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Columbus Metro Area
Columbus-Marion-Zanesville, OH CSA
Columbus, OH MSA Marion, OH µSA Zanesville, OH µSA Chilicothe, OH µSA Mount Vernon, OH µSA Bellefontaine, OH µSA Cambridge, OH µSAWashington Court House, OH µSA
|Other cities|| - Dublin
|• Total||3,169.2 sq mi (8,208 km2)|
|Highest elevation||1,480 ft (450 m)|
|Lowest elevation||630 ft (192 m)|
|• Rank||32nd in the U.S.|
|• Density||490.3/sq mi (189.3/km2)|
The Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area is the metropolitan area centered on the American city of Columbus, Ohio. Definitions of what is commonly referred to as the "Columbus Region" vary. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the metropolitan area includes the counties of Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, and Union. The population of the MSA is 2,021,632 according to census estimates, ranking third in Ohio and 32nd in the nation.
The larger Combined Statistical Area (called the Columbus-Marion-Zanesville, OH Combined Statistical Area) adds the counties of Fayette, Guernsey, Knox, Logan, Marion, Muskingum, and Ross. It includes the Micropolitan Statistical Areas of Bellefontaine, Cambridge, Chillicothe, Marion, Mount Vernon, Washington Court House, and Zanesville, due to strong ties with Columbus. The population of the CSA is 2,348,495 according to the 2012 census estimates, ranking 25th in the nation.
It is the third largest metropolitan area in the state of Ohio, behind Greater Cincinnati and Greater Cleveland and is on pace to become Ohio's largest metropolitan area by 2025. It is also one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Midwestern United States. It is part of the Great Lakes Megalopolis, containing an estimated 54 million people. It is also one of the fastest growing metro areas outside of the Sun Belt.
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Grid and address system
The metro area's street plan originates downtown and extends into the old-growth neighborhoods, following a grid pattern with the intersection of High Street (running north–south) and Broad Street (running east–west) at its center. North-South streets run 12 degrees west of due North, parallel to High Street; the Avenues (vis. Fifth Avenue, Sixth Avenue, Seventh Avenue, and so on.) run east–west. The address system begins its numbering at the intersection of Broad and High, with numbers increasing in magnitude with distance from Broad or High. Numbered Avenues begin with First Avenue, about 1 1⁄4 mi (2.0 km) north of Broad Street, and increase in number as one progresses northward. Numbered Streets begin with Second Street, which is two blocks west of High Street, and Third Street, which is a block east of High Street, then progress eastward from there. Even-numbered addresses are on the north and east sides of streets, putting odd addresses on the south and west sides of streets. A difference of 700 house numbers means a distance of about 1 mi (1.6 km) (along the same street). For example, 351 W 5th Avenue is approximately 1⁄2 mi (800 m) west of High Street on the south side of Fifth Avenue. Buildings along north–south streets are numbered in a similar manner: the building number indicates the approximate distance from Broad Street, the prefixes 'N' and 'S' indicate whether that distance is to measured to the north or south of Broad Street and the street number itself indicates how far the street is from the center of the city at the intersection of Broad and High.
This street numbering system does not hold true over a large area. The area served by numbered Avenues runs from about Marble Cliff to South Linden to the Airport, and the area served by numbered Streets covers Downtown and nearby neighborhoods to the east and south, with only a few exceptions. There are quite few intersections between numbered Streets and Avenues. Furthermore, named Streets and Avenues can have any orientation. For example, while all of the numbered avenues run east–west, perpendicular to High Street, many named, non-numbered avenues run north–south, parallel to High. The same is true of many named streets: while the numbered streets in the city run north–south, perpendicular to Broad Street, many named, non-numbered streets run east–west, perpendicular to High Street.
Columbus is bisected by two major Interstate Highways, Interstate 70 running east–west, and Interstate 71 running north to roughly southwest. The two Interstates combine downtown for about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) in an area locally known as "The Split", which is a major traffic congestion point within Columbus, especially during rush hour. U.S. Route 40, originally known as the National Road, runs east–west through Columbus, comprising Main Street to the east of downtown and Broad Street to the west. U.S. Route 23 runs roughly north–south, while U.S. Route 33 runs northwest-to-southeast. The Interstate 270 Outerbelt encircles the vast majority of the city, while the newly redesigned Innerbelt consists of the Interstate 670 spur on the north side (which continues to the east past the Airport and to the west where it merges with I-70), State Route 315 on the west side, the I-70/71 split on the south side, and I-71 on the east. Due to its central location within Ohio and abundance of outbound roadways, nearly all of the state's destinations are within a 2 or 3 hour drive of Columbus.
