Livingston Ave.: Efforts underway to increase safety in area
In response to recent traffic accidents along East Livingston Avenue, Bexley and Columbus officials say they are stepping up safety initiatives in the area.
From Jan. 1 and Oct. 4, 129 crashes have been reported on East Livingston Avenue from College Avenue on the west, to James Road on the east, with most occurring between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., according to Columbus police records.
“We have had an increase of accidents on Livingston Avenue. It’s been discernible,” Mayor Ben Kessler said during Bexley City Council’s meeting Oct. 13. “There is a clear safety concern on Livingston Avenue. And while the right-of-way of Livingston Avenue is not within the city of Bexley, because we have properties that front on Livingston, I think we have a duty and an obligation to do everything we can to protect the property and lives of our residents.”
According to records, at least one of the accidents along East Livingston Avenue involved a pedestrian being struck, and several involved vehicles crashing into homes or garages.
“If you’ve seen the homes that have been hit, and you’ve seen the type of damage that has been done, nobody should live in fear of that occurring on their properties,” Kessler said.
Kessler said he has been in communication with the Livingston Safety Group, an organization of about 30 residents who live on or near the road.
One of the steps Kessler said he has taken is updating the Joint Livingston Avenue Plan, a collaboration with the city of Columbus that was released in early 2020. The plan calls for the formation of a steering committee to study how to improve the corridor’s safety statistics, streetscape, infrastructure and land-use policies.
Moving forward with the Joint Livingston Avenue Plan is key to improving not only traffic safety but the overall quality of life in the area that borders southwest Bexley, Kessler said.
Because East Livingston Avenue is in Columbus’ jurisdiction, there are limits to the actions Bexley can take.
“We’re talking to Columbus about any ways that we can help them within the bounds of the law, which is limited by the property line and the right-of-way to enforce the law, to curtail speeding on Livingston and bring a safer condition for residents,” Kessler said.
During a conference call Oct. 14 with Livingston Avenue Safety group and other residents, Columbus city officials and police detailed new safety measures planned in the area.
Those measures include increasing motorcycle patrols around Livingston and James between 1 and 6 p.m. and stepping up motorcycle patrols and cruisers along Livingston between James and College. Columbus also will spend $2.83 million to improve the intersection of James and Livingston, including turn lanes and signals, reflective signs and sidewalks with streetlights by fall 2021.
These efforts are being supplemented by a more comprehensive, regional approach to improving traffic safety, said Kerstin Carr, director of planning and sustainability at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
Carr said the Columbus’ Vision Zero initiative is aimed at eliminating crash-related injuries and fatalities throughout the city.
For information about the Joint Livingston Avenue Plan, visit bexley.org. For information about the Vision Zero initiative, visit vision-zero-columbus.hub.arcgis.com.
Columbus Dispatch reporter Mark Ferenchik contributed to this story.