So read a headline in the 10-12-10 Plain Dealer. According to the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, from 2007-09, Mentor had 245 car-animal crashes, an average of one insurance claim every 4.5 days. We’re way ahead of second-place Strongsville, which had a measly 180 collisions over the same three-year period.
NOACA further reported that the stretch of Route 2 in Mentor had 78 crashes, the highest total on any route in one community. Again, Strongsville came in second with 52 incidents on I-71.
My own stats: When I lived in Mentor on Melshore Drive during the 60s and 70s, I seldom to never saw a deer in a year’s time. Then I moved to southeast Concord to a home surrounded by acres of woods and occasionally saw deer. In 1996 I decided it really was Better in Mentor and moved back to the northern section of the city.
I was thrilled to see a couple of deer a couple of times a week. We lived in happy coexistence. But around 2005, I began to see several deer a couple times a day. Over the past two years, the herds of 6-8 deer I’d been seeing grew to a steady 12-16 deer seen 2-4 times a day.
Happy coexistence is no longer possible. As I pointed out in earlier postings, the deer are destroying the habitat of both flora and fauna in our parks and nature preserves. Because we’ve wiped out much of their own habitat. Because we wanted the convenience of another strip mall, another lane of highway. Because we replaced nursery acreage with housing developments and pavement.
When I first moved to Mentor, the city was known as the Nursery Capital of the USA. Now we’re the Car-animal Accident Capital of Northeastern Ohio.
Sadly, it is what it is. We are not going to wipe out the developments or tear up the highways. We’ve created a problem that we must solve. And I see it as a problem that won’t be resolved with a win-win solution. Maybe not even a win-lose solution. But I do know that the problem will be and must be solved.
*All animals causing crashes are represented in the totals, but the vast majority of the animals are deer.