The Columbus riverfront hosts a few notable bridges which have been built since 2000. The 700 ft (210 m) Main Street Bridge opened on July 30, 2010 and is the first bridge of its kind in North America. The bridge is located directly south of COSI on the Scioto river, featuring three lanes of traffic (one westbound and two eastbound) and another separated lane for pedestrians and bikes. The Rich Street Bridge opened in July 2012 and is adjacent to the Main Street Bridge connecting Rich Street on the east side of the river with Town Street on the west. The Lane Avenue Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that opened on November 14, 2003 in the University District and spans the Olentangy river with three lanes of traffic each way.
The metro area's primary airport, John Glenn Columbus International Airport, is located on the east side of the city of Columbus, with several smaller airports in the region as well. John Glenn Columbus International provides service to Toronto, Canada and Cancun, Mexico (on a seasonal basis), as well as to most domestic destinations, including all the major hubs except San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. Northern California is serviced by flights to and from Oakland, California, and Southern California flights go to and from Los Angeles International Airport.
John Glenn Columbus International Airport was a hub for discount carrier Skybus Airlines and continues to be a home to NetJets, the world's largest fractional ownership air carrier. According to a 2005 market survey, Port Columbus International Airport attracts about 50% of its passengers from outside of its 60-mile (97 km) radius primary service region. Port Columbus is currently the 52nd-busiest airport in the United States by total passenger boardings.
The second major airport in the metro area is Rickenbacker International Airport, located in southern Franklin County. It is a major cargo facility and is utilized by the Ohio Air National Guard. Allegiant Air offers nonstop service from Rickenbacker to various Florida destinations and seasonally to other cities such as Jacksonville, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, and Savannah GA.
Ohio State University Don Scott Airport and Bolton Field are significant general-aviation facilities in the Columbus area.
Columbus maintains a widespread municipal bus service called the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound, Barons Bus Lines, Miller Transportation, Megabus, GoBus, and other carriers.
Currently, Columbus does not have any type of passenger rail service. Columbus used to have a major train station downtown called Union Station, most notably as a stop along Amtrak's National Limited train service until 1977. The station itself was razed in 1979, and the Greater Columbus Convention Center now stands in its place. The station was also a stop along the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad and the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad. Columbus is now the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without either a local rail or intercity rail connection (Phoenix opened a light-rail system in 2008, but still lacks an Amtrak connection. Kansas City is the only metro area larger than Columbus that lacks a local rail system, but one is being built.) however studies are underway towards reintroducing passenger rail service to Columbus via the Ohio Hub project. Plans are in the works to open a high-speed rail service connecting Columbus with Cincinnati and to the proposed hub in Cleveland which offers rail service to the East Coast, including New York and Washington, DC.
Cycling as transportation is steadily increasing in Columbus with its relatively flat terrain, intact urban neighborhoods, large student population, and off-road bike paths. The city has put forth the 2012 Bicentennial Bikeways Plan as well as a move toward a Complete Streets policy. Grassroots efforts such as Bike To Work Week, Consider Biking, Yay Bikes, Third Hand Bicycle Co-op, Franklinton Cycleworks, and Cranksters, a local radio program focused on urban cycling, have contributed to cycling as transportation.
Columbus also hosts urban cycling "off-shots" with messenger-style "alleycat" races as well as unorganized group rides, a monthly Critical Mass ride, bicycle polo, art showings, movie nights, and a variety of bicycle-friendly businesses and events throughout the year. All this activity occurs despite Columbus's frequently inclement weather.
The new Main Street Bridge features a dedicated bike and pedestrian lane separated from traffic, as does the Rich Street Bridge.
The city has its own public bicycle system. CoGo Bike Share system has a network of 335 bicycles and 41 docking stations (2016). PBSC Urban Solutions, a company based in Canada, supplies technology and equipment.
