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Northside pedestrian safety committee begins to find its way

Committee members workshop ideas using sticky notes a meeting Oct. 20.
Becca Costello
Committee members workshop ideas using sticky notes at a meeting Oct. 20.

A Northside working group is ramping up efforts to improve pedestrian safety throughout the city. The group of community leaders and city officials met for the second time Thursday and will meet every two weeks from now on.

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

Northside Community Council member Henry Brown says the working group has established a good definition of the problem as a starting point. But, he says, "I think one thing that we haven't quite broached yet is what are the surrounding improvements that need to happen to actually make things safer for pedestrians? And that includes the city bus, obviously, as a very important one."

Brown says he hopes future meetings will include a broader look at how traffic and transportation options impact quality of life.

Looking for long-term solutions

So far this year, more than 200 people have been hit by drivers in Cincinnati. And while Northside doesn't have the most pedestrian crashes of Cincinnati's 52 neighborhoods, its residents have been the most vocal.

Interim Assistant City Manager Virginia Tallent says concerns in Northside could lead to safety improvements throughout the city. "We're hoping for some key learnings that we can take away that are broadly applicable to the city's more urban, dense neighborhoods," she says.

Long-term solutions include making changes to the city's infrastructure to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. Tallent says an increase in enforcement for traffic violations can make an immediate difference.

The group includes representatives from Cincinnati Council, administration and police, as well as community leaders from Northside and College Hill. The next meeting is Nov. 3.

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.
Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.
Marianna is a fourth-year Creative Writing and Rhetoric and Professional Writing student at the University of Cincinnati. She is a current intern at WVXU. In her free time, she likes going to museums and coffee shops. She would like to be a journalist or an editor in the future.