Council members push proposal to ensure pedestrian safety

A $500,000 investment

CINCINNATI -- Tragedy has struck too many times on the streets of Northside, and City Council members are seeking change. Council members P.G. Sittenfeld and Chris Seelbach announced Monday a new initiative, including a $500,000 investment, to improving pedestrian and traffic safety in the neighborhood.

The initiative comes just months after Sarah Cole, owner of the Tickle Pickle, was struck by a car crossing the street to get to her business.

RELATED: Northside's Tickle Pickle owner dies after being struck by a vehicle

In November 2016, Joy White was enjoying the Cincinnati Zoo's "Festival of Lights" with her family when she and her 3-year-old daughter, Khloe obeying all traffic laws, were struck by a car. The car missed Khloe's father by inches.

White recovered from her injuries, but Khloe died.

"She was an amazing 3-year-old beautiful girl. Anything you would ever want and imagine in a little girl, Khloe was it," White said. "She was very adventurous. She loved to jump off of things, she loved water, and she loved animals."

Seelbach said the health and safety of Cincinnatians are paramount.

"We want to make sure that they can safely cross the street when they are visiting businesses and restaurants in every neighborhood," Seelbach said. "We know that people of lower income, people of color, the elderly -- live in neighborhoods and areas where it is much less safe to cross streets."

He added that improving traffic safety will also help small businesses to thrive because most patrons are walking or riding their bicycles.

"We not only have to make sure they feel safe but are safe," Seelbach said.

Some of the changes included in the proposal are LED crosswalks, which light up at the push of a button, instead of the normal white stripe, as well as better lights and better signage, according to Seelbach.

Also according to Seelbach, the funds for the proposal will come from the city's Capital Acceleration Program, which was designed to improve street safety.

RELATED: City members enter year two in $60M road plan

According to Sittenfeld, neighborhoods across the city see pedestrian safety as an issue and would like to see action taken and the answers to improve pedestrian include education, enforcement and engineering.

"That means making sure that people are alert both as drivers and as pedestrians, and it means our law enforcement cracking down on people who disregard the law, putting lives at risk including the lives of seniors and children," Sittenfield said. "The most doable on the list is engineering: Implementing best practice approaches that keep cars from speeding and make them more aware of their surroundings, ranging from signage to speed bumps to better road and traffic engineering."

Council members will meet Wednesday. If the proposal is approved, they will begin a plan for developing data and getting feedback from citizens on which intersections need the most help.

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