Median for Bike Boulevard to be constructed on College Avenue

Saturday, August 7, 2010 | 4:41 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Road work crews are scheduled to begin construction Monday on a median at College Avenue near Ash and Windsor streets.

The median is a part of GetAbout Columbia's Bike Boulevard project, which has restriped parts of Ash and Windsor streets to prioritize bicycle traffic over motor vehicles.

GetAbout manager Ted Curtis said drivers can expect lanes to be shut down in the area during normal working hours this week. At least one lane of traffic will be open in each direction.

Curtis said work on the median will be finished by Friday, weather permitting.

The median will provide an island to help bicycles and pedestrians safely cross College Avenue, Curtis said. Raised concrete will form the northern and southern ends of the median. Bollards, or flexible posts, will mark the middle portion, allowing only bicycles to pass through.

By design, the median will also limit motor vehicle traffic on Ash and Windsor streets.

Once the median is in place, no traffic from College Avenue will be permitted to turn onto Windsor Street. Only southbound traffic will have access to Ash Street.

Motor vehicle traffic from both Ash and Windsor streets will only be able to turn right onto College Avenue.

Curtis said other final details of the Bike Boulevard project, such as signage, should be finished by the end of the week. Two street murals are scheduled to be painted on the boulevard in the fall, but Curtis said no dates were set.

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John Schultz August 7, 2010 | 11:23 p.m.

When did this awful plan get even worse? When it was before the city council several months ago, northbound College traffic would still be allowed to turn onto Windsor.

(Report Comment)
Dan Everson August 9, 2010 | 3:51 p.m.

Hi Mr. Schultz,

Thanks for your comment.

I called Ted Curtis back today, and he said the plan since the beginning has been to restrict right turns onto Windsor.

Curtis said there was a steering committee for the Bike Boulevard design, which included representatives from the Benton-Stephens and North Central neighborhood associations. He said that committee approved the design, including the restriction of right turns onto Windsor.

Curtis said the City Council approved the same design.

I wonder whether you may have been misled by a previous Missourian article dated Sept. 9, 2009:

That article states that the Bike Boulevard project would restrict right turns from College Avenue onto Ash Street. It says nothing about right turns onto Windsor Street.

Curtis confirmed today that that information was incorrect. He said it has always been the plan to restrict right turns onto Windsor but allow right turns onto Ash.

Thanks again for the feedback.

—Dan Everson, reporter

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 9, 2010 | 4:03 p.m.

Thank you Dan. Below is a link to the plan the council approved at the October 5, 2009 meeting, which was the last time it was before the council to the best of my knowledge:

The only elimination of right turns that it mentions are from College onto Ash. Only left turns into and from Windsor are blocked by the median.

(Report Comment)
Dan Everson August 13, 2010 | 5:37 p.m.

Hi Mr. Schultz,
I've been looking into this a little more throughout the week. I sent an e-mail to Ted Curtis, and he said the memo you linked to above was actually in error. Curtis said he drafted the memo and is responsible for the error.

Before I e-mailed Curtis, I checked out the City Council minutes from 9/8/09 and 10/5/09, the dates the council discussed the Bike Boulevard. The 10/5/09 minutes state that a southbound driver on College Avenue will be allowed to turn right onto Ash Street. (That information is attributed to Public Works Director John Glascock.) I did not see anything in the minutes about right turns onto Windsor.

You can access those minutes at this link:

Curtis said the memo should have said no right turns would be allowed onto Windsor Street. He said Glascock was correct to say right turns would be allowed onto Ash Street.

Thanks again for your feedback. Let us know if you have any further questions.

--Dan Everson, reporter

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 13, 2010 | 8:09 p.m.

Oh, I've got questions, but not for you Dan. Thanks for the followup.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 27, 2011 | 12:56 p.m.

