Windsor Street to become Columbia's first 'bike boulevard'

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | 3:13 p.m. CST; updated 10:37 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 19, 2009

GetAbout hearing

What: GetAbout Columbia meeting regarding the first bike boulevard

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Benton Elementary School

Why: Bike boulevard proposed for Windsor Street in Benton-Stephens neighborhood

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COLUMBIA – In another effort by GetAbout Columbia to make the city more bicycle-friendly, the first “bike boulevard” will likely be created this summer on Windsor Street.

Pending approval from residents, the bike boulevard will run through Benton-Stephens neighborhood, from College Avenue to Ann Street, Program Manager Ted Curtis of GetAbout Columbia said.

“Essentially, a bike boulevard is a residential street that’s parallel to a main street and gets some through traffic,” Curtis said. “You divert the through traffic to other streets and make the street friendly for bikes to use.”

The goal is that cars and bikes share the road, without strict dividing lines. Traffic from Windsor would be moved to Walnut Street, which runs parallel to it, so that cars on Windsor will be mostly slower, local traffic.

“It’s a quiet residential street where everyone’s going slow and sharing the same space,” Curtis said.

Curtis mentioned a number of techniques that can be used to redirect traffic, including one-way streets, right-turn only intersections, dead-ends for cars and restricted entrances to streets, all of which decrease car traffic and make streets safer for bikes.

“It depends on the street and what the residents want,” he said of choosing an option. “You look at what techniques work in the different areas.”

Windsor Street was initially expected to become one-way to better accommodate bicyclists, but the latest idea is to prohibit left turns from Windsor onto College. Still, designs for Windsor and the other boulevards remain up in the air, Curtis said.

“Until you get further into the planning stages, we really don’t know,” he said.

A meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Benton Elementary School to discuss the Windsor Street proposal and options and to allow residents to give feedback. If the neighborhood reaction is positive, the project will start this summer, Curtis said.

The bike boulevard project is beginning on a pilot basis, with three projects, the first of which is Windsor Street, Curtis said. He said each boulevard is expected to cost “significantly under” $50,000.

A bike boulevard beginning at Parkade Boulevard would run along multiple roads, such as Madison Street and Edgewood Avenue, as it works its way south to the MKT trail. The third route would be on William Street from Boone Hospital Center south to Rollins Street, Curtis said. These two projects are expected to begin in 2010.

GetAbout Columbia is trying a variety of other ideas to encourage Columbians to bike by improving intersections , widening sidewalks and adding bikeways, striped bike lanes and shared lane markings called “sharrows,” said Jill Stedem, a spokeswoman for the Columbia Public Works Department.

“There are a number of different projects going forward,” Stedem said. But funding is limited and Columbia would need another grant program or pilot funding through the federal government to continue expanding such efforts.

The full list of projects approved by the Columbia City Council can be found on GetAbout Columbia’s Web site.

Curtis said bike boulevards have seen success in Berkeley, Calif., and Portland, Ore., and several other cities nationwide are trying the concept. If the three projects in Columbia are successful, it is likely that more would be created throughout the city.

“It’s not in the plan right now, but if it works and people like it, there are potential opportunities,” Curtis said. “We’re trying to set up an integrated system where you can get anywhere from anywhere” – by bike.

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Ray Shapiro February 18, 2009 | 3:59 a.m.

Columbia is becoming more bike-friendly and less people-friendly.
We were doing just fine without white bike logos all over our roads and we're doing fine with our roads open for automobile traffic.
Bicycles are relatively a seasonal mode of student campus riding and they seeem to be doing just fine.
How about spending some money on creating salaried jobs for people and less spending on bikes, parks and hiking trails. Maybe some city tutoring/remedial teaching programs or after school activities. How about reinstating the cuts made at Paquin for the elderly and disabled?
Finance some Neighborhood Watch Programs.
Sponsor the "Twighlight Festival."
Have a city program to help our Veterans returning from Iraq.
You are making Columbia worse by having a bicycle priority when there are so many more important things to be done.
(I know the grant was earmarked, but I'm certain that our new Prsident would work something out with our city if the right person and proposal was submitted either through Jeff City or directly to Mr. Obama,)

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand February 18, 2009 | 6:35 a.m.

Just think: There are hundreds of thousands of wasteful projects like GetAbout all across the country. No wonder our deficit keeps growing.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 18, 2009 | 11:16 a.m.

