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Cincinnati plans expansion of 'game-changing' speed cushions for pedestrian safety

Temporary rubber speed cushions on Winneste Ave in Winton Hills.
Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering
Temporary rubber speed cushions on Winneste Ave in Winton Hills.

A pilot project to reduce speeding in Winton Hills will expand to other Cincinnati neighborhoods.

The city tested the use of speed cushions, which have cutouts that allow emergency vehicles to pass through without slowing down. The temporary installation on Winneste Avenue went up last summer, and Department of Transportation and Engineering officials say it's been highly successful.

"It's a game-changer," said Director of Transportation and Engineering John Brazina. "I credit staff for coming up with the idea … The residents really wanted something to actually slow traffic down, and we really think that the speed cushion is going to be that for the city."

After the temporary rubber speed cushions were installed in August, DOTE found a significant reduction in the number of cars going over the 25 mph speed limit:

  • Average speed dropped from 37 mph to 20 mph
  • Percent of vehicles speeding dropped from 95% to 11%
  • Percent of vehicles exceeding 40 mph dropped from 25% to 0%

"We've tried lots of different other methods and this one actually works," Brazina said.

Related: 9 Cincinnati streets with lots of crashes prioritized for street calming

Another set of temporary speed cushions will go on Clifton Avenue sometime this spring, but DOTE is moving forward on permanent speed cushions throughout the city.

First on the list is making the Winneste Avenue speed cushions permanent; after that, there's a list of about 50 requests submitted by community councils. There's not enough funding to accomplish all of them, even with the pedestrian safety budget increase council approved last year.

Brazina says streets will be prioritized based on crash data and proximity to schools, recreation areas and business districts.

It's not yet clear how much each speed cushion will cost. Cincinnati has never built this type of street calming infrastructure before, and costs in general have been skyrocketing.

"What once was a fairly small cost to do a speed hump has doubled or tripled in cost just over the last couple years," Brazina said. "Once we bid-out the work, we'll have more information later this year."

Brazina says residents interested in seeing speed cushions in their own neighborhood should go to their community council.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.