Thursday, March 6, 1997
Detours can drive
motorists crazy

Workers asked to use
Metro or car pools

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Water spilling onto roads has created gridlock for commuters.

Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey urged motorists Wednesday to carpool or take buses.

Beechmont Mall has agreed to provide Metro park-and-ride space for 400 cars. Cost is $1.10 each way.

''Commuters coming from the east side might as well ride the bus, sit back and relax,'' said Metro General Manager Paul Jablonski. ''The commute is going to be longer than usual, whether you drive your car or ride the bus.''

Steve Bailey, Cincinnati's traffic engineer, said one of the worst traffic areas is on the western side of the Beechmont Levee. Columbia Parkway traffic was detoured overnight, but the stretch between Delta Avenue and downtown is expected to reopen this morning at about 6 a.m.

Other trouble spots: Kellogg Road, River Road, Fort Washington Way and the Suspension Bridge.

Gary Strohm, 43, of Linwood said gawkers were exacerbating the situation by parking near the Ohio River and taking pictures.

''This is dangerous and a public hazard,'' he said.

At one point, police were waving cars from the area and ticketing those who stopped to take pictures.

Most downtown lots and decks were full with cars that would normally be parked in 2,000 spaces that are now under water.

Jeff Jones, general manager of Central Parking System, which operates the flooded lots, said the company was parking cars on the upper levels of Cinergy Field's parking deck. He said if that filled, the plaza level would be used.

Metro is operating a free Cinergy Field shuttle every five minutes from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. to connect parkers with the business district.

Metro also is offering free shuttles from the Museum Center and throughout downtown. For information, call 621-4455. For information on bus detours, call 632-7538.

Laura Goldberg contributed to this report.