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Cincinnati drivers have hit almost 200 pedestrians this year

pedestrian safety sign in Cincinnati
Becca Costello
A sign reads "Look Out for Me" on McHenry Ave. near Harrison in East Westwood. Neighborhood leaders have been asking for a crosswalk at this intersection for a few years.

A driver barreled through a red light near the University of Cincinnati last Wednesday afternoon, hitting two people and killing one — student Cayden Turner.

Just a day before, another driver hit a pedestrian in nearby Mount Auburn, city data shows. And the morning after Turner's death, yet another driver hit and seriously injured another pedestrian in College Hill.

Those all happened a little closer together than usual in Cincinnati — but not by much. According to a review of city data, a driver has hit someone who isn’t in a car every 33 hours on average in Cincinnati so far this year.

That's less severe than in recent past years. In 2020 and 2021, drivers hit someone about once every 30 hours on average. And in 2019, drivers were hitting people not in cars once every 26 hours on average — almost one for every day of the year.

Turner was the fifth person this year to die after a car hit her.

Pedestrian safety advocates in neighborhoods like Northside have been calling for more traffic enforcement and safety infrastructure for years. City officials say they're working on solutions, but it takes time.

A Sept. 28 memo from Cincinnati City Manager Sheryl Long says the city's Department of Transportation and Engineering is currently installing curb extensions in Corryville, Downtown, Madisonville, Northside and South Fairmount.

DOTE is also working on speed cushions in a number of neighborhoods.

Council Member Mark Jeffreys says those efforts are good — but more holistic focus is also needed.

"It's going to take all of these measures in order to have an impact — from an engineering standpoint of road design, but also with enforcement and education," he said.

Jeffreys says he's working on an ordinance that would require the city to design "complete streets" — that is, streets that take pedestrian and bicyclist safety into account instead of just automobile traffic.

DOTE is also reviewing applications from neighborhood groups for specific pedestrian safety projects in their communities. The city believes it will be able to fund roughly 15 of those projects.

Nick Swartsell is a general assignment reporter for WVXU. Before his current role, he worked on the station’s Cincinnati Edition program as assistant producer and was a journalist for outlets in Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and Texas prior to that. When he’s not reporting, he likes exploring places he probably shouldn’t on his bike, taking photos, and growing corn, tomatoes and peppers that are, in all honesty, much too hot for any practical use. He is from Hamilton. You can find him at @nswartsell on Twitter.