BY LUCY MAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
More Greater Cincinnati commuters are taking the bus to downtown offices instead of battling traffic on their own during the reconstruction of Fort Washington Way.
Shielah Jones of Bond Hill is among them. She's been taking the bus regularly to her job downtown since construction work began.
"It is a hassle for everyone coming from all neighborhoods," Ms. Jones said of the traffic. "It just seems like we're always stuck in traffic, and it's always construction traffic."
Metro buses have seen a 10 percent increase in ridership this summer overall, said Sallie Hilvers, a spokeswoman. Ms. Hilvers said it's unclear whether that increase is due to construction. But increased use of two park-and-ride lots is the result of the Fort Washington Way work, she said. Metro's lots in Fairfield and Harrison on Tuesday had 140 riders each, which means 280 cars were removed from crowded roads, Metro estimates.
TANK bus ridership in Northern Kentucky is up 14.7 percent this summer, and TANK has seen an increase in use of its park-and-ride lots, too, said Gina Shipley, TANK's communications manager.
"Fort Washington Way has created immense interest in all the ways to get out of it," Ms. Shipley said. "We're going into businesses and telling them, "We can offer you a ride to work and you don't have to worry about which detour to take.' "
This is the first work week since Fort Washington Way's westbound exit and entrance ramps were closed permanently. So far, rush hour traffic has gone smoothly, although downtown streets appear to have more traffic.
Traffic patterns are still settling as commuters find new ways to work, and engineers are watching to see what action they should take to make downtown traffic more manageable, said Jeff Wallace, a contracts administrator for the project.
The eastbound Pete Rose Way ramp remains open, and a new Eggleston Avenue ramp from southbound I-471 is open, too.
The $146.9 million project is designed to narrow Fort Washington Way and make it safer. It's scheduled for completion in August 2000.
Union role in road work a concern