City of Dayton seeks to improve active transportation

DAYTON — The city of Dayton is working on a way to make getting around easier.

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The new Active Transportation Plan is focusing primarily on bicycle paths and creates sidewalks to accommodate those who enjoy walking and riding bikes.

The draft of the plan is being finalized while the input was collected during April and May of this year, according to the city’s website.

The recommendations that the city received include filling sidewalk gaps where they do not currently exist, adding bicycle facilities to connect major and everyday destinations, improving safety while biking, and connecting the paths to the regional trail network.

Chief Communications Officer for the city, Toni Bankston said the comprehensive plan and recommendations have helped prioritize what community members want.

“Having a comprehensive plan for our active transportation network, guided by residents, and including prioritized projects, puts the city in a strong position to request, and be successful in securing, the necessary funding for design and construction. The plan also identifies policies and programs that the city can support and work on with community partners with a focus on making it safer, easier, and more fun for people to choose to walk and/or bike,” Bankston said.

Additionally, the recommendations mention making intersections that have a higher risk of a pedestrian or bicycle crash safer.

According to Bankston, recent data from 2017 to 2021 shows that in less than five years there were 522 pedestrian and bike crashes, resulting in 99 serious injuries and 24 deaths in Dayton.

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If approved, people can expect the addition of bike lane signs and sidewalks throughout the city and the surrounding downtown area.

Various community members are excited about this new idea, and Quindara Warren is excited because it adds value to the city.

“It makes the city more exciting, it is just wonderful,” Warren said.

Suzanne Harris, another community member, is all for this change as it allows her to walk her dog on paths closer to home and fulfill her love for biking.

“I’m all for it. I hope they do it. I’m a cycling nut,” Harris said.

Harris is a member of the Dayton Cycling Club but tends to stick to the bicycling paths over street lanes as a safety precaution.

“The bike paths in Dayton are one of the best hidden little treasures that we have,” Harris said.

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When construction starts on the project, abandoned or out-of-service rail lines will be converted to bike paths.

On-street bike lanes could take up different amounts of room depending on the traffic level and number of lanes available per roadway.

The idea of connecting major and everyday destinations is something important to the community members who voiced their recommendations as it allows them to get back and forth without a vehicle.

“I’ll go all the way out to Yellow Springs. Sometimes I go to Xenia and go to Cincinnati. Sometimes I go to Columbus oh and all on a bicycle. I do yeah, I do like 50-plus miles a day,” Harris said.

Even though the project is still in the planning stage, city experts expect it to be completed within one to five years. To explore the potential bike paths and sidewalks, visit Dayton’s Active Transportation Plan.

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