Colerain Township, OH

Colerain Township trustees to make policy changes that limit traffic solutions for Sovereign neighborhood

The Cincinnati Post

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Over 50 residents packed the Board of Trustee meeting in September 2019 seeking to stop development.The Cincinnati Post, 2019

In September 2019, Colerain residents from the Sovereign Neighborhood swamped a trustee meeting demanding the elected officials protect their closed neighborhood to development that would turn their neighborhood entrance into a throughway to eliminate congestion on Colerain Avenue.

Over 50 residents appeared for a White Shirt Event, (video) clothed in white shirts as a sign of solidarity, to protest the township administrator proposing a planned traffic diversion right through their quiet residential neighborhood filled with children playing, bike traffic, and neighborhood events. Residents believed that the development proposed at the end of their culdesac and the taxpayer-funded bridge to connect it to Pippin Road, would ruin the character of their neighborhood.

Of course, it would.

The subdivision and connector were designed by the administrator for the specific purpose of reducing traffic congestion on Route 27 / Colerain Avenue and re-routing it to Pippin Road. This route would not only divert hundreds - likely thousands - of commuters a day during rush hour, it would also be a significant conduit to the area high school from foot traffic, as well.

The neighborhood would be inundated with people going places in a hurry.

After the white shirt event at the trustee meeting, the elected officials made promises, broke promises, then betrayed the residents. First promising not to supplement the new subdivision with tax dollars in order to make the plan viable. Then, residents were threatened with a choice to accept the subdivision or the developer would pursue a low-income apartment complex. Once residents were boxed into a choice between housing types instead of retaining a closed subdivision, the township approved the expenditure of public funds for the bridge with the promise that traffic controls would be placed sufficiently to safeguard the residents of the neighborhood.

However, the trustees will consider re-approving a policy at their January 11th meeting that prohibits speed humps and speed bumps, (beginning on page 151) despite being the primary means to, at least, slow the traffic down. It requires that residents submit an application for traffic mitigation with terms so restrictive that it is unlikely they can be met. The policy speaks of the possibility of chicanes that narrow the roadway and create islands and peninsulas jutting out into the lanes in order to force vehicles to slow down. The policy closes, reiterating township policy:

To emphasize an earlier point, the Township will not install a speed hump/bump under any circumstance.

The township is poised to pass rules that ensure the neighborhood will not receive the promised traffic mitigation promised. It's unlikely that the Sovereign Neighborhood will receive anything more than a few extra signs.

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"Keep Slow - Kids on the Go Thank you" sign in Colerain Township where residents want traffic controlled.Northbrook Reinvestment Plan 2019

The Northbrook neighborhood had the same problem. This working-class community has 2 major connectors running through a residential area along Niagara and Loralinda. The Greater Northbrook Community Group has been lobbying the township hard for 5 years to address the problem. Finally, this Spring, after a leader in the organization, Lori McMullin, sternly condemned the board of trustees repeated delays, failed alternative devices, and in spite of the begging, pleading, and jumping through hoops for 5 years, the township agreed to install temporary speed humps.

Still, there is no word or funding provided to make the humps permanent.

The Sovereign Neighborhood, now, faces an uphill battle with their elected officials to resolve traffic safety concerns coming with the new development that is underway.

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