Fairborn pedestrian crossing to be updated


FAIRBORN — The pedestrian crossing at West Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road and Sports Street will be updated and modernized in the coming months.

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the city will install rectangular rapid flashing beacons at the existing crosswalks, replacing what City Engineer Lee Harris called an “antiquated style of crossing” that doesn’t meet current standards.

The crossing connects two Ali Industries buildings on either side of West Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road.

“They frequently have people traveling back and forth between the two buildings,” Harris said.

Rectangular rapid flashing beacons have already been installed in other parts of the area and the installation will not cause any traffic issues.

“This is kind of almost a perfect fit where we can replace that aging infrastructure with something that matches the corridor as well,” Harris said.

The grant will cover the cost of equipment while the city will cover the labor. Once it’s approved by city council, the project should take about three to four months, Harris said. The beacons will be solar-powered, he added.

The Fairborn project is one of many being funded through the $51 million program, which focuses on specifically addressing an increase in pedestrian-involved traffic crashes and fatal roadway departures on state and local roads. It’s part of Gov. Mike DeWine’s comprehensive plan to improve the safety of Ohio’s roads.

According to ODOT, fatal crashes involving pedestrians and roadway departures both hit their highest levels in 2021 when compared to the previous decade.

“This is a serious problem, and we certainly believe that distracted driving is contributing to this alarming increase in pedestrian-involved and roadway departure crashes,” DeWine said in a release. “The funding we’re awarding … most of which is going to local governments, will be used to make the physical changes needed to help prevent crashes but a cultural change around distracted driving is needed as well. I continue to encourage members of the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation to put more restrictions around mobile device usage while driving to make it clear that distracted driving won’t be tolerated in Ohio.”

The funding will go toward 44 roadway safety projects in 32 counties. Nearly $30 million, or 58 percent, will be awarded to local governments in municipalities, townships, and counties for projects under their jurisdictions. The remaining funds will be used for projects on ODOT-maintained roads and highways.

“Gov. DeWine has always challenged us to be bold and creative as we work to address the rise in traffic-related fatalities. I believe this is both. A goal we share with our partners in local government is significantly reducing deaths on Ohio roads, so we must work together to get there,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

Funding for these projects will be awarded through ODOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program which, under the DeWine-Husted administration, has grown to become one of the largest traffic safety programs in the country. The program invests $158 million annually into safety projects, education, and training to make transportation in Ohio safer.

In 2019, DeWine directed ODOT to put focus on improving 150 of the most dangerous intersections in the state. Earlier this year he partnered with Kentucky to jointly pursue up to $2 billion in federal funding to address traffic backups and safety issues on the Brent Spence Bridge. He also announced an increase in Ohio’s yearly funding allocation for local bridge projects by $47.5 million for the next five years.

To help address unintentional motor vehicle crashes, which are one of the leading causes of death for teenagers and young adults in Ohio, DeWine also launched the “Ready, Test, Drive!” virtual driver assessment program to more accurately assess new drivers’ road readiness and help identify skills needing improvement. In 2020, DeWine formed the Ohio Traffic Safety Council to coordinate and monitor all statewide safety initiatives, launched a new work zone traffic enforcement plan in coordination with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and awarded grants to juvenile courts to help them give young drivers more access to advanced driver training.

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

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