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Cincinnati Bus Riders Finally Get A Lane of their Own

They're no longer exiles on Main Street.

Bus riders in Cincinnati finally have a place of their own as the Queen City kicked off a six-month dedicated lane pilot project.

During rush hour for two hours in the morning and evening on Main Street, the righthand lane will be reserved for buses — a move that will speed 11,000 riders of the 16 bus routes that use the corridor daily.

"We feel listened to right now," said Cam Hardy, president of the Better Bus Coalition, a volunteer grassroots advocacy group that championed the change. "This is a part of our effort to address low-hanging fruit, deficiencies within the system."

Locals were calling it a rare example of cross-agency collaboration and grassroots influence.

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City Councilman PG Sittenfeld, a likely candidate for mayor in 2020, was a key ally, said Hardy.

The goal is to move people - in a way that is better, faster, smarter & more cost-effective. That double-meaning is also fitting: If we get this right, people are spending less time on their commute, and more time with family & doing the things they love. #OnTheMove pic.twitter.com/hKepUQijQi

— P.G. Sittenfeld (@PGSittenfeld) November 5, 2018

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The bus lane is marked with solid white lines and signs. Hardy says his group will press for paint. The city reports it will enforce the rules, issuing $100 fines to first-time violators. But early reports suggest drivers are respecting the signs.

Riding @cincinnatimetro now, overheard bus driver talking to passengers about how the bus-only lane is supposed to save drivers time moving through Downtown: “I watched it this morning. It did it for real.” @WCPO

— Pat LaFleur (@pat_laFleur) November 5, 2018

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More is to come, Hardy vowed.

"We have a plan for an entire network," he told Streetsblog.

With its pilot, Cincinnati joins a growing number of cities trying out temporary bus lanes, including Pittsburgh, Boston and Washington. Boston actually moved to make its rush hour bike lane permanent after a one-month trial earlier this year.

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