Reds Opening Day Parade will delay Downtown, OTR streetcar service

CINCINNATI -- The annual Findlay Market Opening Day Parade means streetcar service will begin later in the day than usual.

City administrators and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which oversees the Cincinnati Bell Connector's maintenance and operations, told Cincinnati City Council's transportation committee Tuesday about streetcar plans for the Reds' home opener, set for April 3.

Streetcar service through Downtown and Over-the-Rhine was always contingent on accommodating heritage events such as the Opening Day Parade: Nearly a year ago, councilmembers approved an ordinance stipulating streetcar service would partially and temporarily halt during such festivities.

The Opening Day Parade shares real estate with the streetcar route: The parade will travel south on Race Street from Findlay Market -- the parade's chief sponsor -- before turning east on Fifth Street. The parade again will cross the streetcar route twice along Fifth Street, at Walnut and Main streets.

The Findlay Market Reds Opening Day Parade route, scheduled for April 3, 2017. (Provided)

SORTA spokeswoman Brandy Jones told WCPO that a time to begin operation on Opening Day has not been finalized, pending a special events permit still in process.

"The city has to grant the special events permit, and we'll follow the direction the city tells us as when it's okay to begin operations," Jones said.

Though several events can halt streetcar service, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati stands out as an exception: The German festival, which traditionally took place along Fifth Street between Race and Sycamore streets, relocated to The Banks in 2016, in part to keep streetcar service running. The Cincinnati Bell Connector had opened for public service just two weeks earlier.

The Reds will open their 2017 season against the Philadelphia Phillies at 4:10 p.m., April 3, at Great American Ball Park. Streetcar service will commence following the parade's conclusion.

Pat LaFleur reports on transportation for WCPO. Connect with him on Twitter (@pat_laFleur).

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