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Local News

After a woman was hit by a vehicle in Northside, officials weigh biggest hurdle to pedestrian safety: money

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The city's pedestrian safety program was funded at $1.25 million this year. Infrastructure changes would cost millions.

A woman was struck by a vehicle while jogging in Northside earlier this month, prompting Cincinnati's Law and Public Safety Committee to weigh its options on pedestrian improvements. The biggest hurdle: money.

Interim Council Member Steve Goodin lived in Northside for about a decade and said he got emails and texts about the wreck after it happened. He says people told him if City Council members started improving pedestrian safety in the neighborhood, they'd have to do it everywhere.

"My response was, if I had my way, absolutely, yes. I mean, we know what we need to do. We just don't have the money to do it," he said.

The city's pedestrian safety program was funded at $1.25 million this year while the neighborhood street calming program received $400,000.

But that doesn't mean there isn't motion for pedestrian safety.

Officials said projects are being launched in Northside within the next year, including adding temporary bump outs to Hamilton and Pullan avenues and a pilot to measure the impacts of 24-hour a day parking in the curb lanes between Pullan and Spring Lawn near College Hill.

But big investments like permanent bump outs and speed clocks, which measure how fast people are going, cost money.

John Brazina, director of the Department of Transportation and Engineering, said, "So if we're going to do five intersections of bump outs throughout 30 neighborhoods, you're talking $12 million. And that's just for bump outs."

The Cincinnati Police Department gave a presentation to the committee saying officers have already decreased the number of pedestrian involved wrecks at Hamilton and Pullan avenues and Colerain and Virginia avenues in Northside.

But council members want to find other, less expensive pedestrian safety measures.

"We need to work through this issue of why some of these infrastructure projects are so expensive, and what are the less expensive options to slow people down?" Council Member Greg Landsman said.

Some ideas considered include increased 24-hour a day parking options, speed cushions (though temporary, they are effective, officials say) and stop signs.