Columbus is adding sidewalks along Cleveland Avenue from state Route 161 to Community Park Drive in an effort to make using bus stops safer.

Columbus is adding sidewalks along Cleveland Avenue from state Route 161 to Community Park Drive in an effort to make using bus stops safer.

In an overall $1.1-million effort, the city began constructing sidewalks along COTA routes last year to allow riders to access the stops more safely, said Mary Carran Webster, assistant director of public service.

"We have a lot of people who walk to the bus stops -- teenagers, children, adults, people with disabilities," Webster said. "We want to make sure that they get there safely."

Work began as the weather warmed this spring, Webster said, and construction on the entire sidewalk project is set to finish in July.

In addition to Cleveland Avenue, sidewalks will be built along Sullivant Avenue, Dodridge Street and Ackerman Road this spring, Webster said. Construction on sidewalks along Georgesville Road began last year and will soon be completed, she said.

On Cleveland Avenue, Webster said the sidewalks being added to both sides of the street total 1.15 miles and will include ramps for pedestrians with disabilities.

"On Cleveland, they're going along both sides, sort of connecting the missing links," she said.

George Hadler, president of the Hadler Companies, which owns Columbus Square, said he is exciting to see the improvements being done by the city in front of the shopping center.

He said with rising gas prices, the company expects more pedestrian traffic to the site, and he said the city's improvements will help pedestrians access the site more safely.

Hadler said his company also is looking at what it can do to increase pedestrian safety in the area.

"We're currently evaluating improvements to make Columbus Square more pedestrian-friendly," he said in an e-mail. "It's challenging, given the layout of the center, but this is too important to ignore."

Webster emphasized that the focus of the sidewalk construction program is to increase pedestrian safety.

"Everything we do is safety-related," she said.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com