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'Cars Are Not Slowing Down': Administrators, Council Members And Parents Talk Crosswalk Crashes

Council's Law and Safety Committee will reconvene the safety discussion about crosswalks January 7.
Council's Law and Safety Committee will reconvene the safety discussion about crosswalks January 7.

Before Cincinnati Public School students return from Christmas break, parents, school administrators and council members want safety measures in place to decrease the number of kids hit by cars while walking to school.

Thirteen have been struck since September. One especially dangerous area is near Dater and Western Hills high schools. On December 20, two students were hit in a crosswalk. In a news release, the City of Cincinnati says it had "stepped up pedestrian safety enforcement and determent due to situations like this."

Fifteen-year-old Gabriella Rodriguez was on her way to a school bus stop September 10 when she was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Her mother, Shawna Rodriguez, spoke at Council's Law and Public Safety meeting Thursday.

"I don't care if you are 15. I don't care if you are 70," she said. "You shouldn't have to cross four lanes of a roadway."

Councilman Jeff Pastor talks to the family of Gabriella Rodriguez. The 15-year-old was hit and killed by a car in September while walking to a bus stop.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Councilman Jeff Pastor talks to the family of Gabriella Rodriguez. The 15-year-old was hit and killed by a car in September while walking to a bus stop.

Western Hills Principal Dr. Carlos Blair is taking Gabriella's death hard. He says he has reallocated some security guards to the crosswalk on Ferguson and Prosperity and says, "the cars are just not slowing down."

At the council committee meeting, Dater Principal Stephen Sipple pressed for change. "Time has now become the issue. Kids are being struck at such an alarming rate we need to do something as quickly as possible."

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld sees the problem as solvable. "There are things we can do if the will is there that can make sure that kids are not getting hit when crossing the street."

Sittenfeld wants a missing traffic control paddle replaced. He called for brighter lights and changes in bus parking patterns.

Committee Chair Christopher Smitherman will hold another meeting on school crosswalk safety January 7. This follows a SORTA meeting January 2 where police will attend to talk about a greater presence in the area.

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