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High-Tech System Could Help Prevent Deer Collisions

City will decide if it should join pilot program aimed at preventing deer collisions.

have taken a first step in possibly curbing animal-vehicle crashes in the city, listening to a presentation by Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) representatives Aug. 21.

NOACA Senior Transportation Planner Sara Byrnes Maier and Transportation Engineer Sahar Tawfiq broke down crashes involving deer in the city by time of day, light, month and location of the crashes, and provided information on mitigation options if the city applied for, and was accepted, into a NOACA pilot program.

Mentor opted last year to consider the program which could cost the city as little as 20 percent of total project costs or nothing, if it goes through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Mentor has not yet implemented a system.

The city would need to agree to file an application, and then be accepted by ODOT.

If approved, the city could implement several different methods to try to reduce collisions.

There were 62  animal-vehicle collisions in the city from 2007-09 and 83 from 2009 – 11, with most collisions on Walker Road, Lake Road and SR 83. Tawfiq noted most collisions occurred at night.

Systems could include animal warning systems or driver warning systems.

Animal warning systems are usually activate by headlights. Once a vehicle is detected, animals are alerted by audio and visual signals from stations placed in the right-of-way.

In driver warning systems, road-side animal detections systems (RADS) consist of two parts—a sensor for animal detection and a warning signal to alert drivers after a detection has occurred.

Seasonal deer crossing signs are also an option.

If Avon Lake applied and is accepted, the city would determine where the systems would be located, and on what roads. ODOT requested that if accepted, the city would remain in the pilot program for a minimum of three years to allow for sufficient data to be collected and let the state determine if the program is effective.

The pilot program is not related to the culling option that has been discussed.

“This is completely separate from deer or herd reduction (culling),” Kos said. “

“The ultimate goal is to make the community safer.”

Kos learned of the program earlier in the year and asked for NOACA members to speak to council.

Councilman Larry Meiners expressed some skepticism, noting there aren’t any other local cities using the system to ask of effectiveness.

“A pilot program is like a guinea pig,” Meiners said. “I would wish this is as good as you said it is.”

To determine effectiveness, ODOT would review crash numbers before and after a pilot program was instituted.

The city could also request a nighttime infrared aerial study to get a more exact number of how many deer are in Avon Lake.

Byrnes Maier said no other infrared studies have been paid for by the state, but it could still be requested.

Councilman Rob James said he would expect the city would be accepted into the program if it applied. He said city council would be deciding within the next few weeks if it will apply. 

