Labor Day travel up, heat could cause problems (Plus Riverfest traffic details)
This week's high temperatures are already causing headaches for travelers. AAA's Cheryl Parker reports roadside emergency assistance calls are up eight percent and flat tire calls are up 21 percent heading into the holiday weekend.
"If you have low tire inflation the heat can expedite the flattening of that tire and it can drain your battery terminal," says Parker. "Just like the heat affects your body when you don't get enough water or there's too much heat on your body, it does the same thing to your vehicle."
The number of people planning end-of-summer trips over the Labor Day weekend is up slightly.
"Nationally, Labor Day travel is up - at the highest level since the recession - 35 million people traveling and the vast majority of them by car," says Parker. "For Ohio, we're seeing an increase as well. A 1/2 percent increase over last year. About 1.4 million Ohioans taking a trip, again the majority by road, so we know that the roads will be busy. And the airports as well. Actually, air travel is up higher than automobile travel."
Gas Prices Decline
Here's some good news for drivers heading out or staying close to home. Gas prices are lower than this time last year.
"We've had a steady decline in prices over the last few weeks," Parker says. "We expect that trend to continue barring any unforeseen refinery issues or weather-related issues that can impact gas prices."
The average price at the pump in Ohio this week is $3.42, eleven cents better than last year at this time. It's also slightly better than the national average of $3.44.
If you're staying in town and are among the half million planning to check out Riverfest, be sure to plan ahead. The riverfront will be closed to traffic and there will be no on-street parking allowed south of Court Street after 11 o'clock Sunday morning.
The City of Cincinnati recommends checking www.roadmapcincy.com "for up-to-date traffic information to best plan your downtown driving experience."
Here's the city's list of closures and travel recommendations:
Access to the Cincinnati Riverfront will be limited to pedestrians only. Third Street, and all streets north of Third Street, will be open so that people can access points throughout Downtown. On-street parking will NOT be available throughout the downtown area south of Court Street after 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. Other important closures include: The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge, Suspension Bridge, Purple People Bridge, and the Taylor Southgate Bridge will all close at 6 p.m. to vehicles and pedestrians. The streets into Mt. Adams will be closed at 6 p.m. The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge (I-471) will close at 7:30 p.m. The Third Street exits from westbound Columbia Parkway and southbound I-71 will close at 9 p.m. The actual timing of these closures may be adjusted as traffic volumes dictate. It is recommended that everyone coming to Riverfest take advantage of the convenient parking facilities located throughout the downtown areas and walk to the Riverfront. Parking is available in the many lots and garages north of Third Street. Additional parking lots are located north and west of Paul Brown Stadium. Cash parking will be available in riverfront surface lots in the vicinity of Paul Brown Stadium on a limited first come, first served basis. Please note that construction sites in and around the riverfront are off limits for public parking. Sites will be clearly marked and secured, and anyone parking in these areas will be towed. Arrive Early People from all over the region will be coming to enjoy the festivities. Those getting downtown early will have a better chance of finding premium parking in Riverfront lots, securing good vantage points for the fireworks show, and avoiding delays from heavy traffic. Use Public Transportation When Possible As an alternative to driving, all are encouraged to use public transportation to obtain quick and convenient access to the downtown area. Metro will be running a normal operating schedule. For more information, call MetroCenter at 513-621-4455 or visit www.go-metro.com/. For more information about the Southbank Shuttle as well as the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky, contact TANK at 859-331-TANK or visit www.tankbus.org.