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Advocates walk intersections near University of Cincinnati to push for more pedestrian safety

Advocates for pedestrian safety prepare to cross an intersection just off University of Cincinnati's campus
Nick Swartsell
Advocates for pedestrian safety prepare to cross an intersection just off University of Cincinnati's campus.

Holding signs and fluorescent flags, Uptown residents, students, pedestrian safety advocates and elected officials marched across intersections near the University of Cincinnati Monday night to advocate for pedestrian safety.

UC student Cayden Turner died after a driver ran a red light and hit her with a car in one of those intersections last September; another student was seriously injured. That incident — along with a number of others — intensified calls for better infrastructure for walkers and cyclists as well as more enforcement of traffic laws.

Mayor Aftab Pureval, who spoke before the march, says such tragedies are preventable.

"When someone dies because they're simply crossing the street, the senselessness of that, our ability to prevent that, is what makes it even more heartbreaking," he told a crowd of dozens who turned up for the rally and intersection walk.

Katie Kalafut helped organize the event. The Clifton resident says she's increasingly worried her neighborhood isn't safe for her two young children due to erratic driving and high speeds on the roads around her.

"We live on Clifton Avenue, and it's not safe," she said. "I'm not the only family in the area who has small children who recognizes that things need to change."

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

Council Members Meeka Owens and Mark Jeffreys also attended the rally. Jeffreys says the city has been working on solutions — better pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure like bump-outs and bike lanes, along with figuring out how to better enforce traffic laws in an equitable way — but acknowledged more needs to be done.

Jeffreys says he's hopeful attendees at the rally and others in the community will come forward with their thoughts.

"We are implementing things like leading pedestrian intervals, that will be around UC — that's allowing pedestrians three to seven seconds advance before neighboring traffic is allowed to turn," he said. "Things like that will be in place. But just thinking about what else can we do? It's all in our power to make it happen."

Last year, Cincinnati had the fewest number of pedestrian crashes in at least nine years.

Nick has reported from a nuclear waste facility in the deserts of New Mexico, the White House press pool, a canoe on the Mill Creek, and even his desk one time.