University Circle campaign aims to hit the brakes on alarming rise in crashes involving pedestrians

University Circle officials have launched Project Yield, a public awareness campaign that aims to increase yield rates, discourage illegal speeding, and keep travelers safe.


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Between November 2019 and February 2020, 10 people were struck in marked crosswalks in University Circle, two of whom were killed. Alarmed by this increase from previous years and seeking to enhance pedestrian safety in the area, University Circle officials have launched Project Yield, a public awareness campaign that aims to increase yield rates, discourage illegal speeding, and keep travelers safe.

“We think one person hit by a car in University Circle is too many,” said University Circle Inc. director of transportation Annie Pease, citing the fact that Project Yield is also part of Cleveland’s Vision Zero initiative, part of an international push to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries. “We’re trying to build awareness that people being hit by cars is unacceptable.”


Project Yield signage in University Circle.

Project Yield signage in University Circle.

Pease said Project Yield came out of a UCI analysis that revealed while overall crashes in the district have decreased in the past five years, crashes involving pedestrians have gone up. UCI identified the causes as poor roadway lighting, especially in winter during commuting hours, and speeding motorists. Nationally, crashes involving pedestrians are on the rise due to a number of factors, including an increase in driving.


Enhanced pedestrian crossings.

Enhanced pedestrian crossings.

The Project Yield public awareness campaign urges neighbors to use report close calls with vehicles, alert the city to streetlight outages, and join in safety advisory meetings. In addition to this public education effort, UCI has rolled out new signage, improved traffic signalization, and new striping that discourages speeding.

Pease cited the crosswalk enhancements and enforcement at MLK Jr. Blvd. and Cedar Rd. as one example of enhancements. UCI recently worked with RTA, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and the city to reduce the number of crossings at MLK Jr. Blvd. and Cedar Rd. from six to two and add a bumpout reducing the crossing distance for more than than 400 children at Cleveland School of the Arts.

“Those of the types of improvements were trying to make, not roads or bridges or tunnels,” said Pease. “Our transportation plan helped us target improvements to where we could help vulnerable road users.”

Other improvements cited by Pease include:

  • Pavement markings and “bike may use full lane” signage on Ford, Mayfield, Euclid and E. 115th St.;

  • Flexible delineators (for increased pedestrian visibility) on Mayfield Road in Little Italy;

  • 20 foot ladder crosswalks at crossings of the Nash Walkway at Ford and Juniper;

  • 8 custom uGO bike racks in Uptown;

  • Secondary CircleLink shuttle stop identification signs;

  • Primary CircleLink shuttle stop identification signs;

  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) in four locations;

  • Lead Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) at Euclid/Ford/Mayfield and Euclid/E. 115th St. (giving pedestrians more time to cross);

  • “No Right on Red” signage at Euclid/Ford/Mayfield, Ford/Bellflower, and Euclid/E. 115th St.

Pease said UCI is working closely with Cleveland’s Vision Zero initiative, which recently hired a consulting team to help the city develop an action plan. According to Bike Cleveland, Nelson Nygard will lead the effort, Osborne Engineering will complete engineering work, and public engagement is being led by Seventh Hill. Pease said although Project Yield may be one of the few visible results of Vision Zero, change is coming.

“It’s a systems change for how road safety is viewed,” she said. There are so many boats rowing in the same direction, the methodical approach is necessary.”

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