12-year-old struck in front of Urban Community School puts safe streets ordinance in fast lane

Complete and Green Streets plan would slow down traffic on major Cleveland roads
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 1:38 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The issue: Safety on major Cleveland roads, especially after a 12-year-old sixth-grader got hit walking to school two weeks ago.

“The car turned north and didn’t see the kid at all,” said Tom Gill, president of Urban Community School on Lorain and West 48th. “She rolled up on the car and rolled off, but it was a pretty scary moment and one that we saw coming, frankly.”

Speed on major Cleveland roads is a major concern, according to Ward 3 Councilman Kerry McCormack.

“This is critical,” said McCormack. “The amount of concern I get from my community members about traffic safety is through the roof.”

McCormack has sponsored “Complete and Green Streets,” a proposal to slow down traffic on roads like Lorain, East 55th, and Superior, creating safer streets and also a sense of community.

“In addition to safety, some of the great elements of Complete and Green Streets,” according to the Councilman who represents the ward that includes Urban Community School. “Number one, helps the environment and, number two, it supports local small businesses and the economy.”

As more people move into the city, it’s more important, according to Gill.

“The crux of it is for us it that it’s going to slow down traffic and make it safer for kids and families to ride their bikes and walk to school,” said Gill. “We’re in the city, our kids live In the city, people want to live in the city and we need a modern traffic infrastructure that reflects the desire of people who live nearby to walk and bike and right now we don’t.”

The ordinance will change the city’s philosophy on re-designing streets and will roll out in phases.

“It’s changing the way that the city looks at designing roads,” said McCormack. “Not just to get from A to B as fast as you can in a car but thinking about children, families, folks in wheelchairs, grandma, small businesses, safety, taking those things into consideration as well.”

There is a separate proposal to reduce the lanes on Lorain from four to three and decreasing the speed, making the crossing distance for students shorter and safer.

Councilman McCormack expects the legislation to get passed by Cleveland City Council Monday, June 6, the last meeting before summer recess.

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