Safety A Concern In Oxbow Extension

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At the end of Oxbow Trail you’ll find a blocked off street extending to Richland Avenue. The blocked extension has been that way since the creation of the Baker Center in 2006.

For years, Ohio University Student Senate and Athens City Council have argued over whether to open the extension on Oxbow Trail.

However, the two groups can agree on the main issue surrounding the unopened street: safety.

Student senate believes opening the extension would help emergency vehicles maneuver around campus more quickly and with ease.

Bobcat Lane, the probable name of the extension if opened, is expected to resolve traffic flow issues.

Student senate suggested only opening the street for emergency vehicles.

“Right now we are focusing on emergency vehicles, so that their response time would be more efficient,” said task force member Joel Newby.

However, city council is worried about the safety of students and faculty.

The council stated that another pedestrian or vehicular conflict could become dangerous on Richland Avenue.

Heavy pedestrian traffic walks across Richland Avenue to West Green.

If Bobcat Lane were to open, the road would cut through a bike path on Richland Avenue, which raises concerns that cars will pull out and not notice oncoming bikers and pedestrians.

Student senate’s task force,"Why No Oxbow," does not believe the safety of bikers will be an issue.

“We feel that there are other areas where the bike path goes through an access point where a car can go in and out.  We haven’t had any trouble like that so far,” task force member Anthony Koehling said.

Until the two sides can come to an agreement on the safest possible outcome, Bobcat Lane will continue to be a hot button topic.