COLUMBIA — Final plans for making the intersection of Stadium and Forum Boulevards more pedestrian friendly were approved by the City Council on Jan. 2.
Final drawings for the project will be ready in mid-March, said Ted Curtis, manager of the Bike/Ped program for the City of Columbia. Bidding for construction of the project will take place in April. Construction is expected to begin in July.
The approved project includes a raised median in the middle of Stadium Boulevard where pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to stop when crossing. A striped crosswalk will be painted on the roadway and crossing time will be extended, making it safer for pedestrians, Curtis said.
The final plan shrinks the new median and moves it back slightly from an earlier version of the plan that raised concerns about large trucks not being able to turn onto Forum from Stadium without hitting the median.
The right turn from Forum onto Stadium will “bring cars at a perpendicular angle known as an Australian right,” Curtis said. This type of turn aims to reduce the number of accidents at the intersection.
Curtis said the change will have only a minor impact on rush hour traffic, maybe causing one or two more cars to be backed up on Forum.
Concerned with the safety of those crossing the intersection, Paulette Hansen, a resident of the Westwinds neighborhood, is looking forward to the changes.
“It’s difficult for disabled people to cross the intersection in the time that is alloted,” Hansen said. “A median would be a safe place for people to stop.”
The project is expected to be completed by the end of this summer.