When evaluating travel conditions, we look at the amount of traffic traveling on a street compared with the volume of traffic the street was designed to support. We also consider how long it takes to travel from one point to another and other aspects such as distance traveled, condition of the street, and safety hazards. Using congestion information as a reference, streets are also assigned a Level of Service (LOS) rating between A and F. Like a report card in school, LOS A is the best rating (represents highest driver comfort and free flowing traffic conditions) and LOS F is the worst (exhibits the highest levels of driver frustration, excessive delays, and traffic jams).
Our traffic analysis of the NHX study area showed that several primary streets and intersections in the study area currently meet or exceed their capacity, particularly SR 129/High Street. Looking forward 20 to 30 years, it is expected that conditions on these streets will only get worse as the City continues to attract more businesses and develop more attractions.
Travel safety is a concern throughout the study area. Due to poor safety ratings, four area intersections are even ranked among ODOT’s top priorities for urban intersection improvements in their statewide Highway Safety Improvement Program:
SR 129/High Street at 7th Street (ranked 24th)
SR 129/High Street at SR 4 (ranked 31st)
SR 129/High Street at US 127 (ranked 40th)
SR 129/High Street at B Street (ranked 57th)
The travel safety heat map further identifies the locations of past vehicle crashes within the study area. The brighter the color, the more crashes in that area.
Trains crossing streets are also a safety concern for vehicles and pedestrians. Every day, numerous trains pass through downtown neighborhoods and other highly populated areas. These trains back up traffic and sometimes cause drivers and pedestrians to take undue risks out of impatience or inattention. There are 23 locations where trains cross streets in the City, and studies found that street-level (or "at-grade") crossings within the study area are blocked by trains approximately 25% of the day.
Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety
The NHX project considers travel safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Bicyclists have to share lanes with cars in much of the City, and in the recent past, Hamilton has had the state's highest rate of bicycle crashes per population and the third highest pedestrian crash rate per population. Some of these crashes occurred in or near the study area.
Travel between the east and west sides of the City is challenging due to the 23 street-level railroad crossings in the study area and limited space on bridges over the Great Miami River. In fact, SR 129 is the only continuous east-west route through the City of Hamilton that is both unaffected by trains and crosses the Great Miami River. The only other bridge in the study area is the 100-year-old Black Street Bridge, which is often congested due to its two narrow lanes and narrow sidewalks. Within the next 20 years, it’s expected that the bridge will not be large enough to meet growing traffic demands. There have also been 25 crashes at the bridge within the last three years.
Due to these issues, most motorists travel indirect routes to avoid known congestion and problem areas when traveling between the east and west sides of the City. This leads to increased traffic and congestion on secondary roads, increased safety risks to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and longer times traveling from one point to another.
Alternative Modes of Transportation
Within the City of Hamilton, 9.6% of households have no vehicle available and 41.3% have only one vehicle available. The City has made it a goal to encourage alternative modes of transportation to improve mobility and decrease traffic congestion. In addition to expanding opportunities for bicycle/pedestrian users, we’d like to improve and expand public transportation opportunities to connect transit-dependent individuals to jobs.