Dayton may launch new free West Dayton bus service to circumvent dangerous U.S. 35 pedestrian crossing

Dayton is considering creating a new, free special bus service to help people who live south of the Dayton Metro Library West Branch get to and from the library facility without having to cross a dangerous intersection at U.S. 35 and Abbey Avenue.

Dayton this week could decide whether to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Dayton Metro Library for a new Pedestrian Busing Project that would run through 2026.

The $174,000 project seeks to provide a safe way of traveling to the West Branch Library at 300 Abbey Ave. from an area south of the facility and south of U.S. 35.

City officials and neighbors have raised concerns about pedestrians crossing U.S. 35 to get to the library and the Wright factory site.

U.S. 35 has eight lanes and a 50 mph speed limit at the Abbey Avenue intersection, and about 35,000 vehicles use the roadway every day.

The city has applied for federal funding to build a $5 million pedestrian bridge over the intersection.

But for now the city proposes operating a bus route that would run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The bus service possibly could run every 45 minutes or every hour.

The proposed bus route would travel along a variety of streets, including West Stewart Street and Lakeview Avenue. The bus route would stretch from the library to the Montgomery County Job Center at 1111 S. Edwin C. Moses Boulevard.

The library proposes contributing $58,000 annually to support the project, and Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority has offered to provide two 2016 Eldorado National paratransit buses.

The city would be in charge of providing staff to operate and maintain the buses. The Dayton Metro Library’s contribution comes from a grant it received from CareSource, said Jeffrey Trzeciak, the library system’s executive director.

The library is concerned about pedestrian safety, especially when it comes to children, the elderly and community members with disabilities, Trzeciak said.

The new bus service hopefully will launch by the end of the summer, he said.

The West Branch Library had about 7,000 visitors in April, and Trzeciak said he is often asked by West Branch library patrons about the plans for the pedestrian bridge.

“Even if I go out to a community event, almost always someone will come up to me and ask, ‘When’s the pedestrian bridge going to be built and until then, what’s the library doing?’” he said.

A significant share of people who live in neighborhoods south of U.S. 35 do not drive and do not own an automobile, Trzeciak said.

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