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These pedestrian safety improvements are coming to a Cincinnati neighborhood near you

Posted: 1:44 PM, Jun 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-13 10:39:01-04
Speeding top threat to pedestrians' feeling safe

CINCINNATI — Frank Rhodes grew up near the intersection of Clark and Cutter streets, just a couple blocks from Linn Street and the Lincoln Recreation Center in the heart of West End. He's been walking through the neighborhood for most of his life, and he says the streets are busier than ever -- with cars and people walking alike.

He also said he's seen someone get hit.

"They try to cross here all day long," he said, pointing to the intersection of Linn and Chestnut streets, where the Lincoln sits. "I've seen a person get hit right where they come in at the other end (of the rec center)."

That's part of why the city will install a new crosswalk, crosswalk paddles and new flashing pedestrian crossing signage at the intersection, three of 70 pedestrian safety improvements the Department of Transportation and Engineering will implement throughout 20 neighborhoods this summer.

"This is an area that has seen multiple pedestrian crashes over the last five years," said Mel McVay, senior transportation planner and the city's new pedestrian safety program manager.

McVay said her department received close to 100 requests for pedestrian safety improvements from community councils across the city. For a full list of approved projects, see McVay's May 30 memo, embedded below.

"Things like new crosswalks or re-striping existing crosswalks or crosswalk paddles like you see here in the street, projects like that," she told WCPO.

McVay's role within DOTE is a new position implemented this year by City Council to address what has become an alarming trend throughout the city: 2018 saw more pedestrian-involved crashes in Cincinnati than any year in recent memory, and 2019 so far has seen nearly one pedestrian involved in a crash per day. Councilman Greg Landsman proposed creating the new city position in January.

Since 2017, City Council has earmarked $500,000 each year toward pedestrian safety improvements, and current budget proposals for fiscal year 2020 want to up that amount to $750,000.

McVay said she prioritized project requests using a formula that scored proposed improvements based on several criteria.

"We look at things like, have there been crashes in that area, or is the location adjacent to a school or recreation center or elderly housing. In other words, are there vulnerable users trying to cross the street at that location," she said. "We also look at the speed of traffic that’s traveling by."

McVay said she expects DOTE to install all of this year's improvements by the end of the summer.

The most common request, she said, was re-striping crosswalks that have nearly disappeared, like the crosswalk at Young and Ringgold streets in Mount Auburn, adjacent to Filson Park.

"The majority of project requests that we received from neighborhoods were either new crosswalks or for re-striping existing crosswalks like these that have just become faded over time," she said.

Back in West End, as FC Cincinnati's new Major League Soccer stadium begins to rise, so do hopes that investments like the neighborhood sees this summer won't be the last.

"I think we need speed bumps," Rhodes said. "Something, something to get people's attention."

Update on FY 2019 Pedestria... by on Scribd

WCPO's ongoing series, Move Up Cincinnati, brings you stories about how people in our area are transforming our city and the way we get around. We will also tell the stories of those left behind -- and the people working to bring our communities together. To contact the Move Up Cincinnati team, email us at moveupcincinnati@wcpo.com .

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