Numerous museums are located throughout the metropolis. Science lovers will enjoy visiting COSI, which has exhibits, demonstrations, IMAX movies and activities for all ages. The Columbus Museum of Art houses a fine collection of art and hosts many interesting exhibits throughout the year. Stargazers will enjoy Perkins Observatory, located just south of Delaware. The observatory hosts public programs, and serves as the home for the Columbus Astronomical Society. The Ohio Railway Museum, located in Worthington, features a large collection of both static and operational railway equipment. In Hilliard, a unique museum exists in the form of the Early Television Museum. This attraction features a large collection of TV's from the 1920s, 30's and 40's. Fans of Bruce Lee will find the Bruce Lee Legends of Martial Art Hall of Fame Museum located in Reynoldsburg particularly interesting. Nearby in Pickerington, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum draws those interested in classic cycles as well as its surrounding culture. Also in the area is the Mid-Ohio Historical Museum, located in Canal Winchester. Collections found here include thousands of antique and modern children's toys, a train display, and a miniature circus. Historical memorabilia of an entirely different kind can be found at the Motts Military Museum, located in Groveport.
Columbus is the home of many renowned performing arts institutions, including Opera Columbus, BalletMet, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCo), Shadowbox Cabaret and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Throughout the summer, the Actors' Theatre offers free performances of Shakespearean plays in an open-air amphitheatre located in German Village.
There are numerous large concert venues in Columbus, including arenas such as Nationwide Arena, Value City Arena, and Columbus Crew Stadium. The Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (the LC for short) (formerly the PromoWest Pavilion), Veterans Memorial auditorium, and the Newport Music Hall, round out the city's music performance spaces. Recently, funding has been allocated to renovate the Lincoln Theatre, which was formerly a center for Black culture in Columbus. Not far from the Lincoln Theatre is the King Arts Complex, which hosts various cultural events. The city also has a number of theatres downtown, including the historic Palace Theatre, the Ohio Theatre, the Southern Theatre, and the Riffe Center which houses The Capitol Theatre as well as two studio theatres. Much of the growth in entertainment capacity in Columbus has been recent. The construction of the Crew Stadium, Nationwide Arena, Value City Arena, the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion are all projects completed since 1990.
Fairs and Festivals
Events taking place within the Greater Columbus area include the Ohio State Fair, one of the largest state fairs in the United States, as well as the Little Brown Jug, a world-famous harness racing event taking place in Delaware. Comfest (officially The Community Festival) is arguably the largest free, non-corporate urban music and arts festival in the United States featuring 6 stages of music over 3 days in downtown's Goodale Park and has occurred annually in late June since 1972. Each year, Dublin hosts the Dublin Irish Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of people for a weekend of Irish food, music, and dance. Upper Arlington hosts its own arts festival annually on Labor Day, taking up a large portion of Northam Park. The Franklin County Fair is held annually in Hilliard.
The Columbus Arts Festival is a huge arts festival held each summer that attracts well-known and talented artists from all around the country. The fair features hundreds of artists of all types, several stages with musical performances, art-related activities for children, and traditional fair food as well as food from area restaurants.
Columbus also hosts a Latino Festival, Jazz & Rib Festival, International Festival, Asian Festival, and a city-wide Fourth of July celebration (Red, White & Boom).
Located southeast of Columbus, Lancaster is host to the annual Lancaster Festival, a 10-day celebration of music and the arts. The Festival has its own orchestra and draws visitors from all over the region.
In nearby Circleville, is home to the annual Circleville Pumpkin Show. This is known as Ohio's largest festival for drawing in an average 100,000 people per day to the community of less than 15,000 residents.
Parks and recreation
In addition to numerous city parks, the Columbus Metro Parks operate 14 large parks mostly focused on preserving and protecting the natural environment. There are many State Parks with unique natural features, including Blackhand Gorge, Clifton Gorge, Alum Creek, Hocking Hills State Park, and Rockbridge State Nature Preserve. The Hocking Hills region also includes parts of the Wayne National Forest, which makes for good Leaf peeping in the autumn. The Columbus suburb Westerville's Parks and Recreation department has won the National Gold Medal for outstanding parks and recreation in its last two years of eligibility (2001 and 2007).
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Images for kids
Mapfre Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., and home to Columbus Crew SC.
Columbus metropolitan area, Ohio Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.