Bicycle safety: Bexley continues to seek input on improving residents' rides

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
City of Bexley

The city of Bexley is seeking input from residents on how to enhance bicycle safety before a group that has been studying the issue delivers a final report to Bexley City Council by the end of the year. 

During a virtual public forum Oct. 26, Mayor Ben Kessler and consultant Catherine Girves, a senior planner with Columbus-based transportation firm Toole Design, said the city is completing a planning process that began in January to produce recommendations for improving conditions for cycling. 

“There is overwhelming support for biking in this community,” Girves said. 

Since then, the city has gathered suggestions from 137 participants, including residents as young as elementary school students to adults older than 70. Participants also included avid cyclists, occasional riders, motorists and those who have no interest in bike riding but wanted to offer input, Girves said. 

“These formal interactions have been supplemented by dozens of informal conversations with other folks who live in Bexley and some who travel to and through this community on a regular basis,” she said. 

Throughout the process, Girves said she also tried to incorporate the diversity of the population in and around Bexley. 

“Most of these participants represent white residents of Bexley, although I did engage several black men and women who regularly ride in and through Bexley to hear about their experiences in this community,” she said. 

When asked what’s working well with the current biking infrastructure, participants’ responses included: biking brings economic benefits to Bexley, it’s easy to get anywhere by bike in Bexley, city leaders support bike riding and Bexley drivers tend to be courteous. 

When asked what’s not working well, responses included: poor connectivity, the need for more bike parking, rude drivers and concerns about safety along certain corridors, such as Cassady Avenue, Cassingham Road and Drexel, Roosevelt and E. Livingston avenues. 

Girves said that some survey participants gave conflicting responses. 

“Clearly, people are having different experiences,” she said. “We heard lots of nervousness around crashes. People are very concerned about being hit by cars.” 

Kessler said the city is considering reducing the speed limit from 35 to 25 miles per hour along the Drexel Avenue commercial corridor. 

“Because it’s a state route, it’s limited to 35 (miles per hour) in the residential area,” he said. “We’re looking at options, which include petitioning the state, which is not typically the most successful option, or maybe even relocating the (bicycle route).” 

Girves said she will compile comments from the Oct. 26 forum, a Nov. 1 group bike ride with residents and any additional feedback that residents offer through email and other digital platforms and discuss them Nov. 16 during a meeting with a steering committee that’s overseeing the plan. 

“We’ll edit (the bicycle plan) again and present a final document to Bexley City Council sometime later this year,” Girves said. 

For more information, visit the city’s website at Bexley.org.