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City could establish in-house work crew to save time and money on pedestrian safety projects

Installing speed cushions
Becca Costello
/
WVXU
A contractor crew installing rubber speed cushions on Warsaw Ave. in Price Hill in September, 2022.

Cincinnati officials want to hire a work crew to speed up pedestrian safety infrastructure projects. The five-member team would paint crosswalks, put up new signage, and install things like rubber speed cushions and temporary bumpouts.

Director of Transportation and Engineering John Brazina says the crew would supplement work done by contractors.

“We're looking at this crew to be smaller, nimble, to do bolt down-type application,” Brazina said. “So, rubber speed cushions, plastic delineators … maybe some signage, things like that, that we can do with drills and hammers, nuts and bolts.”

Brazina says the crew will cost between $400,000 and $500,000 a year and the city will save up to $350,000 a year.

There’s a long waitlist for pedestrian safety and traffic calming projects in neighborhoods, and money isn’t the only barrier.

“Once we identify the improvement, we have to go through our procurement process and get a contractor on board — that takes three months,” Brazina said. “With this crew, if we know that there is an urgent need, more than others, we'd be able to cut that time down.”

City administration is asking council to approve about $900,000 to start the program and operate it through the end of fiscal year 2023, which ends June 30, 2023. Start-up costs include new vehicles and equipment.

Council will consider the ordinance in the Budget and Finance Committee Monday. If it passes, the crew could be up and running by early next year.

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.