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Cincinnati is on track to have its fewest pedestrian crashes in at least nine years

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

Cincinnati is on track to have its lowest number of pedestrian crashes in at least nine years.

As of Dec. 23, 266 people have been hit by drivers in the city. That’s about 37% less than a peak in 2018.

The current mayor, administration and City Council have made pedestrian safety a higher priority. It's a particular interest for Council Member Mark Jeffreys.

"We've laid a strong foundation and I think the numbers show that we're making progress," Jeffreys said. "It's not, in my mind, fast enough, but I think it's moving in the right direction."

Council approved record high funding for pedestrian safety this year: about $7 million total, mostly from federal stimulus.

Most of the money will go to infrastructure like speed cushions and curb extensions. The city will also hire a new full-time pedestrian safety employee, and a crew of workers that can install things like signage and crosswalks instead of hiring a contractor.

Over the next year, 130 intersections will get leading pedestrian intervals. They give pedestrians a few extra seconds to cross the street before drivers turning into the crosswalk get a green light.

Longer-term changes include the passage of a Complete Streets ordinance.

"Which basically means that when we redesign our streets, then we're considering pedestrians and those who are outside of the automobile," Jeffreys said. "And that's really a major milestone."

Overall traffic crashes so far this year are trending lower, but haven't dipped as much as pedestrian crashes.

Traffic enforcement in Cincinnati is still not up to pre-pandemic levels, but the police department has gained ground over the past few months. So far this year, CPD officers have made about 14,000 traffic stops — about 37% less than in 2019.

Chief Teresa Theetge told WVXU in a recent interview that a brand new recruit class was in training when the pandemic first hit.

"So because the field training officers weren't doing it because of the pandemic, we had young, impressionable new officers who were never taught that," she said. "And so we needed to go back and say, traffic enforcement is part of your responsibility on this job. And let's get them out with a veteran officer and do some traffic enforcement."

CPD conducted two traffic blitzes over the last couple months.

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.