Ayn Rand how about all of those over payed Senators and Congressmen that are out there living the high life?

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble February 18, 2009 | 12:55 p.m.

To address Ray's comments above: I think it's perfectly fair to ask why the things you list aren't being given proper attention. They're all good ideas.

But why do so many people only raise such complaints when a progressive issue like this is brought up? I won't speak to the value of this proposed plan, and I have mixed opinions of the GetAbout actions to date, but I applaud the creative examination of the community that's behind it.

It's dismaying that efforts like this receive such critical scrutiny, while things like George W. Bush's disastrous $2 trillion deficit-ballooning war, which is the biggest tax bill this country has ever been stuck with, go through with relative ease. The effects of that money hole will be felt for generations, and will negatively impact all the valuable ideas Ray suggests far more than any small grant project.

For those like Ayn to suggest that small projects like these are to blame for the deficit is irresponsible. Several times more money than the entire allotment for GetAbout is wasted every few months in Iraq through unethical contractor practices alone, for example.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand February 18, 2009 | 1:45 p.m.

Kevin, only a naïf would argue that we can excuse waste such as GetAbout because it's less than what we're wasting on the war. One act of fiscal irresponsibility does not excuse another. Have you looked at the waste in the latest stimulus package? All of those GetAbout programs add up to a lot of money.

And what do we have to show for it? In the case of GetAbout, asinine sharrows and stripes that only an imbecile would need to navigate the streets of Columbia. By the way, the streets sure are packed with more cyclists years into the program, aren't they? Not. I still see the same handful of people, many of whom I recognize because I've seen them for years.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote February 18, 2009 | 2:33 p.m.

Encouraging alternative transportation is in our country's best interest. There are numerous benefits to bicycling: reduced maintenance on our roads if less people drive as well as reduced congestion, leading to increased worker productivity; reduced traffic accidents, reduced pollution; reduction in obesity due to daily exercise, this in turn reduces overall health care expenditures. In addition to lowering government costs there is also a social benefit to bicycling. It encourages interactions with other members of the community. For example, if two bicyclists arrive at an intersection at the same time, it has been my experience that we say hello to one another, or wave. Contrast this to when two cars arrive at an intersection. Each decides who arrived first, and heaven forbid if the car arriving second goes first.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand February 18, 2009 | 3:07 p.m.

Christopher, GetAbout is unnecessary. It's a waste. Even when gas was nearly $4 a gallon, the vast majority of people still didn't hesitate to drive around by themselves. I did not see the streets and sidewalks packed with cyclists and pedestrians -- and still don't.

Regurgitating GetAbout talking points is silly and accomplishes nothing. I've been biking for decades. I didn't need sharrows and bike lanes then, and I don't need them now. And judging by the paucity of cyclists on Columbia's streets, GetAbout is ineffective in encouraging cycling and walking en masse.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 18, 2009 | 4:12 p.m.

>>> And judging by the paucity of cyclists on Columbia's streets, GetAbout is ineffective in encouraging cycling and walking en masse. <<<

It is a fact nobody can or will deny except the PedNutz.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 18, 2009 | 6:14 p.m.

Kevin Gamble, many people, myself included, wrote to and spoke to the politicians and organizations we could about W's and Blunt's policies and handling of the average taxpayer's money. The only thing we were able to accomplish was Obama and Jay Nixon. Now, we need to work on replacing Hindman, Watkins, Mike Hood and the city council persons of your choice.
And, "Mr. Foote in your mouth," ban cars or go to India and pull a rick-shaw. I've had it with those who are trying to make a career out of sending us back to the 1800's.
Bikes are old technology. They're an "ALTERNATIVE" to getting around for those few who think they're helping the environment and making people healthy.
Mr. Foote, advocate for the banning of corn syrup in every "Juice" and Beverage our kids drink, or food additives which make us sick and only make us hungrier.
You are wasting my time and money on your "pet" mission.
I have taken off my "training wheels" and I will take this ride to the next step...

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 18, 2009 | 6:26 p.m.

>>> advocate for the banning of corn syrup in every "Juice" and Beverage our kids drink, or food additives which make us sick and only make us hungrier. <<<

I totally agree ray shapiro all of these bike nutz advocate for their bikes and exercise but do not advocate against the processes that make fatty foods.

Can we all say "hypocritical"? You cannot get that so called ideal body weight if you are succumbed into chowing down on all of those foods ray shapiro mentioned with all of those additives.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 18, 2009 | 7:29 p.m.

