The 12 signs are a result of a years-long collaboration between the City of Cincinnati (DOTE) and Spring in Our Steps (SiOS), a local nonprofit that organizes volunteers to clear pedestrian pathways. SiOS’ executive director, Christian Huelsman, originally approached the City’s Department of Transportation and Engineering (DOTE) in 2013 with an idea to create a system that called attention to the staircases. He envisioned a system similar fashion to the traditional street signs familiar to motorists and pedestrians alike.
After conducting a survey of potential areas of focus, it was observed that students often use the alleys and staircases to walk home from Rothenberg Preparatory Academy on Main Street in OTR. Additional lighting for these hillside connections were installed as part of a Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) request in 2015, and 12 signs were planned to make visible the hillside connections between OTR and Mount Auburn.
The 12 signs—designed by DOTE’s graphic design section—are composed of concrete pillars and affixed sign panels. They are designed to be durable and easily replicated in order to create a consistent system throughout Cincinnati.