College Avenue residents schooled in realities of traffic enforc

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Messenger photo by John Matuszak
Bexley Mayor David Madison and Police Chief Larry Rinehart are ready to hit the road on the police department’s new $800 mountain bike, donated by Fifth Third Bank. The bank donated the $800 bike after the new chief commented that their fleet was getting worn out. Rinehart is a strong advocate of community policing and is often seen around the city on his own bike.

Residents on College Avenue in Bexley, and others who drive the busy road, are asking the city to slow down traffic with stepped-up police enforcement or speed bumps.

At City Council’s Sept. 11 safety committee meeting, Police Chief Larry Rinehart cautioned that, if officers start writing more tickets, residents could be the ones paying the toll.

"We will be writing a lot of tickets for people who live on College Avenue," the chief said.

Resident Sean Turner presented the committee with petitions asking that the city take steps to slow down vehicles traveling between Livingston Avenue and Main Street.

The homeowners are worried about the safety of children who play in the front yards and walk to school along College.

In addition to the homes of residents, College Avenue includes dormitories and rental properties occupied by Capital University students, and is also a main thoroughfare for people traveling in the city.

Rinehart is not in favor of installing speed bumps, which he believes can hinder snow plowing and create other problems.

The chief also pointed out that the traffic situation on College has improved over last year.

Last year, there were 413 calls for service on College Avenue, 62 traffic citations were written and there were 16 accidents reported, according to Rinehart.

So far this year, there have been 340 calls for service, 61 citations issued and four accidents.

The problems aren’t unique to College, he added. "The problem is, there are 10 College Avenues in Bexley."

He acknowledged that the squeaky wheel gets attention, and he invited residents to inform him of continuing problems.

Rinehart said he is willing to increase enforcement, but warned residents about the possible consequences.

There are other ways to slow traffic, other than writing tickets, council members offered.

Councilman Matt Lampke recommended that a three-way stop be installed at College and Astor Avenue. He would also liked to see crosswalks near the dormitories more clearly marked.

Service Director Dorothy Pritchard noted that trees can create the perception of driving through a narrower corridor, thereby slowing traffic.

Gateways that clearly mark the entrance to a residential community can have the same effect, she said. Plans are underway for creating such a gateway at College and Livingston, with the Speedway station and the Munro Muffler shop donating property for the effort.

Mayor David Madison promised to meet with residents and to talk with the city’s traffic engineer, Joe Ridgeway, to find a solution.

In other business, Bexley is planning for several celebrations in the coming months.

Councilman Rick Weber is the chairman of a community event recognizing the service of Mayor Madison after 32 years in office. He will be leaving office in January.

The event will take place Nov. 18 from 3-6 p.m. at St. Charles Preparatory School, 2010 E. Broad St., from 3-6 p.m.

Anyone who wants to volunteer or donate to the event can contact Weber at 239-6686.

Lisa Baas, president-elect of the Bexley Women’s Club, announced that the organization is planning a home and garden tour in conjunction with the city’s centennial, on June 22. An opening gala will be held June 21.

Baas said the club hopes to highlight seven to 10 houses and five or six gardens and is taking nominations.

It is also soliciting contributions from the city and the community. The club raises money for scholarships for Bexley residents.

Baas said that resident and real estate developer Larry Ruben has already contributed financially to the effort and has provided office staff.

Information about contributing or participating in the home and garden tour is at www.bexleywomen.org, Baas can be reached at 231-4155.

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