Saturday, April 03, 1999

Street turned into hazard

Residents erect warning signs

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BLUE ASH — The signs are everywhere: “Drive With Caution, Kids at Play” and “Stop for Kids Crossing.”

        They are signs residents made and placed along West Avenue to help slow traffic pouring through their neighborhood because of a detour.

        City traffic engineers have directed traffic onto the narrow street since construction started in September on Cooper Road between Reed Hartman Highway and Blue Ash Road.

        “It has created a big mess for us,” said Dawn Myers, of the 9500 block of West Avenue. “We have been calling the city since the construction started and all the cars started speeding through this street. We clocked some cars going 50 miles an hour.”

        The posted speed limit is 25 mph.

        Mrs. Myers said when residents didn't get any help from the city, they made their own signs.

        Christol Gooch of the 9500 block was in charge of the sign committee. Neighbors designed and made cardboard signs the same size and shape as regular traffic stop signs.

        They are placed on trees and porches along the street. Neighbors also put in a caution walk strip across the street.

        “One mother almost got hit crossing the street,” Mrs. Gooch said.

Fears for children
        Margie Rook described near-fatal situations as cars sped down her street. “My father was almost run down trying to turn into the driveway,” she said.

        Mrs. Myers said the biggest concern is the number of children who play in the narrow two-lane street with no side walks.

        “We have about 50 kids on this street and they all play with each other, most of the time in the streets,” she said.

        The work on Cooper Road, to be finished May 31, will widen it from two to four lanes, said Police Chief Mike Allen.

        “It is one of the major thoroughfares in the city which carries a heavy traffic load,” he said. “We had to direct traffic to West Avenue because it is the most direct route from Cooper to Hunt Road.”

        Chief Allen said police put a mobile “speed wagon” on the street that flashes on a screen the speed a vehicle is going as it passes.

        Wednesday, one vehicle was clocked at 43 mph.

        “We have seen some of them go as high as 50 miles an hour,” Mrs. Myers said. “We don't get anything done unless we do it ourselves. It is so bad, the kids can't ride their bikes on the street.”

Police efforts
        Chief Allen said officials tried directing traffic through four other residential streets by posting signs, but most people continued to use West Avenue.

        He said during peak traffic hours, officers direct traffic at Blue Ash and Hunt roads and at Hunt and West; and another works the traffic light at Kenwood and Hunt.

        “We have put an officer in an unmarked car to check speed by radar. I have had to go out and help patrol the street. Maybe the only way to handle the problem is to put an officer on every street in the area, but I don't have that kind of staff,” he said.

        Mrs. Myers said West Avenue has always been used as a short-cut to the industrial park area off Cooper Road.

        “I live in the same house I grew up in and I have always seen too much traffic on this narrow street. The detour just doubled the amount of traffic,” she said.


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