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Are Cleveland's speed tables working to slow traffic?

City asking neighbors for feedback on pilot program
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Posted at 10:38 PM, Feb 02, 2023

CLEVELAND — A weathered memorial of stuffed animals and silk flowers marks the spot on West 50th Street where a 5-year-old girl was hit and killed by a car in April 2022.

“In my mind, I can still see that happen to her,” said Jennifer Ellis, who lives nearby and witnessed the crash last spring. “At night time, I close my eyes, I see it.”

The tragedy rattled neighbors. Ellis keeps an even closer eye on her 3-year-old.

“She stays in this yard. We don’t leave the house, we don’t leave the yard. There’s too much stuff going on to be even out,” she said.

Her daughter’s father even posted his own sign, which reads, “Slow down, kids play here.”

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“He handmade that sign by himself. It helps, but in a way it doesn’t because people are still speeding,” Ellis said.

1.5 miles away on West 56th Street, Samuel Mitchell also made his own sign. Reflective tape on a white pole in front of his home says “caution” on one side and “slow down” on the reverse.

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“There’s a caution sign right there saying ‘children’ and they come through here like it’s a freeway sometimes. Somebody’s going to get hurt sooner or later or even killed,” Mitchell said.

In response to similar complaints and tragedies, Cleveland has been pursuing ways to reduce speeding throughout the city. It’s part of the Vision Zero Cleveland initiative, which aims to completely eliminate serious traffic-related injuries and deaths.

In June, the city announced its pilot program to install speed tables in 10 areas of the city.

READ MORE:City of Cleveland launches pilot speed table program

In August, News 5 covered the installation of the first speed table.

READ MORE:Pilot program targets speeders in Cleveland neighborhoods

More than five months later, the city is seeking feedback about how well the pilot program is working.

“We will be relying a lot on that to inform the evaluation and our understanding of how it has worked,” said Calley Mersmann, the senior strategist for transit and mobility at the City of Cleveland.

She explained city service workers, like first responders, snow plow and bus drivers have already been weighing in on the speed tables. Now, she’s requesting feedback from neighbors.

“We also know the people who live right next to the speed tables are who drive over them daily, are interacting with them a lot. So hearing about that experience is very important to us,” she said.

Ellis tells News 5 she’s skeptical about the speed tables are making a difference and worries they won’t effectively prevent future tragedies.

“When it snows, you can’t see it. So they’re going to [go] right over it. They don’t see it,” she said. “I hope that doesn’t happen again. The speed table does not work because people still speed.”

Mitchell, on the other hand, has noticed more drivers slowing down in his neighborhood.

He said, “I think it’s a good thing to have. Maybe it will save some lives.”

Both neighbors offered suggestions, like cameras and increased police presence, to help enforce speed limits.

Mersmann said the city will take all feedback into consideration, as well as crash and traffic data to measure the success of the speed tables.

“Feedback that we hear and the whole purpose of this pilot is to understand where speed tables are most appropriate and where we should look at adding other things if there is a speeding problem,” she said.

You can find details about how to take the feedback survey in English or Spanish by clicking on this link.

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