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Barricades to curb prostitution an unfair burden on residents, Mohawk leader says

The barricades on McMicken Street to reduce prostitution are scheduled to be in place for about another month, but some residents want them to be removed now. 

Vanessa Sparks of the Mohawk Area Development Corporation told Cincinnati City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee this morning that the barricades are placing a burden on the neighborhood's residents.

Many of the residents of the area depend on bus service and the erection of the barricades forced the re-routing of Metro bus routes that used McMicken, forcing residents to walk blocks to new bus stops on Central Parkway.

And, Sparks said, the neighborhood residents knew nothing about the barricades going up when they were erected April 30.

Sparks said the barricades, meant to prevent men from cruising McMicken Street for the prostitutes who swarmed the area, need to come down now and that residents should be compensated by the city for the inconvenience.

"We want our bus service fully restored as it was prior to April 30,'' Sparks told the council committee. "We want compensation and to to be made whole for the additional expenses we have experienced because of this.

"A lot of people cannot walk four or five blocks to the bus stop, so they have been forced to call taxis or pay people for rides,'' Sparks said. 

But Suzanne Fischer, who lives within the barricaded area, told the council committee the plan is working well.

"My husband and I feel much safer,'' Fischer said. "It's an ingenious solution. It's just amazing how changing a traffic pattern can change a situation like this."

Police say the measure has disrupted prostitution activities.  But some of it has also shifted to the West End and other parts of McMicken, especially near Mohawk.  City administrators will be preparing reports on the barricades for city council to review.

The barricades, which are scheduled to come down July 30, are in three locations on McMicken - just east of Straight Street at Kottman Street, just west of Freeman Street, east of the Brighton overpass; and east of Race Street in Over-the-Rhine.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.
Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.