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Main Street safety measures adjusted after community feedback

 Sidewalk barriers on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. Left: barriers that do not comply with ADA standards. Right: the same area a few days later with barriers relocated.
Left: Screenshot of video from @HubOTR on Twitter posted 8/13. Right: Photo of same location from Becca Costello on 8/17.
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Sidewalk barriers on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. Left: barriers that do not comply with ADA standards. Right: the same area a few days later with barriers relocated.

City officials have adjusted safety measures on Main Street based on public feedback.

A mass shooting in Over-the-Rhine 10 days ago left nine people injured, including one of the alleged shooters. One response from the city was to implement several "safety measures" on Main Street between Central Parkway and Liberty.

That includes closing the street to vehicle traffic; eliminating street parking on weekend evening; adding lighting in the area; and continuing increased police presence.

There are also barriers blocking parts of the sidewalk to prevent large groups from gathering there. That action in particular sparked complaints, especially from people who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid (including former Council Member Kevin Flynn).

Mayor Aftab Pureval says he’s led two roundtables with residents and business owners and responded to that feedback.

"We sent out our DPS [Department of Public Services] crews and our health department to measure the bike racks being used on Main Street to ensure that they are ADA compliant," Pureval said. "And we were asking citizens to call 311 to the extent that they're moved or become out of compliance."

A walk down Main Street Wednesday afternoon confirmed several of the barriers have been moved, including in one spot where the barrier was previously just inches from a tree. The barriers are only on sidewalks on the east side of the street.

Pureval says they've also changed the hours during which on-street parking is prohibited — it was originally from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m., and will now be from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

"We will continue to assess and reassess the strategies we've put in place," Pureval said. "Community engagement is important. Public safety is important. And we have to get it right and we're working to get it right every single day."

Most safety measures are in place only on weekends, but the sidewalk barriers will stay up indefinitely. Parking restriction signs indicate the change is in effect through the end of the year, but city officials say they are evaluating the measures each week.

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.