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Council approves 'nimble, in-house team' to install pedestrian safety infrastructure

Crosswalk with pedestrian yield sign
Becca Costello
/
WVXU
A marked crosswalk in Northside with a sign telling drivers to yield to pedestrians.

Cincinnati Council approved a plan Wednesday to hire an internal work crew to install pedestrian safety infrastructure. The five-member team will paint crosswalks, put up new signage, and install things like rubber speed cushions and temporary bumpouts.

"We have unfortunately seen serious challenges from both a price and a competition and a time perspective," said Mayor Aftab Pureval. "And this new safety crew that this ordinance creates allows us to have a nimble, in-house team to respond to our neighborhoods' most urgent pedestrian safety needs more quickly and efficiently."

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

The ordinance approved Wednesday authorizes 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 Member Jeff Cramerding says pedestrian safety has been a top priority since this council took office in January.

"There was not the political appetite to make a lot of these changes happen for a number of years," he said. "So we got very behind and now we have to catch up very quickly."

The crew could be up and running by early next year.

So far this year, drivers in Cincinnati have hit nearly 200 pedestrians. At least five people have been killed.

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.