A joint effort between the cities of Bexley and Columbus to study ways to improve the East Livingston Avenue corridor is in the works for 2020, Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said.
A draft of the Joint Livingston Avenue Plan calls for the formation of a steering committee to study ways to improve the corridor's streetscape, infrastructure, safety statistics and land-use policies.
"It is a really important project for us for a couple of different reasons: Livingston Avenue is our southern border, but it is not in Bexley, including the sidewalk from the north side to the south is all Columbus right of way," Kessler said when he unveiled the draft at council's Jan. 14 meeting.
"Which means while it greatly impacts the community of both Bexley and Berwick, it is entirely under the control of the city of Columbus."
Kessler said during a meeting with Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther in early January, the two agreed that the municipalities working together to improve Livingston Avenue could accomplish goals that include "making it a safer corridor for travel, both for motorists and pedestrians, making it unified from a zoning perspective (and) looking at streetscape enhancements in a way that really reflects the quality communities of Berwick and Bexley."
Kessler said improving East Livingston Avenue is also a key component of redeveloping the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place neighborhood and other areas in south Bexley, where the Schneider Park athletics fields are scheduled to open in the spring.
Bexley council member Richard Sharp suggested the Joint Livingston Avenue Plan, which addresses an area bounded by Alum Creek Drive on the west and Kenwick Road on the east, should be extended to the railroad tracks just west of Alum Creek Drive.
"When people get off the downtown exits and they come off Alum Creek (Drive) onto Livingston, that whole area is an entryway to Bexley and to the Driving Park area," Sharp said.
City of Columbus spokesperson Robin Davis said Ginther's administration plans to meet with Bexley officials in the coming months to begin finalizing the Joint Livingston Avenue Plan.
"Mayor Ginther is committed to regional, collaborative approaches to development and transformation," Davis said in an email.
"We are in the very beginning stages of drafting a plan. Our departments will be meeting to discuss next steps."