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Safety on Dorr Street

By Casey Cheap
On February 24, 2011

Though the UT Foundation and Fairmount properties have elaborate plans to make the corner of Secor and Dorr Street into an "Ann Arbor-style" college town, severe safety issues of Dorr still have to be addressed.

If approved, several new improvements to the road could be instituted in the next couple of years, including an additional turn lane, pedestrian crosswalks and possibly a lower speed limit.

According to a study done by Rich Martinko, director of the university transportation center and intermodal transportation institute, there were more than 100 traffic accidents at both the intersections of Secor and Dorr, and Byrne and Dorr in the same two-year period.

There were 706 traffic accidents on Dorr between Upton and Byrne from 2006 to 2008, a large majority of them happening at intersections.

These include automobile collisions, pedestrian collisions and motorcycle collisions, but most crashes were two car accidents occurring with drivers going under 20 mph.

The intersection of Dorr and Secor, where the new college town setup is supposed to be built, had the most crashes from 2006 to 2008 of any other Dorr intersection with 187 collisions.

Martinko said the ideas to improve safety are still only proposals and nothing is set in stone.

"I want to make it clear that the proposed countermeasures are a draft only," Martinko said. "These are not in any way approved or final. A public involvement process will be a major part of the decisions."

Martinko said the city of Toledo will get the money for the project and not UT, because Dorr Street is the city's responsibility, though Martinko did receive a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to perform the study.

"In addition to the $4.4 million we got from the Ohio Department of Transportation for the safety project, additional funding ($1.7 million) through the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments for the Douglas-Dorr intersection project was approved," Martinko said. "This most likely will be completed between 2014 and 2016."

The study included the stretch of Dorr Street between North Byrne Road and Upton Avenue and was conducted over a two-year period.

"The total Douglas-Dorr project cost is estimated to be $1.7 million with $1.1 million coming from funds through TMACOG, and the remaining $655 thousand coming from city funds," Martinko said. "This brings the transportation improvements for this Dorr Street corridor to around $6.2 million."

The proposed safety improvement project on Dorr Street is a joint venture between UT and the city of Toledo, according to Student Government President Matt Rubin.

"There would be smart technology in the traffic lights and possibly roundabouts as well," Rubin said.

"If Dorr Street is developed into a nicer area, it will make for a more pedestrian-friendly campus."

Karen Gallagher, bike friendly campus initiative director, said this could help SG see their vision for more bike transportation at UT come true.

"The improvements they make should calm traffic and make the Dorr-Secor area much safer and appealing for pedestrian travelers," Gallagher, said. "It's encouraging for bike initiatives on campus because it demonstrates there is a need to make our campus community more welcoming for pedestrian and bicycle travel."

Some of the solutions to the traffic issues on Dorr might include putting roundabouts at the intersections of Dorr and Parkside, and Dorr and Upton.

Traffic signals would also be removed and video detection would be added.

There also might be "bump outs" on certain corners at intersections for the purpose of "defining parking areas, shortening crossing distances and calming overall traffic," according to the study.

Improvements from Byrne to Secor would be adding a "pedestrian center and raised crosswalk" at the intersections of Dorr and Secor, and Dorr and Byrne.

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