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'Roll up your sleeves and get to work' on pedestrian safety Cincinnatians tell officials

A crowded public forum in Avondale Tuesday night highlights an issue Cincinnatians say is urgent: pedestrian safety.

Council Member Mark Jeffreys hosted the forum at the Hirsch Recreation Center. He asked experts from across the country to show examples of quick and easy solutions.

Bill Schultheiss, a sustainable transportation engineer with Toole Design, says there's a big movement in cities to reduce driving by making public transit more appealing.

"The city of Boston just today made a number of their busiest transit lines free," Schultheiss said. "And they're combining that with the provision of bus only lanes to make sure that when you choose to take the bus, you're actually prioritized to ensure that you have a speedy trip to your destination."

The national presenters suggested solutions like using red paint in crosswalks to make them more visible. Jeffreys says that kind of thing can be implemented right away while city officials work on long-term plans.

Jeffreys says people are already asking for similar meetings throughout the city.

"We're going to do a little bit of a roadshow to community councils and have the discussion at a very tangible level," he said. "What are the intersections where there are problems? Here are some ideas to inspire you. And how do we make that happen?"

Last year in Cincinnati, 305 people were hit by cars and seven died, including a 7-year-old child. The girl's death shows how critical this is, says Avondale Pedestrian Safety Cofounder Tamika Turner.

"What I don't want to see or hear about is another accident like what happened to the little girl down on Vine," Turner said. "I think [the forum] was very informative, I think it was very educational. But now they talked about it, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Let's do it."

Nearly a dozen city officials from various departments attended the forum, including Director of Transportation and Engineering John Brazina, Mayor Aftab Pureval, and Council Members Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Greg Landsman, and Meeka Owens.

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.