Just another dismal failure for GetAbout and bicycle lobbyists.
Aside from one small street/area suddenly becoming a "Boulevard," (akin to "Broadway Blvd?"), it's been reported that car traffic speeds have decreased their speeds from 26mph to 24mph while bicycle usage at a PEAK TIME got them 38 additional bicycles to use this spot.
Considering that they've reported that this project displaced 420 of the 942 motorists using this area on a daily basis, so too it would be more fair to report how many bicycles use this newly modified area on a daily basis. It is also no coincidence that I now find travel on Paris road and other streets backed up/congested due to the modification these activists have pushed. An agenda obviously directed to displace motorists and make Columbia more car-unfriendly. If not, why do they not partner with state headquartered Mike Wright of the American Automobile Association and allow motorist representation? (Many who also drive bicycles, just not as fanatically.)
Some organization needs to put the brakes on these "car-unfriendly" bicycle initiatives which put motorists at odds with the cyclists and actually does nothing or little to make cycling safer, let alone allowing cars to get around Columbia easier, without creating new challenges and obstacles for the average motorist.
Unlike those driving a car, cyclists have the option of being more like acrobats, as they can jump on and off their bicycle and escort their pedal-powered toy across the street or as many of them do jump curbs, dart between moving traffic and, as this so-called boulevard encourages, "jay walk" across College Avenue.
This "boulevard" and any future plans for "boulevards" should be dismantled along with returning "normal" parking near the Boone County Clerk building.
By correcting their mistakes, they'll finally be spending their money wisely.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 29, 2011 | 6:09 a.m.

Ray Shapiro wrote:

"An agenda obviously directed to displace motorists and make Columbia more car-unfriendly."

Columbia has spent tens of millions of dollars in the past couple years on intersections, roads, and parking garages to make Columbia more car-friendly. The bicycle infrastructure is a tiny drop in the bucket. BTW, they don't do the back in parking by the courthouse anymore.

Windsor was a lot more about traffic calming and less about bicycle infrastructure, and it was probably cheaper to do it that way than installing islands and speed bumps. They could also justify it as bicycle infrastructure and use GetAbout funding for it. It wouldn't have happened if most of the residents of the street weren't OK with it.

It's also been suggested that Alexander/Aldeah/Edgewood be made into a bike boulevard. I don't know that status of that, but it might be one that would cause fewer problems with school or other public access.

John Schultz wrote:

"When did this awful plan get even worse?"

I know that this project has created access problems for the school, and I wonder if some parents could drop off/pick up their kids at a nearby bus stop (or walking bus stop), and avoid having to deal with Windsor at all. I suspect part of what made this project attractive to residents is reduction of the traffic associated with the school. Even if the bike blvd. is dismantled, it might be a good compromise to establish a few remote drop off points and bring most kids in in buses or on foot.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 29, 2011 | 1:06 p.m.

("The bicycle infrastructure is a tiny drop in the bucket. BTW, they don't do the back in parking by the courthouse anymore.")
More like dropping the motorist in a water bucket of frogs and slowly heating up the water.
As for the back in parking fiasco, which changed the entire complexion of that street, the lines and signs and the narrowing of the street, with no merger directions, is still there.
Also, comparing the amount of money used for roads and the amount of money spent on bicycle initiatives is a partial and unfair argument. For one thing, it does not address source of funding, "bang for the buck," and how it effects the quality of vehicle driving and safety for the masses.
I can almost guarantee you that the funds for bicycle initiatives will dry up and real infrastructure dollars, which generate significant commerce and real financial generating cash flow, will be in our not too far future.
Like I said, if bicycle fanatics really cared about cars, instead of being selfish, "me-generation babies," then these bicycle lobbyist groups, bicycle nonprofits and government-type cycling offices and commissions should include and take into consideration AAA representation and not just claim that a few residents living on a street liked the idea of reducing car traffic from 26mph to 24 mph.
Like I told Hindman's staffer, awhile back, the cycling movement missed its sustainability opportunity by not partnering with a motorist club, such as AAA.
Do you really think that those who have been driving cars, vans and trucks around town for the last 5-10 years honestly believe that the quality of driving around town has improved thanks to the bicycle initiatives?
Here's some drops in the bucket:

*Bicycle logo tattoos painted on the roads all over town.

*initial expense for sharrows:
GetAbout $400,519
2009 Sharrows (aka Shared Lane Markings for Bike Routes) GRAND ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Oct 9, 2008 ... 2009 Sharrows (aka Shared Lane Markings for Bike Routes). Cunningham. Chapel Hill to Bray. SLMs. Garth. Lathrop - Thurman ..

And should you want more drops let me know.
The rest are smaller drops, but drops just the same.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 30, 2011 | 3:57 a.m.

Ray Shapiro wrote:

"Do you really think that those who have been driving cars, vans and trucks around town for the last 5-10 years honestly believe that the quality of driving around town has improved thanks to the bicycle initiatives?"

Why should the quality of driving improve? The striping and everything else was done to make it supposedly easier for bikes and cars to coexist. Clearly you don't want them to coexist, so you'll say your quality of driving has gone down. I doubt you can find more than isolated support for your position.

