COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)- A dangerous intersection in Columbus is getting some safety upgrades. Back in February a $1.4 million dollar city and grant funded project started at the intersection of Barnett Rd. and Livingston Ave. According to data from the city, from 2015 to 2017 there were 68 crashes at the intersection including two times pedestrians were hit by cars.
“I’ve been here for 20 years and I know at least 15 of those years it’s been getting worse and worse,” said Kim Watkins who lives and works near the intersection.
She also helps lead two community groups in the area. Whether she’s walking or driving she says she travels the intersection daily.
“This intersection has been really dangerous,” she said.
As part of the project, a left turning lane was added to the North side of Barnett Rd. Previously it was just a two lane road. Residents say traffic would get backed up by people waiting to turn left. City leaders say people rushing to make left hand turns caused accidents. The intersection was
ranked #43 on the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s list of Top 100 High Crash Intersections.
“The statistics that we know of the crashes that have happened at this intersection, I would be concerned for my child’s safety going to and from school,” said Shayla Favor, Columbus City Council Member and Chair of the Public Service and Transportation Committee.
Johnson Park Middle School, the Barnett Recreation Center and the Livingston Library are all near the intersection.
“For me this is an incredibly exciting day because a lot of our students are going back to school,” said Favor. “What we know by fall is that they will have a safer route to get to and from school.”
Sidewalks were added to Barnett Rd. as part of the project. New pedestrian push buttons and new traffic lights are being added to the intersection as well. The entire project is expected to be done by the end of the calendar year. The North side part, which is the side the school is on, is expected to be completed by mid-September.
“It makes the whole area more safe, that’s why the community is excited about it,” said Watkins.
There are also plans to extend the sidewalk down Barnett Rd. to make it more accessible to students walking from Johnson Park Middle School.