Are you sick of almost being hit by traffic while walking across High Street to class?
The public is invited to review and comment on a new proposal to re-route traffic on U.S. Route 27 to avoid Miami University’s campus and the uptown portion of High Street.
An open house is being held by the City of Oxford and the Ohio Department of Transportation from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20 in the Talawanda High School auditorium.
“The city has been wanting to do this for a long time,” said Jay Hamilton, traffic planning engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
He said the city is looking at a couple options for the re-route.
Trucks currently take Patterson Avenue to High Street, a high pedestrian area. The study involves looking at running truck traffic down Chestnut Street and then onto Main Street or Locust Street to reconnect with Route 27.
Doug Elliott, Oxford city manager, said the study came about through a northwest Butler County transportation study that was looking at connecting Route 27 with Ohio Route 73.
In 2008, however, it was decided the city would look at re-routing instead of connecting the two highways.
“Two resolutions were drawn up in 2008,” Elliott said. “One requests re-routing be evaluated for pedestrian safety and traffic flow. The other expands the study area and states that a connector between the two highways should only be considered if the safety study indicates necessary.”
The objective is to improve pedestrian safety on High Street, Hamilton said.
According to Elliott, 30 percent of traffic in Oxford is traffic that travels through the city and continues outside it. The other 70 percent comes to Oxford for the benefit of the local shops and stores.
“High Street has an average of 10,000 vehicles a day travel down it,” Elliott said. “At peak hours, 2,500 pedestrians cross at Campus and High streets and there are 460 crossing at Main and High streets. There are only 60 crossing at Locust Street, which means that re-routing traffic there could be generally safer for pedestrians and vehicles.”
The project is estimated to cost between $2 million and $5 million for intersection improvement, road widening and sidewalk installation. Federal earmarks will pay for most of this project, but additional funding will be needed, Elliott said.
“There are several options for the funding,” Hamilton said. “We would seek federal and state funding through OKI (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments) or Ohio Public Works.”
The timeline for the project has not been determined, Elliott said. After the Jan. 20 meeting, the study will be determined and finalized. If the study finds that the re-route is necessary, the next step is receiving the funding.
“The pro is that traffic will be out of pedestrian areas,” Hamilton said. “The con is that this project could change traffic patterns and there will be more traffic on the new route streets.”
Miami junior Nicole Brown said the re-route would be beneficial to the students of the university.
“I hate walking down the sidewalks of High Street and smelling truck fumes as they drive by,” she said. “Also, I can never tell if they are going to stop or not at the crosswalks. It would be better if we didn’t have to deal with them at all.”