Transportation.
Southwest Corridor Monthly Poll
The Southwest Corridor Study has identified the need for new Bus Rapid Transit service along the US 11 Corridor from downtown to South Bessemer at Academy Drive. This service, when it is implemented would provide rapid and frequent service along the route, which would improve mobility for students, workers and residents. To implement improved transit will require additional local money for public transit.
Results from the Southwest Corridor
Roundtable Meeting on May 11
The RPCGB, along with its consultant team led by Atkins, conducted a Roundtable Meeting at the Birmingham Crossplex Center on Saturday morning, May 11 to present important study recommendations for quality transit service and for revitalizing neighborhoods and communities. The meeting was moderated by Darrell Howard, RPCGB Deputy Director of Planning.
The meeting opened with a keynote presentation by Ann Dawson August, Executive Director of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, who spoke to the prospects of building a better transit system for Birmingham. Next was a presentation highlighting the study recommendations, including a forward-looking video that detailed the transit and land use vision for the corridor.
Following the presentation was the focus of the Roundtable Meeting, a session in which the meeting participants expressed their views about the study findings and their perspectives and questions about the corridor. Comments were supportive of moving forward on proposals for transit and land use, and for the recommendation to establish a Corridor Coalition whose members would be the corridor cities and supporting agencies. After the public comment session, a Mayor’s Panel was convened.
The panel members were Mayor William Bell – Birmingham, Mayor Kenneth Gulley – Bessemer, Mayor Barbara Watkins – Brighton, and William Baylor – Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Midfield, who spoke to the importance of better transit, economic development, and working together for a better future. They all expressed commitment to supporting the Corridor Coalition concept.
The project video detailed features of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit service operating between downtown and the Academy Drive area, mostly along US 11 Bessemer Super Highway, with 25 proposed station locations. There would also be two Commuter Express routes operating along I-20/59 from downtown to park-and-ride lots at the Bessemer interchange (18th St. N and 19th St. N), the Academy Drive interchange, and at the Promenade Mall on I-459 at Eastern Valley Drive. There would also be two new transit Super Stops at Five Points West and downtown Bessemer, providing a transfer point between the different transit services.
The land use recommendations focused on transit-oriented development, building on the existing corridor nodes at Princeton Baptist Hospital, Five Points West, Aronov Drive, Downtown Bessemer, and South Bessemer near Academy Drive. Redevelopment would also be encouraged at other station locations such as Midfield near the High Line trail crossing and at the confluence of Bessemer, Brighton, and Lipscomb, at Harmer St./5th St. N.
These study recommendations were developed by listening to the corridor interests – the public and civic leaders - over the course of four interactive rounds of community forums and the results of further technical analyses and strategy development. The next steps include setting up an organizational meeting for the Corridor Coalition, an ongoing committee forum for prioritizing, funding, and implementing study recommendations.
For More Information Contact the RPCGB Project Manager: Darrell L. Howard, AICP, PTP Deputy Director of Planning 205.251.8139 ext. 441 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to watch pre-recorded video of Roundtable Meeting.
Point of View
Ideas about the Southwest Corridor and its potential from the prospective of people in the community.
Education, Access, Keys to Community Revitalization
By Tyrone Silmon, Economic Development/Community Planner
Main Street Birmingham
Effective education and access to food and healthcare services are the anchors to community revitalization. As a community planner for Main Street Birmingham I've seen the impact improvements in these two areas can have on a community. However, as a parent I understand the important role each plays in improving a family’s overall quality of life.
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