Chuck and Ray, how do you know those who support biking are not also urging better nutrition? Sounds like you are grasping at straws to me.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 19, 2009 | 3:21 a.m.

John Schultz Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Boone County:

One would see it in the many media outlets one would think if that group of people were actually pushing for those food companies to do as ray and I both suggested. Instead we see that group of people pushing for more bike trails, pedpaths, shareways and such plus trying to push the exercise program with out covering the reasons who nor the companies that are providing us those foods we consume daily.

One would think we would see such a campaign in the mainline media outlets as often as we see their efforts for those things mentioned above. We do not and that is where I draw my presentation from.

Show me some main line media stories dated "this year" of bike enthusiast's campaigns in getting food manufacturers to cut out all of the fatty substances they dump and dummy up into the so called healthy food chain they dump upon our nation.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand February 19, 2009 | 6:50 a.m.

I'm still waiting for GetAbout to explain why they put sharrows on Berrywood, a road that's wide, lightly traveled -- I know because I've lived there for years -- and already has multiple speed bumps to slow traffic.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 19, 2009 | 8:32 a.m.

How does this story from February 11th grab ya, Chuck?

I know that is not the only story on the subject as I believe the plan was put forward last fall, probably with ridicule from the usual suspects on here. A Google search on Ian Thomas and First Ward will find additional results.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 19, 2009 | 11:02 a.m.

Where does it say they are going after the manufacturers John??? Huh it doesn't. It is going after local areas of living.

Not much use going full bore local but you can try until coalitions for better health and food manufacturing go after the companies dumping these things into our food.

That is what ray and I are talking about not some local project.

Nice article though I do agree but not what ray shapiro and I are or were talking about John.

Ayn Rand I do agree they are putting these share things in some odd ball places.

What ate of time,man power and money all around.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote February 19, 2009 | 11:10 a.m.

Mr. Shapiro and others,
It is most easy to debate someone when you ascribe inflammatory/irrational statements to them that they did not make. I am not affiliated with any organization, and have not visited pednet's website, thus I do not know what their talking points are. I was simply making a statement of fact about the health benefits of bicycling. Based upon your responses it is obvious that you do not have an adequate argument in opposition. It would appear that Mr. Shapiro believes that bicycling does not confer any health benefits. I would be interested in a citation in support of this view.With respect to food, I'm a social libertarian and believe that people should be allowed to buy whatever foods they want. However, I don't think we should be subsidizing unhealthy foods. My solution would be to remove all subsidies, and not tax unprocessed foods, i.e. anything that doesn't need a package.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 19, 2009 | 11:11 a.m.

Why advocate for something that you can choose not to purchase instead? It's much easier to teach someone to eat healthy than to make companies change their mind. That is what that program is trying to do in part.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 19, 2009 | 12:43 p.m.

High fructose corn syrup is not the problem many say it is. It is banned in Europe to help their sugar industry, not because it is harmful.

Sucose (cane sugar) is one molecule of fructose bonded to one molecule of glucose. Corn syrup, before it is converted, is mostly glucose. An enzyme is used to convert roughly half of the glucose to fructose, thus making it much sweeter. Fructose is what makes fruit and honey sweet, BTW. It's completely natural and can be used for energy just like glucose can.

In order for sugars to be absorbed from the gut, they must be broken down into single sugars. Sucrose must be broken down into glucose and fructose in order to be absorbed. There is little difference between high fructose corn syrup and surcose once they enter the digestive tract.

The reason people are fat is their portions are too large, not because of what they eat.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 19, 2009 | 3:22 p.m.

I think in my own opinion some here miss the point ray was trying to make.

Not everybody thinks the same nor their bodies/brains react the same as yours might.

Some people are actually addicted to those types of foods that are unhealthy for them. This is true.

Some people who say might have developmental and psychological disorders might not have the kinds of will power to do what you might be able to do. Lots suffering from a hard form of depression or other mental disorders are this way.

If you go research it,soda is high in content of things that are not good for your body at all but yet alot of people consume millions of dollars in soda nationwide each year.

This goes alot deeper than just what is put into our foods but rest assured what is put into our processed foods often times is not that great for your body.

I know this for a fact as when I changed my diet plan and got away from alot of the processed foods I felt and feel alot better over all.

ray has a good point but alot of people in our society are in denial.

(Report Comment)

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