I-Team: The Miami Valley’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians

The number of people killed in pedestrian crashes across Ohio reached a 10-year high in 2021, data from the Ohio Department of Transportation and reviewed by the I-Team shows.

ODOT says this is part of an increasingly deadly problem across the Buckeye State over the last two years. The I-Team is looking into where the most dangerous roads for pedestrians are in the Miami Valley and what ODOT is doing to try to reverse the trend.

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Data from ODOT shows there has been a year-to-year increase in the number of deadly pedestrian crashes six-of-the-last 10 years. In fact, since 2012, pedestrian crash deaths in Ohio have risen 46%.

118 people were killed in pedestrian crashes in Ohio in 2012. In 2021, it was 173 people killed in pedestrian crashes across the state. It was the second straight year those deaths increased across Ohio after a jump from 120 in 2019 to 165 in 2020.

The Ohio Department of Transportation tells the I-Team there’s no one reason why this is happening more often, but that more drivers speeding and more Ohioans walking and biking around the state over the last two years are certainly factors.

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“Over the last couple of years, we’ve invested a little over $10 million in specifically pedestrian improvements,” traffic safety engineer with ODOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, Jeremy Thompson said. Thompson told the I-Team the funds were part of the ODOT Pedestrian Safety Improvement Program. The money did not come out of any city budget.

Starting in 2019, ODOT paired with the eight largest cities in the state -- Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, Canton, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown -- to improve pedestrian safety. Those eight cities are where the state sees the most pedestrian crashes. Each of the eight communities got a cut of the $10 million and then worked with the state to identify high-risk spots where they wanted safety improvements for pedestrians around their city. Records obtained by the I-Team show the City of Dayton received $820,000 as a part of the program.

Through the project, ODOT and the City of Dayton worked together to make pedestrian safety improvements at a total of 45 intersections and mid-block crosswalks all over the city.

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Improvements include high-visibility crosswalks that have what Thompson described as “piano key markings” which are parallel to the car travel lanes and “easier to see for (drivers) who are approaching the intersection.”

Other changes include new crosswalk countdown signals, disability accessible curb ramps, and median islands, which Thompson said allows pedestrians to “cross one lane of travel and only worry about one lane of travel first, and then cross the other couple lanes and worry about the other direction. It’s a place for refuge if the pedestrian is travelling a little slower, then they have that time to get across and they can do it in multiple stages.”

Thompson also showed the I-Team some of the new raised curb extensions at the intersection of Second and Ludlow Streets in downtown Dayton.

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“(The curb) was pushed about eight feet inward, the parking lane is basically wide open beforehand,” Thompson said. “What that does, it shortens the crossing distance eight feet each side -- 16 feet (total) -- which is about five seconds of walking time ... it also puts the pedestrian closer to the travel lane to get in the motorist’s peripheral vision as they’re approaching the intersection.”

The changes are ways ODOT says they’re hoping to engineer roads to make them safer and to hopefully save lives.

The I-Team spend hours digging through the state’s online database that plots every pedestrian crash in Ohio reported by law enforcement. The most recent data available shows pedestrian crashes from 2017 through 2019.

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News Center 7 dug through the numbers to uncover the most dangerous roads for pedestrians in the Miami Valley over that three-year stretch. Here’s what we found in some of our communities.

Dayton

  • 263 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along the following roads:

  • Main Street (33)
  • Gettysburg Avenue (15)
  • Third Street (13)
  • Salem Avenue (12)
  • Smithville Road (11)
  • Wayne Avenue (12)

Springfield

  • 74 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Main Street (8)
  • Limestone Street (8)
  • Belmont Avenue (5)
  • Columbia Street (5)

Huber Heights

  • 28 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Troy Pike (7)
  • Brandt Pike (7)

Miami Township

  • 22 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Springboro Pike (8)
  • Alex Bell Road (4)
  • Kingsridge Drive (4)

Miamisburg

  • 16 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Springboro Pike (3)
  • Main Street (2)
  • Central Avenue (2)
  • Linden Avenue (2)

Kettering

  • 21 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Wilmington Pike (5)

Trotwood

  • 20 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Shiloh Springs Road (4)
  • Salem Avenue (3)
  • Main Street (3)

Fairborn

  • 18 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Maple Avenue (3)
  • Broad Street (2)
  • Central Avenue (2)

Xenia

  • -8 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Main Street (6)

Beavercreek

  • 17 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Roads on The Greene’s property (one each reported along Chestnut Street, Greene Boulevard and Walnut Street).
  • Dayton-Xenia Road (2)

Centerville

  • 8 total pedestrian crashes reported from 2017-19.

The most crashes were reported along:

  • Main Street (3)

You can search the database yourself right here on ODOT’s website. Just click on “projects,” and then “pedestrian crashes (2017-19)” under the “layers” tab on the left side of the screen.