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Even with recent upgrades, some Clifton residents still feel 'invisible' to drivers

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jul 16, 2021

CINCINNATI — When a driver struck a man who was crossing the street Thursday night near the intersection of Clifton and Glenmary avenues, police said speed wasn't a factor in the crash. Instead, they said the road was dimly lit and the man was not in a marked crossing.

But regardless of who was at fault in that crash, leaders in Clifton continue to push the city administration for more upgrades to the neighborhood's pedestrian safety infrastructure in order to prevent crashes like Thursday's from happening in the first place.

Sue Afunah lives in Clifton and walks through the neighborhood "almost every day, for errands or just for pleasure," she said. "I see cars just flying through the red lights regularly… I would not depend on the pedestrian light to cross safely."

As of Friday afternoon, police had not identified the man injured but said he was in serious condition.

"It's not surprising; it's very sad," Afunah said upon hearing the news Friday.

Clifton Town Meeting trustee and City Council hopeful Mark Jeffreys said, whoever was at fault in the crash, the issue remains: Too many drivers are hitting people with their cars.

"Unfortunately we've been seeing things very consistent across the city which is increasingly pedestrians and bikers are being hit by cars speeding," said Jeffreys, who also chairs the neighborhood council's transportation and public safety committee.

"People are distracted," he said. "It affects children; it affects anybody walking or biking on our streets."

According to city data, 123 pedestrians were seriously injured in crashes since 2019. Six of those people were walking in Clifton.

Jeffreys will be the first to acknowledge the improvements the city has already made in his neighborhood to address speeding and enhance safety measures: Last year, crews installed a temporary protected bike lane along Clifton Avenue near the University of Cincinnati. Soon, they'll install a crosswalk, signage and speed cushions at Clifton and Warren avenues, and starting next month, a speed radar sign will rotate through various neighborhood streets.

"That does force people to slow down, and it also provides us data, which we can share with the police for further enforcement," Jeffreys said.

Resident Sydney Sebastian hopes more improvements will continue to help.

"There's a lot of traffic on foot that comes through," Sebastian said. "I think there's definitely a big difference between the people who walk here and the people who drive here… I've had situations where I have a walk sign and still people drive through the red light. And I feel like I'm a little invisible."