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West End residents, stakeholders weigh in on redesign options for Linn Street

Linn Street Redesign.jpg
Posted at 7:23 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 22:39:17-04

CINCINNATI — The city is making progress in its efforts to make Linn Street safer for pedestrians.

The Linn Street Safety Improvement Project is an effort being led by the Department of Transportation and Engineering in conjunction with West End (WE) Speaks, a planning and community engagement effort to improve development and quality of life in the West End.

On Tuesday night, project organizers shared the latest, streamlined round of redesign options for residents and stakeholders to choose and offer feedback on. Speeding cars have killed pedestrians on the street in recent years, driving up urgency for the project.

"We all see how dangerous it is, right? It's two lanes the entire stretch, plus a parking lane and people don't stop for people in the crosswalks," said Jason Mickey, a homeowner in neighborhood since 2018.

The designs reduce the driving lines on each side while making room for bike lanes, greenery, parking lanes and expanded sidewalk space. One design puts both the north and southbound bike lanes on one of the street. Another puts the bike lanes on either side. The last one, option six, puts the bike lanes in the middle of the road as cars drive on either side.

"The best one that jumped out on me was number six," said Vonnie Tawwab, a lifelong West End resident. "The only thing I didn't like is you're not going to be able to make the left turns like you used to."

Residents said they have a variety of safety concerns and priorities. Some want better conditions for walking and biking. Other stakeholders like Andrea Granieri who works for the Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy, are particularly concerned for children in the area.

"For me the choice that makes the most sense is the one where the walkers and bike riders can have the most visibility to one another so there's not any pedestrians and bikes running into each other."

Back in August, the city noted Linn Street as one of nine streets that needed to be prioritized for safety enhancements. Ultimately, residents say holding city officials and community organizers accountable in their efforts to improve the West End is key. James Bond grew up in the West End and moved back to the area in recent years.

"We as residents must stay on top of them to make sure we understand: "A," what's going on and to make sure that whatever they're saying to us there's going to be a follow-through."

The Department of Transportation and Engineering says once it's finished gathering community feedback and settles on a design, it will pursue funding options. It is expected that a project like this could cost around seven million dollars.

Monique John covers gentrification for WCPO 9. She is part of our Report For America donor-supported journalism program. Read more about RFA here.

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