Drivers who enter downtown Dayton from the south will see big changes to major streets the next two years, as the city adds a lane to South Main Street and takes a lane away from Warren Street.
The Main Street project — keeping two lanes in each direction, but adding a center turn lane from Stewart Street, north past Miami Valley Hospital almost to U.S. 35 — will start in 2014 and likely spill over into 2015. It would also repave a notoriously bumpy section of Main.
The 2015 Warren Street project is an extension of the work just finished on Brown Street — turning a four-lane road into three lanes, while adding bike lanes on the outside edge each way, from Wyoming Street north to U.S. 35.
“The idea is to make (Brown/Warren) more of a local street and have the thoroughfares be Main Street and Patterson,” said Steve Finke, the city’s assistant director of public works. “We’ll increase capacity and safety at all the intersections on Main.”
City officials explained the Warren Street plan to a crowd of about three dozen people Tuesday at Coco’s Bistro, with residents of the adjacent South Park neighborhood accounting for most of the discussion.
Residents had two competing concerns — the ability to get into and out of the neighborhood easily from Warren Street, while at the same time discouraging commuters from cutting through their residential neighborhood. The city presented one preliminary option that would connect Adams Street to Warren.
Hilary Browning, vice president of Historic South Park, said she has reservations about that plan, saying Adams Street residents have seen several crashes lately, including one that injured a small child who was walking.
“We see a lot of thru traffic from 35 to get to the hospital and the University of Dayton,” she said. “We need a solution that says you cannot cut through here to get to Warren. You need to use the bigger streets.”
City Commission candidate David Esrati and fellow South Park resident Mary Younger were concerned about a proposal that would eliminate the intersection of Warren and Oak streets, limiting neighborhood access from Warren.
Several other traffic dynamics could come into play on Warren Street. The soon-to-be-constructed Goodwill Easter Seals complex will increase vehicle traffic, and a possible development at the Cliburn Manor site could do the same. The opening of the Southeast Connector bike trail this summer likely will add to bike traffic on Warren. And several residents expressed concern about congestion around Jimmie’s Ladder 11 restaurant because of limited parking and street access.
Finke said the city will weigh feedback from residents and businesses, then hold another public meeting before making final decisions on Warren Street. Those interested in learning about the project or commenting on it can contact engineer Keith Steeber at 333-3838 or email@example.com.