WESTWOOD, Ohio (WKRC) - Students at one local school are calling on their community to join them in the fight to make streets safer for kids getting to class.
Students from Gamble Montessori High School will stand at five busy intersections in Westwood asking drivers to slow down and watch out for pedestrians.
"We’re hoping to draw attention to the drivers that day by a 'Honk and Wave' campaign,” said Gamble Montessori reading specialist John Ploehs. “They’ll [drivers] see our students out there in colorful clothes and signage with our staff, bringing awareness to pedestrian safety."
The pedestrian safety campaign is led by Ploehs and some ninth-grade students.
The groups will be posted at around the school on Werk Road, Harrison Avenue, Epworth Road, and Montana Avenue, Wednesday morning from 10-11 a.m. Students want drivers to see them, not just as students, but as pedestrians and members of the neighborhood.
“They’re all on foot. None of them can drive, unless they’re lucky enough to have a ride, but many travel by Metro, and the Metro situation isn’t that they drop them off right in front of school. Oftentimes, they have to walk a few blocks,” said Ploehs.
At the intersection of Werk and Epworth, crossing guard Alex Bennett also makes sure students are safe.
"Even though keeping everyone safe is the main goal, the personal connection is important to me,” Bennett said.
With every honk, head nod, and wave, Bennett knows his efforts are appreciated. He also knows this is a dangerous stretch of Werk Road near the high school.
"Watching your speed is something that everyone has to do, and I think that’s a really important message,” said Bennett.
Moving forward, Ploehs and his students are hoping to partner with Westwood businesses, civic associations, and neighbors to keep the work going to protect pedestrians.
"We’re well aware, as our students are, the need to make sure that everybody’s safe on foot,” he said.
So far in 2022, 200 pedestrians have been involved in accidents in Cincinnati. While the number is high, it's down 40 from a year ago at the same time.
To get involved in the Gamble Montessori High School Pedestrian Safety Campaign, call the school at (513) 363-2600.