Users of the Simon Kenton Trail will benefit from $525,000 in funds awarded to the city of Urbana from the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The funds will be used for installation of two enhanced multi-use trail crossings along Miami Street and North Main Street. ODOT has determined the installations at the two Urbana locations are a “proven safety countermeasure” providing “enhanced crossings at high-activity locations.”
The funds are part of a total investment of $51 million into new traffic safety improvement projects to specifically address an increase in pedestrian-involved traffic crashes and fatal roadway departures on state and local roads. (See related story in today’s edition.)
According to ODOT, fatal crashes involving pedestrians and roadway departures both hit their highest levels in 2021 when compared to the previous decade.
Construction timelines vary for each project; some projects may begin as soon as this year. Officials with the city of Urbana anticipate that it will take several years to start construction of the project.
At the earliest, the city would begin construction in 2025. The goal is to complete construction of this project prior to the planned resurfacing of North Main Street from Washington Avenue to the northern corporation limit.
According to a project summary submitted to the state by the city of Urbana when applying for the grant funding, in August 2019, an ODOT abbreviated safety study (ODOT PID #110294) was completed for bike trail crossings along the Simon Kenton Trail that cross major U.S. routes within the city. The abbreviated safety study noted 10,189 vehicles per day on Miami Street and 12,714 vehicles per day on North Main Street.
Trail counts at these crossing locations were collected as part of this study with as many as 20-24 pedestrians/bicyclists per hour at the daily peak at Miami Street and 5-16 pedestrians/bicyclists per hour at the daily peak at North Main Street. Recent trail count data from Logan-Union-Champaign (LUC Regional Planning Commission) data counters near these crossing locations indicate 36-52 users per day (near Miami Street crossing) and 45-55 users per day (near North Main Street crossing) when divided throughout the year and accounting for seasonality.
Champaign County, specifically Urbana, is one of 32 counties awarded funding in this round of safety improvement projects.
“Governor (Mike) 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.