Construction Concerns After Children Seen Walking in Street

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio-- Clifton Blvd is littered with orange barrels as RTA makes way for several new bus stops. It’s part of a transportation enhancement project set to be completed later this year.

Construction has really started to pick up, but with that, new concerns over safety have surfaced.

“This is a highway in the mornings and we're now letting our children walk in it. It's completely unacceptable,” said concerned parent, Ryan Salo.

He reached out to FOX 8 after he saw children walking along Clifton, Monday morning.

He said they had nowhere else to go because the sidewalk near Westlake Ave. is torn up.

“My wife actually brought it to my attention last week that she saw kids and adults with strollers actually having to walk in the street, and there's about six or seven of these locations all along Clifton,” he said.

Salo said he called the mayor’s office last Friday along with RTA and the construction group handling the project. He said he expected to see some improvements made on Monday, but nothing was done.

“It's extremely frustrating that nothing's been done seeing as how quick and easy the solution would be to simply move some barrels, put up some additional cones, put up some other markers to make a path for them,” said Jeff Dreger, another concerned parent.

Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers said they’re working with RTA to rectify the problem.

Salo said he’s glad to hear something will be done, but said he can’t help but feel disappointed that it had to get to this point.

"If you're going to have a major road under construction, you should know the plans. You should know what the major inconveniences are going to be and be proactive and make the necessary changes ahead of time,” he said.

Mayor Summers issued the following statement to FOX 8 about the situation:

Unbeknownst to the City of  Lakewood, on Friday, RTA’s contractor removed several sections of sidewalk on the south side of Clifton Blvd.

This created an impassable situation for pedestrians, especially school children. The city promptly notified RTA that leaving inaccessible sidewalks was unacceptable.

RTA hired two police officers to address two of the four sections; however, two were left unattended. This morning, alert parents helped kids walk to school safely; in addition, they brought the situation to my attention.

Barriers will be put up for the after school return today and tomorrow morning. Temporary sidewalks will be placed for Tuesday afternoon and until the new sidewalks are ready for use, most likely Thursday, weather permitting. Lakewood Police will be monitoring these areas to ensure safety.”

An RTA spokesperson confirmed those changes and also sent a statement to FOX 8:

RTA wants to make sure everyone has a safe place to walk during all of our construction projects.

We created some temporary walkways in areas where many children are walking during various phases of construction on Clifton and we've worked with Lakewood Police for more patrols in area where children are present.

Additional temporary walkways are also in process. RTA continues to work closely with both the City of Cleveland and the City of Lakewood on the entire project. Many improvements to the roads and nearby areas will be made by RTA, in coordination with both cities.”

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