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New ODOT project adds more than 70 new pedestrian safety upgrades to Toledo streets

The project is focused on making crosswalks safer and more accessible.

TOLEDO, Ohio — ODOT has been working since August on a $1.3 million project focusing on improving walkways and crosswalks.

"We've kind of been shifting our focus and looking at the safety of non-vehicle travelers. That's walkers, that's bicyclists," said ODOT spokesperson Rebecca D'Angelo.

ODOT teamed up with the city of Toledo to complete a list of 76 items to address across the city, such as: repainting traffic lines, adding new pedestrian beacons and improved signage.

D'Angelo says these changes are coming to areas that need it.

"Those have been locations that have been noted as needing improvement for safety and making sure pedestrians can safely cross the road. Because those obviously are in those areas that we've unfortunately seen some tragedies, so we're glad to be able to make those safety improvements," D'Angelo said.

Another major focus of this project is making these walkways more accessible for everyone.

"We want to make sure that individuals have independence and can feel safe navigating the city and through different areas, even if they have a disabilities," said Marisa Bechstein, a transportation planner with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments.

Some of the improvements made include adding ramped curbs for wheelchair access, and installing pedestrian beacons that announce over a speaker when it's safe to stop or walk to assist the blind. 

D'Angelo says these additions come from a mission shift within ODOT and new funding from the state - both focusing on keeping people safe from cars, both on the road and near it.

"It's been pretty transitional the last couple of years, but it's definitely heading in a good direction, having that dedicated funding at a state-wide higher level, but also having community buy-in and communities that want to improve those areas," D'Angelo explained.