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Northside's new working group on pedestrian safety will help the whole city, officials say

A crosswalk sign in East Westwood, Cincinnati.
Becca Costello
A crosswalk sign in East Westwood, Cincinnati.

So far this year, three pedestrians in Northside have been hit by cars. About 20 other Cincinnati neighborhoods have had more crashes, and have higher rates when you take population size into account.

So why does Northside have a new city-led working group for pedestrian safety?

“It's a very energized community that jumped in,” said Council Member Mark Jeffreys.

Mayor Aftab Pureval’s office started the group after hearing from residents at a community council meeting a couple weeks ago. Residents are concerned about a hit and run at the end of July that seriously injured two pedestrians on Hamilton Ave; another woman was severely injured at the same intersection last October.

Asked about why Northside is getting the focus and benefit of city resources right now, Pureval provided a statement: “Pedestrian safety is a problem faced by all 52 of our neighborhoods, with tragic outcomes and complex, interconnected potential solutions. Under the leadership of Councilmember Jeffreys, Councilmember (Scotty) Johnson, and Northside community leaders, this working group will be studying the challenges Northside residents have faced as a problem-solving opportunity – to improve data collection, accident response, and safety measures across the entire city.”

Jeffreys agrees, saying none of the issues with pedestrian safety and traffic enforcement in Northside are endemic to that neighborhood.

“Northside is just really kind of working through some of the kinks of like, OK, let's start some of these conversations with the right people specific to one community, so you can focus it,” Jeffreys said. “And then roll it out across other neighborhoods. And I think it'll be a lot more expeditious, once we work through it with one neighborhood.”

The working group includes representatives from the Northside Community Council, the mayor's office, City Council, and the police department. It met for the first time Monday at City Hall.

Jeffreys says recommendations for change need to be based on data, but Monday’s meeting focused primarily on how the data available may be unreliable — for example, the number of total vehicle crashes in Northside this year: According to Cincy Insights (the city’s public data portal), it’s 329; but the CPD representative at the meeting cited a number above 400, and wasn’t able to identify the reason for the difference.

Advocates also said the data, which is pulled only from police reports, excludes a large number of crashes that aren’t reported to police.

Assistant City Manager Sheryl Long said she will organize a few internal meetings to talk about data collection and police reports before the working group meets again.

Which neighborhoods have the most pedestrian crashes?

By number of pedestrian crashes, YTD 2022

  • Over-the-Rhine (18)
  • Central Business District/Riverfront (16)
  • Westwood/East Westwood (15)
  • Avondale (12)
  • East Price Hill (10)
  • Note: Northside ranks #22

By rate of pedestrian crashes, accounting for population size, YTD 2022

  • Over-the-Rhine
  • Lower Price Hill/Queensgate
  • Pendleton
  • Central Business District/Riverfront
  • Camp Washington
  • Note: Northside ranks #23

So far this year, there have been at least 160 total crashes involving a pedestrian in Cincinnati; at least 35 of those have resulted in severe injury or fatality.

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.