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Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 5, construction will begin on a new ten-foot-wide multi-modal bike and pedestrian path that will replace the existing four-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side of Dayton Street — running from East Enon Road to Stafford Street. (Map data courtesy of the Village of Yellow Springs)

Multi-modal pathway construction, intersection narrowing work to begin

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Villagers will soon have an easier and safer time walking down some of Yellow Springs’ most trafficked throughways.

Starting Tuesday, Sept. 5, construction will begin on a new “multi-modal” pathway along Dayton Street. The path is set to be a 10-foot strip of asphalt that will replace the existing four-foot sidewalk on Dayton Street, and will run from the East Enon Road intersection all the way to the Stafford Street intersection.

As a multi-modal path, it will allow for pedestrians, cyclists and skaters.

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Additionally, the construction project will involve the narrowing of both Dayton Street and Xenia Avenue at several key intersections. “Bump-outs,” or curb extensions, will be installed on Dayton Street where it intersects with King, High, Stafford and Winter streets.

At each of those intersections, Dayton Street will narrow up to 10 feet — a change Village Public Works Director and soon-to-be Interim Village Manager Johnnie Burns believes will significantly reduce traffic speeds of vehicles coming into Yellow Springs from the west.

“That’s the goal: just slowing drivers down,” Burns said in a recent interview.

Another set of bump-outs will be installed at the intersection of Xenia Avenue and Davis Street, adjacent to the Yellow Springs Community Library.

Several intersections along Dayton Street and Xenia Avenue will become narrower, following the installation of curb “bump-outs.” Shown here is a rendering of the narrowed intersection of King and Dayton streets. (Map data courtesy of the Village of Yellow Springs)

At the intersections of Winter and Dayton streets, as well as where the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail crosses Xenia Avenue — just north of Bentino’s Pizza and Peach’s Grill — rapid-flashing beacons will be installed. Similar to the beacons at the downtown crosswalks on Xenia Avenue, cyclists and pedestrians will be expected to press a button to notify drivers they are crossing.

“Semi trucks come flying into downtown Yellow Springs on 68, and I think a more narrow crossing and a beacon along the bike path will be a new choke point to slow them down,” Burns said.

The entire project — of building the multi-modal pathway, installing the five bump-outs and erecting the new sets of rapid-flashing beacons — is scheduled to be completed by May 1, 2024.

The cost of the whole endeavor is $1.8 million dollars, but as Burns said, it’s entirely funded through an Ohio Department of Transportation, or ODOT, grant he and former Planning and Zoning Administrator Denise Swinger submitted in 2019.

“This is a plan we’ve been working on for three years,” Burns said. “I don’t think it’s going to solve all the village’s problems with speeding, but this is a good start.”

“And the Village — and taxpayers — aren’t paying a single dime,” he added.

Beyond the reduction of traffic speeds coming into and going out of the village, as well as safer crosswalks, Burns said local residents won’t see many changes or experience any major inconveniences over the course of the eight-month-long construction process. The affected roads will remain two lanes during and after construction.

When construction begins Sept. 5, Burns said crews will likely work Monday–Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 or 5 p.m. each day. Work will cease when weather becomes too inclement later this year, and will resume in early spring.

Fall Street Fair, scheduled Saturday, Oct. 14, will not be affected by construction.

Crews working on the project are from ODOT-certified and Vandalia-based contracting company R.B. Jergens, who will be overseen by Village Streets/Parks/Sewer Foreman Tanner Bussey. Crews will keep their trucks and equipment on the land adjacent to Cresco Labs on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road.

Although Burns and Swinger began their efforts three years ago to bring these traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures to fruition, Burns nevertheless sees the multi-modal pathway and bump-outs as a couple ways in which the Village is acknowledging the ongoing local concerns about traffic within the municipality.

Burns said he and the local administration, as well as Village Council members, will continue to pursue opportunities to slow traffic and make local roads safer for walkers and cyclists — perhaps, Burns said, creating an additional sidewalk on East Enon Road to fully connect the new pathway to the middle and high schools, as well as building out sidewalks on Polecat Road and Fairfield Pike.

“For now, one thing at a time,” Burns said.

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