HAMILTON, Ohio — Crosswalk upgrades, a crackdown on “jaywalking,” and zombies are just a few of the ways the city of Hamilton hopes to make its streets safer as its downtown district continues to grow.
Hamilton Police Sgt. Ed Buns told WCPO media partner the Journal-News that pedestrian traffic is increasing and drivers are not paying as much attention as they should.
But it’s not just drivers who are to blame, Buns said. Despite recent upgrades to 16 crosswalks throughout the city, pedestrians still aren’t using them as they should. The combination has led to a noted increase in pedestrian crashes in the downtown district.
Said upgrades included enhanced signage that counts down the number of seconds left for a safe crossing, according to City Chief of Staff Brandon Saurber. He also said “high pedestrian area” signage will soon be installed at particularly crowded points.
But, despite these upgrades, the downtown district’s Main and High street corridor has seen three pedestrian traffic crashes in the last year alone.
For Buns, this is the unfortunate result of a more positive trend within the city.
“This is more a result of the good things happening in Hamilton,” Buns said, pointing to how that corridor has seen a number of new businesses and restaurants set up shop over the past year.
As a result of the increased traffic, Buns said in the last three weeks he’s written somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 citations for crossing outside the crosswalk.
To make a bigger impact, as the problem persists, the city Thursday partnered with Hollywood makeup artist and Hamilton native Mario Scrimizzi to transform a volunteer into a zombie who walked through the downtown area educating pedestrians and drivers on safe practices.
Lauren Pack with the Journal-News contributed to this report. Read her original report here.