COLUMBIA — Residents and neighborhood association members of West Broadway and surrounding Old Southwest were in attendance for the final Community Advisory Committee meeting on the West Broadway expansion.
The committee met Tuesday with city staff and CH2M Hill engineering design consultants to discuss the final design options for the expansion.
The expansion is a project that would widen West Broadway between the intersections of Garth Avenue and West Boulevard.
At the meeting, design consultants Timothy Nittler and Buddy Desai gave a detailed presentation of what the final design could look like.
A major concern of city officials and designers has been whether the desired dimensions could accommodate an emergency vehicle were another vehicle on the road at the same time. The city provided the designers with a video to show how a road that is too small could hinder the speed of an emergency vehicle.
“If there is a narrower pavement, then there will have to be some makeup for the space in the median to accommodate the emergency vehicles,” Desai said.
Residents were willing to work with designers to come to a suitable solution that would make it possible for emergency vehicles to travel down West Broadway easily.
The designers presented the residents with three design options from which to choose.
The first design option would consist of a 12-foot raised median, a 12-foot vehicle lane and a 6-foot bicycle lane. Residents also had the option of including a sidewalk or a pedway, as well as a tree lawn. Many expressed concerns that though they would like a bike lane, buses could interfere with it.
The second option would consist of a 12-foot depressed median, a shared 14-foot vehicle/bike lane and the option of a pedway, sidewalk or tree lawn. Although many expressed concerns that ice could accumulate on the median during bad weather, the majority of the committee appeared to favor this design.
The final choice would include the raised median from the first design and expand it to 16 feet, and also feature the 14-foot shared vehicle/bike lane. Although they did not oppose this design, many residents expressed concerns over the amount of property that could be lost using this option.
“Any way that we can (take off) a foot here, even it means bike lanes that are five feet instead of six or sidewalks that are five feet instead of 10,” said Jason Cooley, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association president.
Another idea introduced was the possibility of a four-lane street with a center turn lane. Some residents said they thought that would take away the residential feel of their neighborhood.
“Then you have this big piece of concrete that looks like a big highway right in the middle of our neighborhood,” committee member Karen Miller said.
Once residents give their input, the committee plans to send a recommendation to City Council. The designers expect to complete the recommendation by late July.