COLUMBIA — Constructing a median down the center of Providence Road from Stadium Boulevard to Rollins Road is one option the city is considering to reduce the number of traffic collisions in the area.
The proposal, presented at a public meeting Thursday, aims to improve safety by building a barrier between the narrow lanes. Drivers would also not be able to cross traffic to make left-hand turns.
Other options included constructing new roads, moving or adding stoplights and making East Rollins a one-way street. City staff also encouraged the public to offer more input on alternatives.
Many attendees voiced concerns that a median would make traveling north difficult for residents living in neighborhoods west of Providence. They would have to travel south to Stadium in order to turn around and travel north on Providence, unless the plan incorporated breaks in the median.
“If (the median) is a necessity, they have to allow a left-hand turn out of one of the three streets,” said Andee Gelatt, of Lagrange Court.
The logistics of the median, such as material, height and whether or not it will prevent turning right out of the neighborhoods west of Providence, will ultimately be determined by the Missouri Department of Transportation, which maintains the road. The Transportation Department is expected to work with the city to develop the best solution.
Feedback sheets were provided at the meeting and will be given to the City Council. The number of options that will receive further consideration depends on how the council plans to proceed; however, looking at two to four proposals is expected. Once approved by the council, the options will be examined by engineers for more specific plans.
While not all residents were fond of all the ideas presented, there was a general consensus that something needs to be done.
“There are three streets out of the Grasslands (neighborhood),” Gelatt said. “When traffic is heavy, it is almost impossible to get in and out of our subdivision.”
Improvements to Providence have been considered for more than two years. Funds for the improvements are part of a 2005 transportation ballot initiative. One million dollars was identified as part of the city’s capital improvement project list.
The city has been meeting with various stakeholders to develop options.
“There needs to be a sensible and sane solution,” said Richard Ditter, owner of the downtown D-Sport and a Columbia resident since 1971. “We want safety; we want consensus.”