UC students march for safer streets after multiple pedestrian deaths around campus

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 5:26 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - An event rallying support for pedestrian safety around the University of Cincinnati’s main campus took place Monday evening.

Students called on UC administration to work with the city to address “preventable crashes” and “make the streets safe for all.”

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval and Cincinnati City Council Member Mark Jeffreys attended, voicing support for students and pedestrian safety advocates who attended and marched.

“I know that the University leadership hears you, and we are partnering on making sure that we make Cincinnati and UC more safe,” Pureval said.

The “Uptown Walk-Around” came in response to what some describe as inaction on the part of city and school leaders following the death of 18-year-old Cayden Turner.

Turner died and another UC student was seriously injured last September when a driver hit them as the pair were crossing Jefferson Avenue in a marked crosswalk.

Data from the Devou Foundation show that incident is just the tip of the iceberg.

There have been 654 traffic crashes in the last six months in and around UC’s uptown campus, the data show. Of those, 21 have involved pedestrians, including Turner as well as a man killed early last month.

[Deadly pedestrian crash near UC puts students on edge—again]

The data show eight pedestrian or cyclist deaths citywide on 182 fatal or severe car crashes in 2022.

“We cross Clifton Avenue every day taking them to school, and people drive incredibly quickly, recklessly,” said Clifton resident Dan Polifka.

Even with bike lanes and crosswalks, UC student and avid bicyclist Matthew Latawick says he’s all too familiar with dangerous close calls.

“Cars passing you way to closely... I’ve fallen off a bike due to that,” he said. “Sometimes cars pass you a foot away. First of all, that’s illegal, and it’s extremely unsafe.”

Latawick advocates for basic infrastructure to create safer roadways for cyclists and pedestrians.

“Slower speed limits, traffic calming measures... They’re extremely important,” he said. “In my opinion, [they’re] much more important than educating the drivers, because it’s been known for years it has not worked. So forcing them to slow down rather than asking them to is the way to go in my opinion.”

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