Leaders propose a roundabout solution for dangerous traffic in Northside

CINCINNATI -- Efforts to improve street safety in Northside continued Tuesday when Vice Mayor David Mann revealed a proposal for a roundabout along the neighborhood's busiest corridor, in an effort to calm traffic.

"We don't want our neighborhoods to be places that people drive through," Mann told WCPO. "They are places where people live, and they need to be respected and treated that way."

Mann's proposal would install a roundabout at Knowlton's Corner, where Ludlow Avenue -- which just a few hundred feet away turns into the busy Hamilton Avenue -- meets Spring Grove Avenue and Hoffner Street.

The stretch has become a well-known hot spot for speeding and pedestrian-involved traffic incidents.

IN DEPTH: Roundabouts becoming more and more common across Tri-State

"It's never been good," said Caroylnn Rayborn, who manages Ralph's Northside Mattress and Furniture, located on Hamilton Avenue. "In 20 years it's been a busy street."

Following the death of well-known Northside business owner Sarah Cole, Northside's community council requested a traffic study of their business district and made requests for upgrades to the street's pedestrian safety features. Supporters organized what they called a "walkabout rally" shortly after Cole's death, in which they marched up and down Hamilton Avenue's sidewalks carrying signs and trying to attract drivers' attention.

Now, the city's Department of Transportation and Engineering is in the process of putting together a plan to implement more safety measures, and City Council members P.G. Sittenfeld and Chris Seelbach rallied council to approve $500,000 for the 2018-19 budget dedicated specifically toward pedestrian safety improvements throughout the city.

So far, the city has repainted multiple crossing areas along Hamilton Avenue, including at its intersections with Blue Rock Road, Knowlton Street, Lingo Street and Chase Avenue.

READ MORE: Northside traffic study under way amidst demand for safer streets

Roundabouts are a growing trend around the nation over the last several decades and, more recently, around the Tri-State, too. Transportation department and highway safety officials across state lines say the circular intersections make roads safer and traffic smoother for multiple reasons, but two stand out as the primary purpose: slower speeds and less likelihood of a serious collision.

Not every intersection is meant for a roundabout, though, designers are sure to mention.

"It is a tool in the toolbox, but it’s not right for every location," said Tedd Hubbard, an engineer working for Hamilton County.

Mann will present the proposal at Wednesday's City Council meeting.

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

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