What is ‘hooning’? Your questions answered on illegal street racing in Dayton and city actions to battle it

The Dayton Daily News has been following incidents of dangerous driving and the city’s plans for addressing these activities for several months.

Videos posted online on YouTube, Facebook and social media show multiple cars doing burnouts and other “sideshow” activities in Dayton over the weekend.

Dayton police Lt. Col. Eric Henderson said the reckless driving is very concerning and police will take appropriate enforcement actions to try to deter these activities in the future.

What is ‘Hooning?’

“Hooning” is a term used to describe reckless driving behaviors like street racing, drifting, burnouts and donuts.

Where is it happening?

Most recently, cars were seen doing donuts and driving in circles at the intersection of Jefferson and East Third streets in the Fire Blocks District. The intersection was left covered in tire marks.



Gettysburg Avenue is another known location. It runs north to south and is a straight thoroughfare for more than six miles, similar to a drag strip, which is one of the main reasons it is a hotbed of illegal street racing. Dayton wants to make safety improvements to a 3.5-mile stretch of Gettysburg Avenue from West Third Street to Salem Avenue.

How dangerous is it?

Concerns about unsafe driving activities on Gettysburg Avenue were publicly raised after a fatal crash along the roadway killed four people. Since 2015, that segment of Gettysburg has had 1,400 crashes, which led to 10 fatalities and 59 serious injuries, according to the city.

How busy is Gettysburg Avenue?

More than 13,000 vehicles each day travel along a stretch of Gettysburg Avenue between West Third Street and Salem Avenue.

What is the city doing about it in the short-term?

The Dayton City Commission recently had the first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s 2022 appropriations, which includes $400,000 in funding for Gettysburg Avenue safety improvements.

What are some of the short-term safety improvement options?

Cement barricades - To be placed along the center of Gettysburg Avenue between Salem Avenue and Free Pike to try to deter some dangerous driving activities

Speed cushions (also called speed humps) - Five sets to be installed where center medians exist between West Third Street and Salem Avenue.

Speed Tables - Asphalt or rubber mounds that slow down traffic but still allow vehicles to travel over them at higher speeds than speed bumps.

Piano key-type markings and countdown signals - To be placed at intersections to make it easier for pedestrians to cross safely.

When will the short-term safety improvements happen?

The improvements should start soon and be completed by the end of October.

What is the city doing about it in the long-term?

The long-term fix is major road reconstruction. The city has talked about wanting to put Gettysburg on a road diet to help calm and slow traffic. The first stage likely will be to improve the section of roadway between Hillcrest Avenue and Little Richmond Road, which carries about 18,000 vehicles each day.

What is a ‘Road Diet?’

Commonly, road diets reduce the lanes of travel in each direction, add middle turn lanes and sometimes involve constructing street parking, bike lanes, curb extensions and pedestrian islands or refuges.

How much will the long-term improvements cost?

The city likely will improve Gettysburg through three phases of construction, with each expected to cost several million dollars, said Fred Stovall, Dayton’s director of public works.

When will the long-term safety improvements happen?

It can take years to acquire infrastructure funding and complete roadway projects. Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said “the problem with road design work is much of that work is funded five years out.”

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