Enhancing community connections in Cincinnati, by reclaiming alleys, sidewalks, and steps for the pedestrian.
In the heat of our cleanup efforts in 2012, quite literally, there were several attempts to get street sign requests on the books. The process by which one must take to file a street sign request is, at times, discouraging. But, through several submissions of Customer Service Requests (CSRs) in the city database, follow-up telephone conversations, and picking up calls at the right time, we have wonderful news to report.
Schorr Alley, located between West McMillan Street and Warner Street in Clifton Heights, now has both a One Way road sign at its north end and a street sign delineating its entrance from McMillan. Until now, residents living along West Clifton Avenue and Wheeler Street have entered and exited Schorr Alley to reach their private parking areas. In conjunction with the efforts of Spring in Our Steps, to make a passable and desirable path through the alley’s southern half, we hope that these additions will help to alleviate traffic concerns along the Clifton Heights Business District.
At the St. Joe Street in Mt. Auburn, Spring in Our Steps’ first long-term alley project site, repeated attempts to have on-street parking signs, mounted at its entrance from Loth Street, have succeeded. Two No Parking Any Time signs can be found anchoring the 100-149 block of St. Joe Street. Spring in Our Steps considers these signage placements to be an integral step in its efforts to return St. Joe Street, South Wendell Alley, and the North Wendell Alley Steps to their former utility.
Among many other factors, street signage goes a long way to reassign an identity to a oft-neglected space. Homes without well-defined street numbers lose their place in the world. A business without proper signage loses all the traffic to street functions with definition. Certainly, a street without a sign becomes a ghost of its former self–visitors miss steps in their sometimes carefully planned, mapped directions. In the case of an alley, many residents are not even aware they had been giving names. Alleys are spaces relegated to the lore of darkness and danger in media. But, much like a well-lighted street, placards that define the identity of an alley then create opportunity for the first steps of community ownership.
Spring in Our Steps hopes to leverage the installation of street signage at its other long-term alley cleanup sites–Peete Alley and Pitt Alley–through a combination of in-kind donations and assistance from community organizations.