Columbia City Council worried about safety of bike boulevard

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 3:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 9, 2010

The description of how traffic would be altered on specific streets by the College Avenue median has been changed.

COLUMBIA — Safety was the main concern surrounding the discussion of a proposed bike boulevard project near Stephens College during Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

The council voted to delay approval of the bikeway until city staff can study the intersection and analyze any safety concerns.

"As a pilot, it makes sense," Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said. "But I really don't want to put this pilot in a dangerous place. It's liable to attract more bike usage; let's make sure we're putting it in the right place."

The project would eradicate left turns to and from College Avenue onto Windsor and Ash streets, eliminate right turns from College Avenue to Windsor Street and construct a pedestrian safety island in the middle of College Avenue. Bike lanes and shared lane lines would be painted on Windsor and Ash streets.

The project would cost about $9,000.

Because this would be the first bike boulevard in Columbia, GetAbout staff members would evaluate vehicle traffic, vehicle speeds, bicycle traffic and neighborhood reactions before and after the implementation of the bike boulevard to measure success.

John D. Glascock, director for the Columbia Department of Public Works, stressed that the bike boulevard would be a medium to determine the changes in traffic.

"We're trying to measure data," Glascock said. "We want to gather details on what works and what doesn’t."

The elimination of the left turns at the intersections of Windsor, Ash and College streets was also a debatable issue. A handful of Benton-Stephens neighborhood residents said the elimination of the turns would be inconvenient and that the intersection too dangerous a place for a bike boulevard.

"The hill south of Windsor is short and steep," Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said.  "I never take that left. It's an accident waiting to happen. Let's send it back for the staff to look at the intersection."

Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade spoke against the boulevard. "The project is a distraction," Wade said. "Making College (Avenue) safer is a separate issue from a bike boulevard."

Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill brought forth an alternate resolution to "identify areas known to be full of bikers, rather than bringing bikes to this area."

The bike boulevard project is scheduled to be discussed again at the City Council meeting on October 5.

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Mark Foecking September 9, 2009 | 1:21 p.m.

Actually, the next Council meeting is Sept 21st.


(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 9, 2009 | 1:24 p.m.

Sorry -- looked again and they tabled it until the 5th.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 9, 2009 | 1:41 p.m.

("Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill brought forth an alternate resolution to "identify areas known to be full of bikers, rather than bringing bikes to this area.")
Good point.
GetAbout should know by now that there's no guarantee that if you build it, they will come.
Deal with your current traffic and safety problems first.

(Report Comment)
Bruce Smith September 9, 2009 | 2:40 p.m.

Actually, I never saw a problem that they are trying to solve with this. To me it looks like just another totally unjustified "something to do because we haven't spent all of our money and a bicyclist wants something else to play with". Of course I could be biased since I feel that streets, although they can and should be shared, are primarily for the automobile traffic that requires them.

(Report Comment)

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