Oakwood approves ‘road diet’ for safety on Shroyer

A one-mile stretch of Shroyer Road running through Oakwood will undergo a lane reduction after Oakwood City Council voted unanimously to move forward with recommendations from a safety study.

”I think this road diet is a very good move to create safety, and I can’t think of another way when something is more important than the safety of our residents,” Oakwood Councilman Rob Stevens said at the meeting Monday night.

The study recommended a countermeasure referred to as a road diet that consists of reducing the number of lanes from two in each direction to one, with left turn lanes at intersections. It also called for a bike lane on each side of the street between the road and the curb, as well as raised center medians with grass.

“The expectation is this is probably one of the more effective countermeasures,” said Scott Knebel of CMT Engineers, which conducted the study.

Knebel added that traffic signals would not be as effective as the road diet.

“Moving it more towards a residential feel is a good option for Oakwood,” said Steven Byington, vice mayor.

The road diet plan is expected to cost about $500,000, with $300,000 paid by federal transportation dollars and $200,000 paid by the city, according to Klopsch.

The city commissioned the safety study when residents circulated an online petition asking the city to make the road safer after a child was hit by a car in August.

The city’s existing comprehensive plan mentioned improving safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists in the corridor as well as making aesthetic improvements, according to Norbert Klopsch, city manager.

Columbus-based CMT Engineers studied the road that runs between Dellwood Avenue in Oakwood and Dorothy Lane in Kettering. The study cost $22,000.

CMT found there were 180 crashes in five years on the 1.1-mile stretch of road, Klopsch previously told the Dayton Daily News. Forty-eight of the crashes resulted in injuries. Eighty of the crashes occurred in Oakwood, Knebel told council.

“As you look at the list of crashes, all of these are above the statewide average whether it’s injury crashes or by crash type,” Knebel explained.

The number of rear-end crashes were about two times the state average, while left turn crashes were nearly three times the statewide average, according to Knebel.

Public Safety officers have tried to enforce the speed limit on the roadway but have done all they can, Oakwood Public Safety Director Alexander Bebris told council.

“We do a heavy amount of traffic enforcement on Shroyer. About 15 percent of our total number of moving violations from the safety department are written on Shroyer, and yet speeds are still higher than we want them to be there, so we were looking to see if there’s an engineering solution to part of that issue,” Bebris told this newspaper in an interview.

The city held public meetings in February and March to to explain the findings and get feedback from residents. More than 50 people attended the sessions and others submitted citizen comment forms, Bebris said.

“Overwhelmingly, I would say the feedback at the meetings and the feedback in written responses back to the city was positive in moving forward with this project,” Bebris added.

However, some residents expressed their concerns about raised median impeding their ability to turn into their driveways, while others expressed concerns about the reduction of lanes impact on traffic since there are bus stops on the roadway, Bebris said.

Knebel said it would take drivers longer to travel the corridor with the new layout.

“With the current configuration, four lanes, assuming you’re traveling the speed limit, you would expect to travel through the corridor in about 1.7 minutes. With the delays if a bus stopped in every location, you assume 30 seconds the delay, you can expect that that would now take 3.5 minutes to go from one end of the study area to the other,” Knebel explained.

Klopsch said city staff met with RTA recently, and RTA identified four of the 15 stops along the more than one mile stretch of road that could be eliminated.

The section of road is slated to undergo construction as part of a larger Shroyer Road resurfacing project planned for summer and fall of 2017 or 2018 by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Klopsch said.

“If we are to consider making a change in the geometry or laning of that roadway, why, we’d obviously want to do it as part of this resurfacing project and not talk about it a year or two after that,” Klopsch said.

About the Author