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Friday, February 24, 2017

Citizen Input Encouraged on Grand Avenue Dangers

Fort Thomas City Council listened to concerns of Susan Twehues, a resident of Grand Avenue. She represented about 15 of her neighbors and spoke about their perceived increasing danger of living on that road. FTM file. 
By Robin Gee

A fatal crash, several wrecks and near misses along a curved stretch of Grand Avenue brought about 15 local residents to the February Fort Thomas City Council meeting to voice their concerns and ask for the city’s help in addressing the issue.

Susan Twehues, who lives on Grand Avenue, was first on the scene of the fatal crash in September 2016, just two doors from her home. Another crash occurred at about the same spot on January 21 sending a car over the curb, through several yards, across the four-lane highway and into an embankment.

RELATED: Fatality Occurs on Grand Avenue

Twehues said she’s counted three wrecks in the last nine months and for every crash there have been several tire squeals that cause her and her neighbors to cringe and brace for the bang of impact.

“This last one came through my front yard. And Fort Thomas is a city where people love to walk. If you had a pedestrian walking…This happened at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, a time during the week when kids are walking home from school. How can we be sure our kids are going to be safe?”

RELATED: Another "Scary" Accident on Grand Avenue 

A car traveled through three yards before crashing head-on into a tree on Grand Avenue in September 2016. The crash resulted in a fatality to the driver. FTM file. 

Grand Avenue has been a cause for concern for several years and is included in the city’s visioning project now underway, said Mayor Eric Haas. He added that the stretch, from Highland Avenue to South Fort Thomas Avenue, is a good candidate for a “road diet.”

A road diet is a term used in transportation planning that involves lane reduction or road rechannelization. In addition to reducing and widening lanes, some road diet plans include addition of street parking and bike lanes.

Joe Schwerling, who lives on Holiday Lane near Grand, said he was doubtful that lane reduction would have an impact on impaired drivers. He asked that the city look at signage, protective posts, speed limit reduction and other measures as well.

Changing the geometry of the curve would be a challenge but another option, said City Administrator Ron Dill. He cautioned since Grand is a state roadway, the city will need to work with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on many of the solutions under consideration.

Citizen input and support is crucial in addressing the dangerous situation on Grand, Mayor Haas said. He urged Twehues and her neighbors to talk with other residents and encourage participation in public hearings as the city moves through the visioning project.

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