Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Resident: Traffic calming on Beechmont a 'joke'

One Cincinnati resident, who does not identify himself by his full name nor divulge in what part of town he lives, says that traffic calming measures along Beechmont Avenue will not help enhance the neighborhood as a desirable place to live -- on several occasions referring to it as a "joke".

On September 10, Cincinnati City councilmember Roxanne Qualls introduced a motion supporting traffic calming measures along the section of road between Elstun Road and Burney Lane that would reduce traffic speeds and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

The motion was meant to align with recommendations from the Mt. Washington Community Plan, which had codified community concerns about Beechmont resulting from the Ohio Department of Transportation's 2004 widening project.

But in an e-mail to councilmember Laketa Cole, the resident says that Beechmont Avenue is not a business corridor, but a main artery in and out of the east side of town.

"By restricting traffic flow through Beechmont, you will only cause a larger traffic problem on other streets like Clough Pike and Salem Road," he says. "It will most definitely not be an enhancement to the business community when there are even less commuters driving through the area."

The resident says that he's frequently a pedestrian along Beechmont, and there's no problem with safety.

"I have only know of one pedestrian being struck on Beechmont and that was certainly not due to a safety issue with the speed limit or a lane issue," he says. "However, it was due to the idiotic 'right turn on red' law, which is highly abused not only on Beechmont but all over the city. If you want to improve pedestrian safety, then put up restrictions on 'right turns on red'."

One of Qualls' recommendations with which the resident disagrees is narrowing the lanes and adding bike lanes.

"This will only constrict and limit traffic and increase personal risk to bikers as well as other motorists," he says. "If you are really interested in biker's safety, install and improve the sidewalks down Beechmont."

Qualls also recommended street trees, which would help slow cars down, enhance the environment, and possibly extend the life of the pavement.

"This is a joke!" the resident says. "Ninety percent of the traffic is trying to get through Mt. Washington and into Anderson Township and beyond. If you think this is going to slow them down, you are living in a fantasy world. And, I have never seen tree roots extend the life of the pavement."*

According to the resident, landscaped medians...a joke.

"These are always a nuisance!" he says.

Would solar powered "your speed is" signs slow drivers down?

"I personally don't think these work for extended periods, but if you insist on spending money foolishly that the city doesn't seem to have for necessary items, then I will gladly see you off council come next election."

Sources of funding for the signs, which are generally priced between $3,000 and $5,000 each, have not been identified.

A from city manager Milton Dohoney Jr on the measure's status is due before council by January 7.

* Recent studies from Texas, Florida, and the City of Toronto have shown that street trees and other landscape features help reduce driver speed, possibly because they help define the roadside edge and give drivers a point of reference that helps them better judge driving speed. Also, numerous studies show that the shade provided by street trees does indeed extend the life of pavement -- by 40 to 60 percent -- by keeping the asphalt's oil binder from loosening and allowing the stone aggregate to grind down the street surface as vehicles pass.

Previous reading on BC:
MWCC releases Beechmont Street Improvement Survey (10/24/08)
Mount Washington rezonings seek compact, pedestrian-friendly development (9/18/08) (10/24/08)