Comments on living in Columbus, Ohio - 2/5/2012
I've lived in Columbus, Ohio for nearly forty years (yes, four decades), having moved here from Brooklyn, N.Y. There are a number of positive aspects of life in Columbus, and the immediate vicinity, as well as a number of aspects of life, which are either unpleasant, or which can stand improvement.
a) The cost of living in Central Ohio is lower than the national average. Although the cost of electricity has recently climbed to about 13 cents per kilowatt hour, for years, it was much lower than that. Also, the cost of natural gas has moderated, and has actually decreased in recent years. In addition, the cost of water/sewer services provided by the City of Columbus is reasonable. Columbus does not charge its residents any additional fees for trash collection, and recycling, at no additional charge, will be provided in the near future. Real estate taxes of homes, are much lower than similar homes in the northeast, or on the west coast.
b) Commuting by car is not really a problem, even at rush hour. Rarely, does the Columbus area experience the bottlenecks in traffic, which are prevalent in larger metropolitan areas, such as L.A., Chicago, NYC, etc.
c) Maintaining a car- It does not cost that much to maintain an automobile in the Columbus area, as there are many auto mechanics, and competition tends to drive the prices down.
d) Food- There are many retail grocery markets such as Krogers, Walmart, Meijers, which tend to be competitive, and keep grocery prices at reasonable levels.
e) Medical care- The quality of medical care, with rare exceptions is very good, and prices are also reasonable. There are many drive in drug stores, which make buying prescription drugs very convenient.
f) Banking- There are also a number of banks with drive in facilities, which also make the banking experience a pleasant one.
g) Home maintenance contractors- One can choose from many different contractors for home repairs, whether it involves roofers, plumbers, electricians, painters, driveway contractors, heating and air-conditioning personnel, etc. Although prices have risen in recent years, I still feel that the prices are competitive.
a) I've never gotten used to the driving habits of Columbus motorists. I've observed numerous accidents which could have been avoided, if the offending motorist would have kept a clear distance from the car in front of him, as required by law. Instead, Columbus drivers tend to tailgate, and fail to stop in time, thus striking the car in front of them.
b) Also, I've observed numerous Columbus drivers who excel in making obscene gestures with their fingers and hands. Many times, Columbus drivers will daydream and hesitate, when the light changes from red to green. Hence, a gentle tap on the horn is a gentle reminder for them to accelerate. Unfortunately, it is also a signal for some drivers to make obscene gestures.
c) Many Columbus drivers don't believe in using directional signals when changing lanes, make sudden, and unsafe lane changes, fail to yield the right of way, go through stop signs, drive with defective mufflers, headlights and taillights which don't work,or drive with license plates which have not been cleared of snow, or even drive with license plates which should have been replaced. Also, I've noticed drivers who will pass one's rear bumper with less than two inches to spare!
d) Anti-semitism- Although people don't like to hear about this phenomenon, there are still those in the Columbus area, who can't seem to accept the fact that observant Jews have the right to walk to the Synagogue of their choice on Saturday, without being verbally assaulted or intimidated by anti-semitic motorists in their car, who will either loudly honk their horns, or yell things out of their cars.
e) Racial tension- Unfortunately, racial tension in the Columbus area still exists, whether it involves whites against blacks, or blacks against whites.
f) Crime- Many homes in quiet residential areas, now have burglar alarm signs in front of them. Whereas years ago, there would be signs which stated "Welcome, "The Smiths", now there are signs which prominently display the name of the security company, with warning signs. Unfortunately, homes have suffered burglaries, and homeowners have incurred thefts of items, which cannot be readily replaced. Hence, they have no choice, but to invest in a security system. In addition, there have been a number of heinous crimes in the Columbus area, too numerous to mention on this site.
g) Sports arenas- Regarding Nationwide Arena and the Schottenstein Center, unless one has a private box, it is difficult to feel comfortable being seated, when watching a professional sports team, as opposed to a college team. Alcohol is served at those events, and it tends to loosen inhibitions in people, leading to rowdy, and aggressive conduct.
h) Lack of an effective snow removal program- In the forty years that I've lived in Columbus, I always hear the same ridiculous excuses every winter, to justify the City of Columbus' substandard snow removal program. The excuses are "the equipment broke down, we didn't have sufficient warning that such a large snowfall would result, we didn't anticipate that a freeze would result, before the salt could be spread, our personnel have worked twelve hours straight and are fatigued, we don't plow residential areas, if the snow is less than four inches", etc. Quite frankly, Columbus has run out of excuses. In 1978, there was a large blizzard which struck Columbus, and the city closed the downtown area for days. Motorists were stranded all over town. At that time, the city promised that new snow plows would be ordered, and such a situation would never occur again. Unfortunately, the same situation has occurred time and time again. In March, 2008, the City of Columbus failed to effectively plow James Road, a large arterial roadway. As a result, there was black ice on that street, which caused a very precarious driving situation. Also, even when the snowfall has reached four inches on the residential streets, the snowplows in many instances never come to the residential areas. If they do, all they do is spread the existing snow around with a plow. The residential streets are never salted. On the other hand, a number of the suburban municipalities in the area surrounding Columbus, have very good snow removal programs, as does the airport. [read more...]