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Here's how Cincinnati is working to improve pedestrian safety

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-29 19:58:33-05

CINCINNATI -- City transportation officials explained Tuesday how they plan to use $500,000 toward pedestrian safety improvements.

Their aim is to find what transportation and engineering director Michael Moore called "low-cost, high-impact" solutions for some of the city's busiest and most hazardous pedestrian crossings.

So far, these have included crossing paddles positioned in the middle of certain crossings. The city is also exploring blinking pedestrian signs and raised crosswalks.

A crosswalk paddle sign on Hamilton Avenue in Northside. (Provided)

The city already installed paddles on Hamilton Avenue at Lingo and Palm streets and on Chase Avenue at Cherry Street in Northside, as well as at Observatory and Michigan and on Erie Avenue in Hyde Park.

Moore plans for three future paddles on Warsaw Avenue in East Price Hill and on McMillan Street in Walnut Hills.

The city has spent $14,000 on improvements so far, with another $440,000 in the works for future projects.

Cincinnati police reported 33 crashes involving pedestrians in October alone, Moore told Council members P.G. Sittenfeld and Chris Seelbach -- the only two lawmakers at Tuesday's committee meeting. Twenty-three of those crashes were at an intersection.

Sittenfeld and Seelbach were the two council members most involved in pushing for the pedestrian safety-specific funds in this year's budget. Sittenfeld first called for a pedestrian safety study in February 2016, after a Metro bus struck and killed 73-year-old Stephen Frank while he was crossing at the intersection of Erie Avenue and Edwards Road.

Sittenfeld and Seelbach then requested the implementation of a pedestrian safety program, which included allocating the half-million dollars toward safety improvements.

"This isn't about patching roads," Sittenfeld said during Tuesday's meeting. "This is about making streets safe for people in their everyday lives."

Both council members thanked transportation officials for their efforts while expressing their hope the administration can do more.

"There's more that we need to do beyond this $500,000," Seelbach said.

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