Streetcar Will Get Traffic Priority at These Four Locations in Downtown and OTR

The streetcar will get 10 extra seconds at two Intersections on Liberty Street in OTR and two on Walnut Street in downtown

Jul 8, 2019 at 4:57 pm
click to enlarge Cincinnati's streetcar - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati's streetcar

Cincinnati's streetcar could see somewhat faster headways as it gets signal priority at four intersections downtown and in Over-the-Rhine, a memo from Cincinnati City Manager Patrick Duhaney to Cincinnati City Council revealed today.

Green lights will be extended about 10 seconds for the streetcar at four intersections at Liberty and Race streets, Liberty and Elm streets, Walnut and Ninth streets and Walnut and Second streets. Those extensions will allow the streetcar to continue uninterrupted through those intersections.

That, Duhaney wrote, should save the streetcar between three and five minutes a day at each location over a 12-hour operation cycle.

"Installing (traffic signal priority) at four locations along the streetcar route will help improve streetcar on-time performance, also known as vehicle headway, which in turn should increase the overall customer experience," he wrote.

Changes needed to provide the signal prioritization are expected to cost between $80,000 and $100,000, Duhaney wrote, with that money coming out of the streetcar's $3.47 million capital account.

The changes at the two Over-the-Rhine intersections can begin as soon as proper equipment is procured, but Duhaney wrote that signal priority at the downtown intersections should be timed to coincide with installation of fiber optic cable and with the completion of a downtown study of traffic signals. 

The streetcar has struggled to attain projected ridership and to meet its goal of 15-minute wait-times for passengers. Supporters on Cincinnati City Council hope things like signal prioritization can help improve on-time performance and reverse the low ridership numbers.