HAMILTON, Ohio — According to a report released by the Ohio Department of Transportation, Hamilton is one of the most dangerous cities in the state to walk or ride a bike. City officials are making a plan to address those safety issues.
“I walk every day. I have a dog. That helps me get out,” Hamilton resident Kristina Latta-Landefeld said.
A resident for the past four years, Latta-Landefeld said she chooses to walk instead of riding her bike due to safety concerns.
“Honestly, I’d bike to work if it was a little safer,” she said. “I’m about five miles away from there. My office is still in Hamilton. I’ve done it a couple of times, and it’s a little scary.”
By population, Hamilton ranks worst in the state for deadly and serious pedestrian accidents and the third worst city for pedestrian accidents, according to an ODOT report.
“I’ll tell you a story that happened to me this morning; the driver was looking left if she could make the right turn,” Latta-Landefeld said. “I decided not to go. I could tell she was going to go. I’m glad I did. She was going to hit me.”
Hamilton planning director Liz Hayden said she was shocked at the city’s ranking on the state’s report.
“We have a lot of sidewalks, we have a lot of infrastructure in place,” Hayden said. “It just goes to show why this is so important.”
She said the Hamilton Active Transportation Plan is all about making connections and improvements.
“Pedestrian infrastructure is here,” Hayden said. “Improving on it and finishing the gaps.”
New sidewalks where none exist currently along with finishing the Great Miami River Recreational Trail are part of the idea.
“How great would that be for our residents to go from Cincinnati to Dayton, but also how great would it be for Hamilton if regionally, people could use the trail, stop downtown.”
Other changes, like dedicated bike lanes, could be on the way as well. The ultimate goal is safety for residents.
“The biggest thing I’ve noticed about walking every day is that it builds community,” Latta-Landefeld said. “It’s one thing for me to get out and walk every day. If it means more of my neighbors can safely get out, walk and we can connect in that way — that’s wonderful.”