AvonLaker1234 August 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM
The reality is Bambi needs to go. People moan about killing (via hunting) is wrong. But what's the alternative - keep letting the population go unchecked till they starve or we have more accidents? The only predator deer have now is your/my car. If the save the deer wackos truly want to restore balance the reintroduce the deer natural predators (wolves, etc). Avon Lake is not a petting zoo and we need to get rid of these oversized rats.
Jeff August 21, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Lucky this hasn't happened here yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg6yzKQPL1I
M Flannery August 21, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Yes lets introduce the wolf back into the area, wonderful idea!
Laurie August 21, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I would so put an arrow through the heart of that deer if it attacked my dog like that. Unbelievable.
Nick B. Fernando August 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I couldn't agree more. There is no reason to have these dangerous animals running around our town. They serve absolutely no purpose other than cause accidents and increasing insurance rates. Our society has advanced beyond the need for these creatures and it's time we just allow the hunters of the town to clear them out once and for all!
Curtis Weems August 21, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Another pinheaded idea to waste taxpayer money to complicate a problem that is otherwise very simple to resolve. Mr. Kos’ resistance is unfounded and reflects his lack of knowledge if it is based on the idea that using bows to cull the deer is a safety risk. Politician like Mr. Kos do a dis-service to the community because they are not informed and/or to often act with their emotions and not their head.
David Kos August 21, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Mr. Weems, I believe you missed some key points in the article. I am quoted as saying this pilot study is separate from the culling issue. As for tax payer dollars, ODOT will be funding 100% of the program if we are approved. If Avon Lake does not participate in this study another community will step in and receive those safety funds. What is the downside to installing high tech equipment that will no doubt make the community and our streets safer? I welcome you to contact me if you have further questions on this issue. My number 930-7737 and my email address is dkos@avonlake.org
Dave August 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Seems to me the problem was well explained with the only predator the deer have is our cars. Introducing another predator (wolf!) is clearly not an option. Controlled bow hunting on a prudent scale IS the most logical answer. (my opinion only). Also the logic of "if we don't use it someone else will" is a huge issue with today's society ... Those dollars arn't unlimited, although some seem to think they are.
David Dibbell August 21, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I don't understand the hatred for these beautiful animals but, as with all things in the public arena, a balanced approach to resolving the issue is likely the best. That would include the proposed collision avoidance trial along with a number of steps to get the deer population sized to the available habitat.
Jeff August 21, 2012 at 05:23 PM
This comment resonates with me very well! All the collision avoidance in the world isn't going to completely solve the problems with the deer, but hunting won't be a 100% solution by itself either. Please follow both courses of action (making the streets safer for cars, and bringing the deer population down to sustainable levels).
Curtis Weems August 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Mr Kos, as Dave so well stated above, the issue is not "if we don't use it someone else will” but the issue you are talking about taxpayer money regardless if the money is coming from ODOT or AL City funds – it’s taxpayer money. This attitude is emblematic why governments at any level can run amuck. The solution is not alarms and sensors rather it’s Avon Lake has too many deer for the amount of area that can adequately support them. The answer is not costly alarms and sensors as you have suggested because in 6 years statistically the deer population will have doubled without intervention. The most simple and most cost effective way to improve public safety and to do the right thing about the deer herd is to cull them by bow. Even if the city was full of sensors, there is no way you can predict where and when deer will emerge from a road side. While there is certainly a public safety issue to consider, there is a wildlife management issue as to what is appropriate for the deer. Having a deer population that has to roam all over neighborhoods to forge on food stocks not suitable for them is not only a public safety, health and property damage issue but it is inhumane. Deer are being killed and maimed now; they will eventually if not already incur disease, mutations and starvations. We have a serious deer problem in Avon Lake and if can only get worse without doing the right thing to reduce the herd.
David Kos August 21, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Mr. Weems, thank you for the reply. This pilot is an important piece to the overall puzzle and not the solution deer issue. Bottom line is that if implemented it will reduce accidents and improve public safety. I would like to speak with you about this issue outside of this forum. You make some fine points and I think you may be surprised that there is some common ground on this issue. Could you email me your phone number (or call me) and perhaps we can discuss this matter further? I look forward to speaking with you.
AvonLaker1234 August 21, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Instead of bow and arrow...why not use rifles as they are quick to kill? If noise is a concern cab silencers be used?
AvonLaker1234 August 21, 2012 at 07:08 PM
In the wild...dogs (wild ones) will eat new born or feeble deer. Perhaps we can introduce wild dogs too since no one wants to hunt the "pretty" deer here? Also, anyone know where I can get a "please hunt here" sign for my yard?
Jen G August 22, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I'm not sure how to respond to these comments....how does one respond to stupidity?? Unreal
Kimber Malloy August 22, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I'm not sure where "ALL" these people are that want the deer to stay, fact is there is waaaaay too many and everyone, and i mean EVERYONE i know or talk to agrees that getting rid of them is only answer. Yea i see the 50 or so red signs that are deer lovers, what about the rest of us? shoot them, trap them, anything to get rid of them!! Again, they were here first i know-guess what? i and rest of you for and against are not leaving so the deer have to go!
Dave August 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM
My guess is the outcome for the "high tech" issue won't be an active OR passive system it will be the third option that is mentioned --deer signs! Now there's a plan...like we are surprised when 5 - 6 deer cross Jaycox rd. (smacks forehead with palm of hand)
Kathleen O'Brien Wilhelm October 11, 2012 at 03:50 PM
We do not need bleeding hearts--we need deer off our roads, out of our gardens and gone! Deer ticks and all other destruction caused by deer can be prevented with wolves and culling. Council needs to do the job and get it done. Hunting is the answer, and so is culling. Get a backbone council.

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