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Northside community pushes for long-term solutions to pedestrian safety issues

Police campaign hands out 44 speeding citations
Northside police watch
Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 16, 2021

CINCINNATI — The number of pedestrian crashes in Greater Cincinnati is top of mind for the leaders of a local community council determined to keep people who walk safe.

Northside Community Council President Becky Finnigan said drivers along Hamilton Avenue are usually driving too fast or running a red light.

"Pedestrian safety is an issue in all 52 neighborhoods in Cincinnati," Finnigan said. "It needs to be a top priority for the incoming council and administration."

One of the most recent incidents happened last month when a jogger was hit while on the crosswalk at Pullan and Hamilton. The jogger survived the incident and the Northside community has rallied around her. Yard signs telling drivers to slow down were created, and the proceeds from the sales of the signs are going to the victim for her recovery.

At a community council meeting Monday, a vote was made to send a letter to Cincinnati's mayor and city council members outlining some the group's top priorities for Hamilton Avenue. Those include:

  1. Adequate funding of pedestrian safety measures and vision zero.
  2. Leadership on changing the ORC to allow municipalities to set their own safe speed limits.
  3. Changing the charter to allow for red light cameras.

"Right now, the level of funding that we have per capita does not equal real change for Vision Zero," Finnigan said. "Vision Zero is that nobody should get hit while crossing the road as a pedestrian."

Before the pedestrian crash on Hamilton and Pullan last month, District 5 police were in the planning stages of a new initiative. The Traffic Safety Enforcement Campaign began in October to address the growing number of pedestrian crashes along Hamilton in both Northside and College Hill.

In the month it has been implemented, the district reports stopping and citing 44 drivers for speeding and three for failing to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

District 5 captain Craig Gregoire said while it is effective, this type of enforcement is not a full-stop solution.

"We have to really come up with and focus on long-term solutions," Gregoire said. "Those long-term solutions, like the traffic calming in the business district, where they created 24 hour parking on both sides of Hamilton Avenue…that worked. That's a viable long-term solution."

Finnigan and the community council voted to work with DOTE to do a pilot study and 24-hour parking in the curb lanes from Chase to Springlawn on Hamilton Avenue.

"You shouldn't have to worry that taking a walk could be the last thing that you do," said Finnigan.