Again, the city spends far more on auto infrastructure than on bicycle projects. The Fifth and Walnut parking structure alone ate nearly $15 million, and Short street is getting ready to eat another $9 million. This doesn't count things like the imminent widening of Broadway or the millions spent on maintenance every year. $22 million over 5 years is really not very much compared to that.

I don't think GetAbout was very well spent. Vangel was a major waste of funds. But cyclists have rights and needs too.

I would say that school buses are a source of far more traffic disruption that anything associated with GetAbout. Do you think we shouldn't spend money of them because they diminish the pleasure of your driving experience?


(Report Comment)
John Schultz December 30, 2011 | 11:21 a.m.

Mark, I think the back-in parking behind the county building and courthouse are still in effect, or at least I saw two big ol' SUVs backed into them earlier this week. I had heard that it was going to be discontinued though.

(Report Comment)
Gerald Shelnutt December 30, 2011 | 3:44 p.m.

Thankfully there is little or no reason for me to go into never never (downtown) land so this will not cause me much grief but I really doubt those down there want me anyway.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 1, 2012 | 7:16 a.m.

You're right, John. I went by there yesterday and the back-in sign was still there. I did read somewhere it was going to be discontinued. I never thought it mattered too much one way or the other.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 1, 2012 | 12:25 p.m.

I have no problem with coexisting.
It's a matter of proximity, interference, impeding commerce, maximizing resources and inclusion of representation from a motorists' association to balance out the bicycle lobbyists who seem not to care about the impact their decisions make on the motoring public and the quality of their driving experience.
The small amount of cyclists we have in this town, most who are around MU campus, are overly-impacting the roads throughout this entire town.
Motorists are "locked" in their car seats, while bicycles have more options of jumping on and off their bicycles and can scoot around people, streets, obstacles and become "off-the-road" transportation quite easily.
It would also be nice to see more cyclists equip themselves and use horns, lights and helmets, regardless of where they are riding.
A much larger city, Berlin, tried this close-up and personal coexisting bicycle and motor vehicle thingy and the bicycle loses on the safety issue of coexisting and the motorists lose out on the insurance end and guilt end of hurting the cyclists, whether the cyclists is at fault or not. At the same time bicycles drive all over the streets, roads, pedestrian sidewalks, in-between traffic, etc, while motor vehicles experience grid lock.
Again, it's not about coexisting. The devil's in the details.
Bicycles have been around on campus, downtown and a bit around town for quite sometime before PedNet and GetAbout. We had bicycle signs posted and cyclists figured out how to get around town for decades. Seems like the PedNet/GetAbout experiment is failing when you look at the big picture of quality coexisting. Especially when those who have more inclusive ideas or are ignored by the cycling fanatics and then labled as "haters" in an attempt to shut them up.
The exclusionary approach the bicycle lobbyists have taken in the manner in which they have "forced" changes on the motoring public will come back and bite them in the butt. The bicycle initiatives are just not sustainable. Our voting citizens will begin to realize this and stop tolerating these bad decision makers who are making this town more and more "car-unfriendly."

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote January 1, 2012 | 11:09 p.m.

@Ray Shapiro,

$200/barrel oil will be far more "car-unfriendly" than the relatively few dollars that have recently been invested in non-motorized transportation infrastructure in Columbia. I don't quite understand the attitude that government funds should only be used for preferred infrastructure projects, favoring one transportation modality. The era of inexpensive fuel is coming to an end, preparing for that eventuality seems prudent to me.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm January 2, 2012 | 6:46 a.m.

Ray writes

"I have no problem with coexisting."

Then writes 6 paragraphs on why he has a problem with coexisting haha. Kids out there pay attention, this is a great example of how not to form a logically consistent argument!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 3, 2012 | 11:56 a.m.

Devil's still in the details.
Choose your definition of coexist and come up with your own argument.
1. to exist together or at the same time.
2. to exist separately or independently but peaceably, often while remaining rivals or adversaries:
Is a representative from the American Automobile Association "coexisting" at the table of PedNet and GetAbout meetings?
Did the cycle fanatics even want them to be part of the process of quality "coexistence" in the first place?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 3, 2012 | 12:15 p.m.

Technology and maximizing resources, not bicycles, is a better answer to future energy needs.
As for spending money on bicycles, it would better serve the masses as a seasonal "hobby mode" or "student mode" alternative without taking away land/space for cars, vans and trucks.
Safe and viable bicycle usage can be achieved with little to no imposition on automobiles.
Include AAA at the table would be a good, long overdue, start.

(Report Comment)

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