Fairfield seeks to make roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists

City had more than 3,200 crashes in three years with 875 injuries and four deaths, according to data.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Fairfield is seeking financial assistance as the city continues a mission to have safer streets for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

City Council agreed to seek a $120,000 Safe Streets and Roads for All grant to help develop a comprehensive safety action plan, which requires a $30,000 local match by the city.

“Our city is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all road users, and this grant opportunity perfectly aligns with our goals,” said Public Works Director Ben Mann, adding that funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation will help formulate the action plan that features well‐defined projects and strategies intended to prevent roadway fatalities and serious injuries.

The Ohio Department of Transportation GIS Crash Analysis Tool showed there were more than 3,200 crashes in Fairfield between 2021 and 2023, which includes four fatalities and 875 injuries.

According to the city, a significant majority (about 65%) of the total crashes were categorized as rear‐end, angle or sideswipe crashes. The leading contributing factors were vehicles following too closely and failure to yield by motorists.

There were 29 crashes that involved vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, 26 of which led to injuries.

Fairfield’s connectivity to major highways, Interstate 275, Ohio 4, and U.S. 127, offers immediate access to regional transportation networks. However, they pose safety risks with increased accessibility and traffic volume during peak travel times, contributing to heightened congestion levels, thus amplifying the risk of crashes due to slower and erratic traffic flow.

The proximity of major highways also attracts heavy commercial vehicles, and due to their size, weight and limited maneuverability, also pose safety hazards. A city analysis from the Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool found that between 2017 and 2021, Fairfield had seven fatalities resulting from crashes in the city.

Mann said the pressing roadway safety challenges in the city demand immediate attention. It will take about a year to develop the plan, and would essentially be used as a master traffic plan focusing on pedestrian safety.

The investment in this plan could also be leveraged to fund additional projects.

“It could help us develop some preliminary engineering and cost estimates for feasible projects that we can use to apply for a variety of grant opportunities,” Mann said.

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