The city of Delaware is developing a safety action plan as part of a free service offered by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, and during Monday’s meeting of Delaware City Council, Deputy City Engineer Jonathan Owen presented an update on the city’s efforts.

City Council approved participation in the program earlier this year. A task force of more than 20 people was then developed, bringing additional community input to the plan from various stakeholders. The Ohio Department of Transportation requires “an official public commitment by a high-ranking official and/or governing body to an eventual goal of zero roadway fatalities and serious injuries” in order to qualify as a safety action plan.

The plan must include a target date for achieving zero roadway fatalities and serious injuries or an ambitious percentage reduction of roadway fatalities and serious injuries by a specific date with an eventual goal of eliminating roadway fatalities and serious injuries.

“The reason we’re doing this, the reason we started thinking about this, is because it’s a requirement in order to be eligible to pursue (a portion of) $1 billion annually in federal grant money for safety projects that will be available for the next couple of years,” Owen told the council. “This plan has to be in place to be eligible to submit a project for that funding source.”

Owen added that the reason for the update on Monday is that council will need to adopt the plan once it’s finished “a few months from now.”

Goals for the safety plan include gaining a better understanding of what should be prioritized to improve safety in the city, developing action items to address those needs, identifying the best use of the existing safety funding that is generated by the $5 license fee currently in place, and to identify the safety improvements eligible for the state and federal funding.

According to Owen, there were 3,681 total crashes in Delaware from 2017-21, eight of which were fatal. There were a total of 12 non-motorized fatalities and serious injuries over that same span. “These aren’t your everyday fender benders; we want to make sure we’re addressing the more serious injuries,” Owen said.

The next steps for the plan include a second stakeholder meeting, which is scheduled for July 2, as well as a public survey that will be available on the city website in July. Once the plan is finalized and potentially adopted by the council this fall, Owen said the final step is simply to utilize the plan to guide decisions on how to best upgrade the safety of the community on roadways moving forward.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.