North Main one of the most dangerous roadways for pedestrians

Dozens of pedestrian strikes have occurred on North Main Street in the last seven years. Dayton and state officials hope that millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades will lead to fewer and less severe incidents. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Dozens of pedestrian strikes have occurred on North Main Street in the last seven years. Dayton and state officials hope that millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades will lead to fewer and less severe incidents. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

North Main Street is not just one of Dayton’s busiest thoroughfares — it’s also one of the most dangerous for pedestrians.

Dozens of pedestrian strikes have occurred along the corridor since 2015, including several fatal hit-and-runs and other strikes resulting in serious injuries.

But the city and state propose making millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades that officials hope will greatly reduce crashes.

“This project is very important to the city, and the pedestrian fatalities and crashes along North Main Street is unacceptable,” said Joseph Weinel, Dayton’s chief engineer.

ExplorePedestrian crashes make up large part of fatalities: ‘We are in a day in age of distracted driving’
Combined ShapeCaption
A pedestrian was struck Dec. 10, 2014, by a vehicle that fled the scene at the intersection of North Main and Helena streets in Dayton. JIM NOELKER / STAFF

A pedestrian was struck Dec. 10, 2014, by a vehicle that fled the scene at the intersection of North Main and Helena streets in Dayton. JIM NOELKER / STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
A pedestrian was struck Dec. 10, 2014, by a vehicle that fled the scene at the intersection of North Main and Helena streets in Dayton. JIM NOELKER / STAFF

Dayton and the Ohio Department of Transportation District 7 are accepting public comments and feedback through May 31 about a plan to modify a stretch of North Main Street from Great Miami Boulevard in Dayton to Shoup Mill Road in Harrison Twp.

The roughly $6.4 million proposed project will put North Main on a “road diet,” shrinking the lanes of travel in each direction from four to two, while creating a center turn lane.

The new lanes would be wider, and a new parking lane would be constructed from Great Miami Boulevard to Norman Avenue.

The project seeks to improve pedestrian safety by adding high-visibility pavement markings and bump-outs to shorten pedestrian crosswalks at some intersections, and deteriorated sidewalks and antiquated curb ramps will be replaced, the city said.

The North Main Street improvement project is in the preliminary design phase but is expected to begin in spring 2024. Construction is expected to take about nine months.

Officials say no final decisions have been made about the proposed improvements at this time. Final plans are expected to be completed in late 2023.

Studies suggest that road diets can reduce vehicle-to-vehicle crashes by 19% to 47%, the city said, and they can slow traffic, improving pedestrian access and reducing the chances of crashes that can lead to serious injuries and death.

“The road diet with addition of curb extension and median islands will reduce the amount of time it takes a pedestrian to cross the street while reducing the pedestrian conflict with vehicular traffic,” said Weinel, chief engineer. “The project will also install lighting at the pedestrian crossing.”

Since 2015, there have been 76 crashes involving pedestrians in the project area along the North Main Street corridor, according to city and state data.

In the last several years, injuries were suspected in three-quarters of the crashes involving pedestrians along the roadway — and possible in others — and three incidents were deadly hit-and-runs.

A 53-year-old Dayton man was killed in May 2021 near Forest Glenn Avenue by a vehicle that did not stop.

Three years ago, a 17-year-old girl and 23-year-old woman were crossing North Main Street near Carson Avenue in Harrison Twp. when they were struck by different vehicles, heading in opposite directions.

The teen was killed, while the woman was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Both vehicles involved fled the scene.

A 39-year-old Dayton man was killed in May 2018 while attempting to cross North Main near Wampler Avenue.

The man was struck by a vehicle traveling north, and he was hit by two other vehicles after falling into the southbound lane.

Two drivers left the scene, while the third stayed and called 911.

Some residents who live along the corridor have complained for years about speeding and dangerous and reckless driving behaviors.

Combined ShapeCaption
Dozens of pedestrian strikes have occurred on North Main Street in the last seven years. Dayton and state officials hope that millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades will lead to fewer and less severe incidents. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Dozens of pedestrian strikes have occurred on North Main Street in the last seven years. Dayton and state officials hope that millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades will lead to fewer and less severe incidents. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Dozens of pedestrian strikes have occurred on North Main Street in the last seven years. Dayton and state officials hope that millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades will lead to fewer and less severe incidents. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Ohio 48 (North Main Street) had 115 pedestrian or bike crashes between 2015 and 2019, accounting for about 8% of these types of crashes in the Miami Valley area, according to a draft transportation plan by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.

During that four-year period, there were 942 pedestrian crashes across the Miami Valley, which includes Montgomery, Miami, Greene and northern Warren counties. More than 95% of those crashes led to injury.

Although pedestrian strikes occur less frequently than other types of crashes, when they occur, the consequences tend to be more severe, said Mary Hoy, district traffic planning engineer with ODOT District 7.

“Crash data pulled for this corridor for the time period since the safety study was completed show that while pedestrian crashes may not be the most common crash type (less than 5%), they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the fatalities and serious injuries (33%),” Hoy said. “While pedestrian safety is a primary focus of this project, we expect it will result in a safer corridor for all road users, regardless of their mode.”

Combined ShapeCaption
The number of pedestrian-involved crashes by county in southwest Ohio between 2016 and October 2021. CONTRIBUTED

The number of pedestrian-involved crashes by county in southwest Ohio between 2016 and October 2021. CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
The number of pedestrian-involved crashes by county in southwest Ohio between 2016 and October 2021. CONTRIBUTED

About the Author