New Lanes, Lights And Signs For Streetcar Safety

Sep 6, 2016

There have been a few changes made to traffic patterns in Over-the-Rhine and Downtown to accommodate the streetcar. The changes come before the Cincinnati Bell Connector starts running with passengers Friday. Construction Engagement Manager Ursula Miller says the changes include streetcar-only lanes and signals.

Miller says there are six places where the streetcar has its own lane.

"That's because the streetcar is making the big, wide turns to get from one side of the street to the other. And that's the reason those spots exist, because the streetcar needs a little more room to maneuver better."

Miller says those streetcar-only lanes are over Fort Washington way on Walnut and Main, Second at the Banks, Main between Fifth and Sixth, Race at Findlay, and Central Parkway at Walnut.

In a few locations, the streetcar also has its own stoplights.

"Those are to give the streetcar operator his or her cue to move forward or stop. In the cases when they move forward, they get about four or five seconds lead time so that the streetcar operator can turn left across the traffic."

Miller says motorists might be stopped at a red light, while the streetcar goes through an intersection. She says drivers should pay attention to their red and green traffic lights and not worry about the streetcar's signals.

She says the months of streetcar testing and training have also helped teach a lot of people how to interact with it. But not everyone has been Downtown or seen the streetcar, so there are other precautions.

Miller says, for instance, there are new signs warning pedestrians to look before crossing the street.

"Because streetcars are very quiet, and except for that ding ding that we all hear when it goes through an intersection, if you're not paying attention, you may not see the streetcar."

Miller says Connector operators can sound a horn if they realize someone doesn't notice them coming.

Metro has also produced a number of safety videos.