The Best Ways to Get Around Cincinnati's Four-Day BLINK Festival

Because driving and parking are going to be hell

Photo: Hailey Bollinger
BLINK 2017

BLINK is a free(!), four-night art and light spectacle spanning more than 30 blocks across Over-the-Rhine, downtown and Covington held Oct. 10-13. The inaugural 2017 event saw more than 1 million visitors to the Queen City and many, many more are expected this year.

To avoid the hassle of parking, traffic, humans walking in front of your car, myriad street closures, etc., BLINK attendees are being highly encouraged to rely on rideshares, public transport and their legs as alternative forms of transportation.

And the event has provided this list of recommended ways to get around that aren't you driving yourself down to OTR and parking:

Cincinnati Bell Connector aka the Streetcar

The streetcar will be free starting at 4 p.m. each day of BLINK. To ride, just literally hop on at any of the 18 stops. The streetcar's operating hours are 6:30 a.m.-midnight Thursday, 6:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday and it will be offering more frequent trains starting at 7 p.m. each night of the event.

Cincinnati Metro

Metro is Cincinnati's bus service. During BLINK, Metro will be offering two designated park-and-ride areas for event attendees: one at Cincinnati State (3520 Central Parkway, Clifton; free parking) and one at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal (1301 Western Ave., Queensgate; $4 parking). 

Other Metro notes: Government Square will close at 6:30 p.m. daily Oct. 10-13 and reopen Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 4 a.m. And the Riverfront Transit Center will act like Government Square starting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10-13. (Here are Metro detour maps to see how BLINK might mess up your commute.)

TANK aka the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky

TANK manages the Southbank Shuttle, which takes riders from Newport and Covington to Cincinnati and back, among other stops in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. During BLINK, TANK will be offering a park-and-ride service from Northern Kentucky University Lot E (map here). The ride costs $2, runs every 15 minutes from 7 p.m.-midnight during the event and takes guest from the lot to the Covington Transit Center at Third and Madison streets. 

TANK itself will also be on a detour to make way for the Roebling Bridge closure, which will only be open to pedestrian traffic (and Oggos) during BLINK. 

Oggo Roebling Bridge Shuttle

The Roebling Bridge will be activated with a light and sound installation during BLINK and will be closed to automobile traffic save for these little Oggo shuttles. According to BLINK, "BLINK is partnering with Oggo to take visitors on a 'Voyage Across' the singing Roebling Suspension Bridge. You can access Oggo’s five passenger shared e-car shuttle rides at bridge entrances in Cincinnati and Covington. Must be 18+ to ride. Ages 11-17 are welcome with parent or guardian." 

Uber and Lyft

Rideshares will have designated pick-up and drop-off spots outside of BLINK's five neighborhoods. Info about those areas will be available on the rideshare apps.

Cincy Red Bike

Cincinnati's bike-share program has more than 50 rental stations throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. You can rent a Red Bike for $3 for a single ride (20 minutes) or $10 for a day pass. Bikes have to be checked into another docking/rental station every 20 minutes (single ride) or two hours (day pass) depending on your rental time, or you'll be charged for each additional chunk of time you spend on the bike past that. Obviously use caution when biking at night, in the dark, through large groups of people and in traffic.

E-Scooters (Lime, Bird, etc.)

E-scooters are either awesome or horrible, depending on your POV. Regardless, BLINK has some rules: "Dockless ride-sharing electric scooters will be geo-fenced to reduce speed and turn off near and within the event venue. Driving electric scooters is prohibited within the BLINK event venue. Scooters can be used to travel to and around the event venue. For safety, please ride the scooters in bike lanes or close to the curb. It is prohibited to ride on sidewalks."

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