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Covington Announces Parking Changes on Pike to Remedy Intercity Traffic

The City of Covington announced an additional step related to parking as a way to mitigate ongoing traffic jams brought on by the diverting of traffic from the Brent Spence Bridge.

The span between Covington and Cincinnati, which connects the two cities over the Ohio River via Interstates 71 and 75, has restricted lanes in both directions due to an ongoing maintenance and painting project expected to last to November.

Having already put up barriers and signage designed to keep the drivers out of narrow neighborhood streets, Covington is temporarily moving parking off a short section of northbound Dixie Highway-Pike Street to speed drivers’ passage through that part of town.

City officials said they’re taking the step reluctantly.

“We absolutely would rather not take away any parking, or barricade off any streets,” City Manager David Johnston said. “But we’re being forced to do so to prevent even bigger disruption caused by a project that is entirely beyond our control and not of our doing.”

Starting Wednesday, the city is temporarily prohibiting on-street parking in the curb lane of northbound Dixie Highway-Pike Street from the 1200 block (at West 12th) north to Bullock Street.

Parking in the curb lane was already prohibited from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays. However, Johnston said that too many people were leaving their parked cars in that lane during that time and the narrow existing ban didn’t address the massive traffic backups during afternoon rush hours.

The change will affect a couple dozen spots. The city mailed or hand-delivered notices to property owners on that stretch of street describing the temporary change and the reasons for it.

Maintaining the two lanes of through traffic instead of one lane should help prevent backlogs at the sharp curve where Western Avenue and Montague Road intersect with Pike Street, Johnston said.

In reaction to the increased traffic, the City already had:

  • Added “No public outlet” signs at the Gray’s Peak and W. 12th Street entrances to The Views off Dixie Highway to dissuade drivers who hoped that the self-contained housing complex provided a shortcut.
  • Erected barricades blocking Dixie Highway traffic from turning onto eastbound W. 12th Street. Tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, and numerous commuters were turning onto that narrow, hilly street, jamming it for long periods of time during rush hour.

“Neighbors told us they couldn’t get home or leave their homes because the traffic was non-stop,” Johnston said.

The traffic challenge exists because of the work being done on the Brent Spence Bridge. Rather than deal with the slowdown, northbound drivers headed to Cincinnati are leaving the interstate at Kyles Lane in Fort Wright, driving north on Dixie Highway into Covington, and seeking to cut through the city’s streets.

The parking ban on Dixie Highway-Pike Street will last until Nov. 30, 2021, the anticipated completion date for the project.

Johnston said the City will continue to consider other potential steps to react to the increased traffic.

“It’s all a balancing act, and we’re trying to make the best of a bad situation,” he said.

-Staff report

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