Hamilton City Council adopts plan to make streets safe for all

‘Sobering’ crash statistics lead city to work on safety plan for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and transit users.

Hamilton City Council has adopted a plan to make the city streets safer for all, and the city will seek state funds to help refine that plan and put some initiatives into action.

“We’re focused on the reduction of serious crashes and the fatalities, but we’re also focused on reducing crashes overall,” said Hamilton Assistant Director of Engineering Allen Messer. “Even though somebody may not have been physically harmed, we all know, we experienced our own crashes, loved ones that have had crashes, how traumatic that can be when you’re in that situation.”

In a recent four-year period, Hamilton had more than a dozen fatal crashes and more than 100 pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

Messer said the idea for Hamilton ACTS is based on the view that every person deserves to be safe as they navigate Hamilton, from pedestrians and cyclists to motorists and transit users.

City Council adopted the Hamilton Applying for Critical Transportation Safety (ACTS) Plan last week, which is the city’s Safe Streets for All Action Plan developed by Hamilton’s Planning and Engineering departments. They plan to refine the plan with grant funding, pending City Council’s approval.

“It applies the safe-system approach, which looks at safety not just at vehicles but for pedestrians,” Messer said.

Hamilton ACTS builds on the city’s existing Active Transportation Plan as well as the input from the North Hamilton Crossing project and discussions and Plan Hamilton, the city’s comprehensive plan, an update for which is expected to be approved later this month.

Additionally, Messer said, the plan says Hamilton is committed to implementing policies and projects that align with Vision Zero, a traffic safety policy that strives to achieve safety for all modes of transportation and no traffic-related loss of life is acceptable.

The plan comes on the heels of what Messer called “sobering” statistics for Hamilton.

From 2018 to 2022, there were 116 pedestrian and bicycle crashes across the city and more than a dozen fatal crashes over that same period. As the city worked to identify where the crashes and fatal accidents happened, it was discovered that nearly 50% of the serious and fatal accidents happened on just 10% of the city’s streets, and 62% of all traffic deaths in the city happened in underserved neighborhoods.

From that same time frame, There were more than 8,800 crashes across the city.

Additionally, Hamilton has ranked poorly with bicycle (No. 1) and pedestrian (No. 3) safety. The city also has four of the top 86 worst urban intersections and two of the top 65 worst urban roadway segments in Ohio.

Mayor Pat Moeller called this plan a “game-changer and a life changer” for neighborhoods, and the city overall.

Council member Susan Vaughn said it’s been beneficial to have residents involved in the plan’s development process, as it’s the “residents that can tell you what’s happening on the streets, where they live.”

“That, I think, has been a really important part of this, not only to talk about the dangerous areas but giving ideas on how to make it safer,” she said. “There have been some great ideas where grant money can be used and I think that’s been extremely beneficial.”

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