Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Traffic causing pollution concerns

Summer road projects could precipitate smog alerts

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        There's an even bigger push this year to get commuters on public transportation during road construction season.

Where the barrels will be
        With tougher federal clean-air standards and at least one road construction project expected to cause 3mile back-ups some nights, commuters need to use alternate transportation to help keep smog levels down.

        “Less traffic means shorter delays, which means less smog,” said Judi Craig, marketing and communications manager with the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI).

        Air quality is an issue every summer. But this year, several of the 18 major construction projects planned in Greater Cincinnati are close to ozone monitoring stations.

        More than three exceedances at any one monitor during a three-year period is a violation and invites stricter federal limits on transportation and industry.

        Two projects that are particularly worrisome are near the Lebanon monitoring station: A project on I-71 north of Ohio 48 in Warren County to north of Ohio 73 in Clinton County and a project on I-71 between I-275 and Western Row Road.

        Construction crews don't plan to close any lanes between I-275 and Western Row Road while they widen the interstate, but that area is already backed up daily.

        Three-mile back-ups are expected on the more northern stretch of I-71 that will be under construction. The stretch will be down to one lane and 3-mile backups are expected Friday and Sunday evenings.

        The plan, Ms. Craig said, is to inform people about the region's transit alternatives: “Most people in this region think it is a one-transit system town. Even in the outlying areas there are transit options.”

        • On May 24, Butler County Regional Transit Authority starts running buses in Hamilton and starts express service to park-and-ride lots.

        • Starting April 5, Greyhound will offer a monthly “Beat the Jam! Commuter Pass” for service between Wilmington, Kings Island and downtown Cincinnati. Call 1-800-231-2222 for more information.

        • Clermont County Transportation Connection provides service in the county and connects with Metro buses on Ohio 125 from Amelia to the Clermont County line and in

        Milford and Eastgate. For information call 513-724-RIDE.

        • Metro provides bus service in and around Hamilton County. It operates 23 park-and-ride lots, including lots in West Chester, Fairfield, Harrison and Eastgate. For information call 621-4455.

        • Cincinnati Institute for Career Alternatives provides reverse commuter service to take first-shift workers from downtown Cincinnati to the suburbs. For information call 357-2893.

        • Jet Port Express shuttles riders every 30 minutes between downtown hotels in Cincinnati and Covington and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. For information call 606-767-3702.

        • RideShare is a free commuter service through OKI that matches commuters interested in forming a car pool or van pool. For information call 241-RIDE.

        • The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) serves Northern Kentucky and downtown Cincinnati. There are express and local routes. For information call 331-TANK.

        • Transportation Resources and Information Project provides service, such as van pooling or used car leasing, to low-income job seekers who don't have public transportation. For information call 731-5030.

        • Warren County Transit Service is a demand-response system that picks up and drops off riders anywhere within Warren County. For information call 1-800-838-7433. • Wilmington City Cab Service provides door-to-door service in and around Wilmington, including Greyhound's Wilmington bus stop. For information call 937-382-7961


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