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Council discusses pedestrian safety issues near Dater, Western Hills high schools

Posted at 6:12 AM, Dec 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-27 17:17:31-05

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Public Schools, the Department of Transportation and SORTA have formed a task force to address student safety, officials said during a special City Council Law and Public Safety Committee meeting Thursday.

The meeting was called to focus on the pedestrian safety issues near Gilbert A. Dater High School and the neighboring Western Hills University High School.

Parents and school officials are demanding change after a recent uptick in the number students struck by drivers on their way to school. Thirteen Cincinnati students have been hit by cars in the last three months. Parents and community members gathered outside the high schools earlier this month demanding better safety measures for students who walk to school. Among their suggested improvements are lit crosswalks, flashing lights and crossing guards. Cincinnati Public Schools currently has 94 crossing guards.

Western Hills Principal Carlos Blaid said part of the problem is that cars are simply not slowing down. That was an issue when 15-year-old Gabriella Rodriguez was hit and killed on Harrison Avenue earlier this year.

Gabby's mother, Shawna Rodriguez, also attended the meeting and pleaded for change.

"I understand it's money and it's time, but aren't our kids worth it? Aren't these changes important? I don't want another parent to get the phone call," she said. "More than anything, I don't want my daughter's death to be in vain."

The car and driver that hit Gabby still haven't been found.

Cincinnati police previously said anyone who is interested in becoming a crossing guard should contact Chris Simon at 513-352-2505.

Check back for updates on this story.