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'I’m done with sympathy. I want action': Renewed push for pedestrian safety in Cincinnati

Pedestrian walkway sign
Posted at 7:45 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-13 17:45:25-05

CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati mother is renewing her push for traffic safety improvements in the South Fairmount neighborhood.

Shawna Rodriguez's daughter, Gabby Rodriguez, died in 2018 after two cars hit her as she walked to Western Hills High School on Harrison Avenue near Hansford Place.

A memorial still sits where the crash happened. It’s something her mother must pass each day.

“I appreciate the sympathy," Rodriguez said. "I’m done with sympathy. I want action."

After years of asking for light and sign improvements in the area, Rodriguez said nothing has changed.

“There’s not been one darn change for my daughter. Is my daughter not valuable enough? Is her life not important enough?”

Since her daughter died in 2018, city data shows crashes have involved 10 pedestrians there. One person died in a crash last week. Last month, a car lost control and hit two homes there.

Related: Car crashes into several buildings in South Fairmount

“There's never been any light upgrades," Rodriguez said. "The streets are awful — the curves, the speed. It's just one thing after another."

The city’s Department of Transportation and Engineering oversees these type of improvements. It has a Vision Zero plan with the goal of making streets safer for those walking.

Online, no projects are scheduled for this stretch. WCPO 9 asked if and when it will get attention. No response has been given. WCPO has also contacted police about speed patrols.

“We're not actively seeing cops pulling people over for speeding,” Rodriguez said.

Blocks up Harrison Avenue, in the Westwood neighborhood, DOTE improved street lights, added new signs and a speed detector last month. The department plans to add pavement markers and a high-friction surface treatment once it gets more funding.

Rodriguez asked why not stretch that down the street?

“I’ve lost so much trust in our city and our leaders and our police since my daughter died,” Rodriguez said.

City Council member Greg Landsman says he would like to see DOTE complete projects faster.

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