Council members call for improved safety on Columbia Parkway

Tuesday crash that critically injured Cincinnati Police Sgt. Ronald Schaeper
Tuesday crash that critically injured Cincinnati Police Sgt. Ronald Schaeper

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Members of Cincinnati City Council held a press conference Thursday morning to call for a study on how to improve safety on Columbia Parkway.

The Parkway is one of they city's most scenic drives into downtown, but council members say several issues, including speeding, traffic accidents, landslides and flooding, highlight the dangers of the east side route, which carries more than 26,000 cars per day.

Earlier this week, Cincinnati Police Sergeant Ronald Schaeper was critically injured in a crash on Columbia Parkway.

Council members Leslie Ghiz, Amy Murray, Wayne Lippert and Chris Bortz discussed their suggestions on how the city can reduce traffic dangers for residents and commuters.

"Columbia Parkway was built in the 30s and it is one of the most successful transportation projects in our history," said Ghiz. "But the time has come to study ways to improve safety on the Parkway, to protect our citizens and ensure that the Parkway remains a viable transportation option for generations to come."

The council members recommend a comprehensive look at safety options on Columbia Parkway, with a report due back to City Council by January 1, 2012. They suggested several options that should be included in the study, including:

  • Added speed patrols or speed signs, especially during the morning and evening commutes
  • Elimination of the middle lane that is currently used by westbound drivers.  This could include creation of a scenic middle strip to maintain the Parkway's natural beauty and also have the effect of slowing drivers down.
  • Addition of rumble strips at certain locations
  • Creation of emergency lanes for cars to pull off on the side of the road

Ghiz is introducing a motion at the next city council meeting to form a task force that includes police, fire, the department of transportation and the parks and recreation department to look at ways to improve the road.

"As someone who drives Columbia Parkway almost daily, I can attest that the natural beauty along the river makes this commute one of our City's finest. Yet the accidents and mudslides we have seen in recent weeks show us that this commute can be downright dangerous," said Lippert. "We must do everything we can to ensure that the Parkway remains safe for our residents and visitors."

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