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Cincinnati Ramping Up For Road Safety Project Vision Zero

Cincinnati is installing paddles like this in crosswalks to try to prevent pedestrian injuries and deaths.
Jay Hanselman
Cincinnati is installing paddles like this in crosswalks to try to prevent pedestrian injuries and deaths.

Cincinnati's Department of Transportation and Engineering is starting to plan for Vision Zero. That's a national philosophy for traffic safety. Mel McVay with the DOTE says the idea is that all traffic deaths are preventable.

McVay says because community engagement is a big part of Vision Zero, the city will revamp a website to let residents zoom in on their neighborhoods to identify problem areas. "Click at a specific intersection and say 'Hey, at this intersection I can't get across the street. The signal is just too short.' Or 'there's speeding in this corridor,' or 'cars aren't yielding at the crosswalk.' There's maybe nine of 10 different options that people can select."

She says that should be online within a few weeks.

McVay says the city is already doing a number of things promoted by Vision Zero proponents. She says what's new is cooperation between different agencies, including Cincinnati Police, the Recreation Commission and Cincinnati Public Schools.

"We'll be looking to target different intersections, locations throughout the city where we can make physical improvements. But we'll also be looking at enforcement initiatives, education, and hopefully we'll be bringing some policy issues to you as well where we can tighten up some of our traffic laws, to get dangerous drivers off the streets, bring our penalties more in line with what you see in other cities."

McVay told council's Education, Innovation and Growth committee that could mean changing the city's charter to allow speed cameras and red-light cameras. She says the crash rate drops "dramatically" in cities that use them.

Voters would have to approve the change.

The Vision Zero initiative began in Sweden and has since been implemented in cities like New York and Chicago. 

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.