Officials Examine Safety Issues During Tour

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Members of the Joint Police Advisory Council, city officials, Ohio University representatives and community members took to the streets of Athens Thursday evening to identify safety hazards that need addressed in the city.

The excursion was the second safety tour held by the city since JPAC’s inception in early 2012. The advisory council is comprised of the police chiefs from Athens Police and Ohio University Police, citizens, city officials and OU students and employees. Members of JPAC and citizens boarded a city bus Thursday evening to look at safety hazards that were reported by concerned citizens.

Many of the concerns were regarding lack of lighting in certain areas of the city and on campus. As the sun set on Thursday evening, the tour group was able to see these problematic areas firsthand.

Another major concern was pedestrian safety in crosswalks. Problematic crosswalks that were highlighted included at the intersection of Court and Carpenter and the crosswalk on South Green Drive between Bicentennial Park and Peden Stadium. OU Police Chief Andrew Powers said the crosswalk on South Green Drive needs to be shifted further east to prevent traffic from backing up on Richland Avenue as motorists are waiting for pedestrians to cross South Green.

Some of those on the tour pointed out residential streets in which motorists are often speeding. Athens Deputy Service-Safety Director Ron Lucas — who was the chauffeur for the evening — stated that often times narrow streets can give the appearance that vehicles are speeding when they actually aren’t.

While on the tour, Service-Safety Director Paula Horan Moseley also discussed upcoming construction projects in the city. She showed those on the tour where the new Columbus Road bike path spur will be built, which will come out between the New-To-You thrift store and ACEnet on Columbus Road. The city also now owns a piece of property that used to be a gas station on Columbus Road, which will be converted into a parking area for those utilizing the bike path. Horan Moseley said that the bike lane on Columbus Road will also be extended to join the bike path spur.

Horan Mosely also talked about changes to the Depot Street and West Union Street intersection this summer as utility work and paving will be done on West Union.

She also discussed Ohio University's proposal to extend South Green Drive to connect to Mill Street. She said OU would be paying for the project. Athens City Councilman Kent Butler said the project is a good example of how the city and university work together.

Horan Mosely took notes of the safety concerns during the tour. The city will further study the concerns and make changes if deemed necessary and financially feasible.