CINCINNATI — The Ohio State Highway Patrol has said nearly 850 pedestrians have been killed in crashes across Ohio since 2017. The City of Cincinnati is looking to bring that number down.
Federal grants have helped cities like Cincinnati better protect pedestrians, but local leaders say more money is needed.
What You Need To Know
- Cincinnati City Council is proposing a $3.4 million investment for pedestrian safety
- The money will come from a $85 million surplus from the fiscal year
- This is in addition to a $1 million investment in March and $20 million from a RAISE grant in September for pedestrian safety
- City Council is expected to vote on Monday
Brian Johnson works in Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, and walking is how he gets around the city.
“As a pedestrian, at least to me, it’s kind of on me to make sure people are watching out if I’m crossing a street if they’re going to stop,” said Johnson.
Although he said he’s never seen anyone hit, there have been a few close calls. That’s why he’s extra careful when crossing busy streets.
“I try to just be proactive to make sure no one [is] barreling towards me and making sure that they’re actually going to stop before I step into the street,” he said.
One of the biggest issues he’s seen is drivers unwilling to stop and yield to pedestrians near Ziegler Park.
“I think a lot of times you have to like step out into the street for them to realize you’re trying to cross,” he said. “So vigilance on the driver’s side, but also just people that are walking around.”
In March, the city approved a $1 million investment to improve pedestrian safety across the city. Then in September, the city received $20 million of the $2.2 billion RAISE grant from the Biden Administration to help with a major infrastructure project in Cincinnati’s West End, Queensgate and Lower Price Hill neighborhoods.
Now, council is proposing using $3.4 million from the $85 million surplus from the fiscal year to do even more.
"It’s urgently needed because it’s not just everything that we’ve heard in terms of crashes, people being injured, the six people who died thus far this year. It’s also a lot of near misses,” said Cincinnati City Councilmember Mark Jeffreys.
Jeffreys has been instrumental in fighting for better pedestrian safety. If the proposal is approved, the money would go toward funding more than 15 additional safety projects across the city.
Expanding OTR's Ziegler Park is one of them.
“There’s less foot traffic, so you won’t be hit and it’s been a problematic street there also for residents that people at two, three in the morning and they’re blasting music and folks can’t sleep,” he said.
Council is expected to make a vote Monday. Jeffreys said he wants to add $1 million more to help fund even more projects he believes will better protect pedestrians.
"To me, a city exists for the people, not the cars,” said Johnson. “So I think anything that can make the people safer. If it slows down traffic maybe that will get people to drive less and take public transportation.”