January 24, 2024

The South Park stretch of Wayne Avenue has a reputation for being an unsafe and uncomfortable street for pedestrians and motorists alike.

In recent years, conditions have worsened along this half mile of Wayne, from Wyoming to Keowee. Area residents have seen speeding and reckless driving increase, injuring people and damaging vehicles and businesses along this narrow historic business corridor.

A Pedestrian Fatality Leads to Action

On December 28th, 2022, a speeding driver lost control of his vehicle and killed Jennifer Johnson, an innocent pedestrian standing on the corner of Clover and Wayne Avenue.

This needless death galvanized many residents of the South Park neighborhood to demand action from the City of Dayton. In early 2023, the neighborhood and the city made the first steps toward improved safety, most notably the installation of a mobile speed camera that clocked an alarming number of speeding vehicles: approximately 7,000 violations a month when it was first installed in March 2023.

The Wayne Avenue Traffic Safety Coalition (WATSC) was founded to bring more voices to the table. WATSC consists of a small working group of citizens and a broader coalition of at-large activists who wish to see road safety improvements along Wayne Avenue.

As its first action, the WATSC small group collected signatures for a letter writing campaign to the city. Armed with over 20 signers from area neighborhood associations, local businesses, and nonprofits to champion permanent changes on Wayne, WATSC sent its first letter to the Dayton city commission in August of 2023 and followed up with an in-person presentation at a commission meeting two weeks later. Those actions prompted monthly meetings with the city staff, planners and traffic engineers to discuss workable short and long-term safety improvements to the corridor.

While WATSC is making progress for the South Park stretch of Wayne Avenue, there are already funded improvements for sections of Wayne to the north and south of us that we’d like you to be aware of.

To the South of South Park – Wayne Avenue will become wider

  • Wayne Avenue Widening Project – Spring 2024. From Waldo Street (near Esther Price) to Wyoming Street, Dayton will add 10 feet of width to Wayne Avenue to create a two-way left turn lane to take left turning cars out of four travel lanes to prevent rear end accidents. Between Kroger and Walgreens, they will add a mid-block crossing with a refuge island for pedestrians who routinely cross mid-block between those retailers.

 To the North of South Park – Wayne Avenue will become slower

  • Wayne Avenue Traffic Calming Project – Summer 2025. From Bainbridge Street (one block north of 35 and the beginning of the Oregon District) to Fifth Street, the city will add traffic calming elements such as bump outs. They’ll repair broken curbs, walks, curb ramps, driveways and add more pedestrian lighting.

The Outlook for South Park’s section of Wayne: A 5 Year Plan

 Long-term, WATSC is asking for a partial redesign of the South Park section of Wayne, from Wyoming to Hwy 35, with features proven to slow traffic, make the corridor safer for everyone, and help our neighborhood businesses prosper. Short-term, we’re asking for additional pedestrian safety measures.


The City of Dayton has agreed to pursue these solutions to begin in 2025:

The city will seek funding to support a traffic project for Wayne between Bainbridge (the start of the Oregon District) and Wyoming Street (our southern border).

Before they seek this funding, the city has requested Local Safety Study assistance from the State of Ohio for the Wayne Avenue corridor from Bainbridge Avenue to Wyoming Street.

This study will help us develop a plan to address the safety issues for all who use this roadway. The study will begin in February 2025.

Through the development of a safety plan for this corridor, the city intends to pursue Highway Safety Improvement Program Systemic Safety Funding from the State of Ohio  that has a January 2025 application deadline.

It’s important to know that once funding is received, a new road redesign project cannot begin construction for four or five years.


What can we do in the meantime?

WATSC has asked the city to consider crosswalk safety enhancements, speed cushions or speed tables to help slow traffic. We’ve also asked that the speed limit be lowered for the Historic South Park business district on Wayne from the current 35 to 25 mph and the city is considering additional solutions.

We’re here for the long-term. If you’d like to join us, reach out.

The Wayne Ave Traffic Safety Coalition (WATSC) is a group of concerned neighborhood associations, local businesses and public agencies and neighbors who wish to see road safety improvements along Wayne Avenue. We seek traffic calming street design techniques to save lives and bring prosperity to the businesses along our pedestrian-oriented stretch of Wayne Avenue.

If you have questions, or would like to get involved, email [email protected].