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Tabled pedestrian improvements would help Hickman High students

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 | 10:53 p.m. CDT
Hickman High School students cross the intersection of Providence Road and Business Loop 70 during their lunch break on Wednesday.

COLUMBIA — Hickman High School students might not have to cross six lanes of traffic to grab lunch if pedestrian improvements are approved for the intersection at Providence Road and Business Loop 70. 

The City Council tabled a bill Tuesday night that would have green-lighted construction plans because property owners of adjacent lots were not notified. The issue will be addressed for a third time at the council’s Oct. 4 meeting.

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The project would change how Hickman students can access the two roads. A staircase from the parking lot that leads to Providence Road would be closed and a fence would direct students from the parking lot down a ramp to a large waiting area before they cross the street.

Today, navigating a busy thoroughfare with no safe walkway leaves students few options. 

“They tell us not to do it," said Makayla Benney, a Hickman student. "They come over the intercom and they’re like, ‘Don’t cross the street unless you’re at a crosswalk,’ blah, blah, blah, and I’m like, who cares?”

The intersection does not currently have any pedestrian signals and has two faded crosswalks. The new plan would call for pedestrian signals at every corner, crosswalks on all four sides and two concrete islands to break up the walk across the road.

The plan would also replace the 4-foot-wide sidewalk with an 8-foot-wide walkway next to Hickman along Providence Road between Wilkes Boulevard and Business Loop 70.

Even though the council almost acted on the bill at Tuesday's meeting, Sharon Lynch, who owns property at the northwest corner of the intersection, wanted further details about the plan before its approval.

“I think there was probably a lack of communication, so am I frustrated? No. I was on the city council for six years so I know there’s a lot of things on their plate and a lot of projects that people want completed,” Lynch said.  “But I do think citizen communication is very important when you’re talking about condemnation of private property.”

If the bill had passed, it would have allowed the Columbia Public Works department to begin negotiations to purchase nearby land.

Construction is not expected to begin until early summer and may take three months to complete the entire project, according to city traffic engineer Richard Stone. The city hopes to finish construction before the start of the next school year.

The project is expected to cost between $600,000 and $700,000.


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Comments

Ray Shapiro September 8, 2010 | 11:15 p.m.

(“They tell us not to do it," said Makayla Benney, a Hickman student. "They come over the intercom and they’re like, ‘Don’t cross the street unless you’re at a crosswalk,’ blah, blah, blah, and I’m like, who cares?”)

Just another good reason for no outside lunch release time.
A closed campus is a safe campus, both for the students, motorists and the community at-large.

Are the parents of these high schoolers held responsible for their children's behaviors when they're out to lunch?
If there's an accident during the middle of the day, does CPS have any responsibility for the teenagers' safety?
Who will sue who during this open campus free for all?
And, what about the drug activity?

WHY IS CPS PUTTING THEIR STUDENTS AND OUR RESIDENTS AT ADDED RISK?

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 9, 2010 | 6:37 a.m.

@Ray Shapiro 100% agree.

(Report Comment)
Mike Sykuta September 9, 2010 | 10:08 a.m.

Rather than locking kids up on campus, how about simply holding them responsible for their actions?

What's so hard about crossing with a green light? It's not rocket science. The City could rack up some cash by handing out jaywalking tickets all through the lunch hour until students get a clue. And yes, parents are ultimately responsible for their minor children's behavior, whether on lunch break or not.

Moving to a closed campus simply treats the symptom rather than the cause, which is a lack of personal responsibility on the part of both the students and the drivers traveling through the intersection.

I'm no CPS apologist, but CPS is not putting anyone at risk. It's the youth, parents and general citizenry (particularly drivers) who fail to act responsibly that put others at risk.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 9, 2010 | 10:31 a.m.

@Mike Sykuta with a closed campus you also lessen the probability of drug deals going on at lunch time. Shall we forget the huge ruckus at McDonald's last year was it? Closed campus would be practical if there was a committee of CPS parents formed and it was researched.

Why should CPD have to play nanny to a bunch of teenagers when their daily case loads are stacked high enough now?

It is the responsibility of CPS and the parents of these teenagers to keep them under control. What about some of those parents acting as crossing guards at lunch time or becoming off campus monitors?

I see no reason CPD should ever play nanny to these teenagers ever.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 9, 2010 | 11:00 a.m.

Carlos, are you ready for your property taxes to go up to pay for expanded cafeteria space at Hickman? My recollection of previous discussions is that there is not room for all students to eat lunch on campus, nor for lunch to be prepared and served.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 9, 2010 | 11:48 a.m.

By high school, I would hope that a youngster would be able to prepare a decent bagged lunch from leftovers.
(Is leftovers a politically incorrect word nowadays?)
A bagged lunch from home is probably better and cheaper than Taco Bell, McDonalds or DQ, which these students apparently have money for.
With some creativity, coordination, maximizing people resources and spaces within this large CPS property they could do away with its lunch time release policy.
(I don't see this as a "tax issue," I see it as a safety/liability issue. It makes good community sense to keep the high schoolers in their high school building throughout the day. At the very least, on school property, supervised by adults.)
Perhaps this is a job for Hickman's PTSA to coordinate with CPS.
http://service.columbia.k12.mo.us/hhs/pt...

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 9, 2010 | 11:51 a.m.

@John Schultz did CPS get that info from a qualified engineer/architect/planner or are you believing everything they tell the public?

As for my property taxes that is my own personal business.

I got an idea on space. How about they follow the way of City Hall and build a multipurpose parking garage with the cafeteria area on the ground floor? It seems to be the going craze in this city. Problem solved.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 9, 2010 | 12:52 p.m.

Carlos, I believe that either parents or CPS employees in previous commentary have said that there is no room at Hickman (don't know specifically about Rock Bridge) for all students to eat in the cafeteria area. If you think their claim is incorrect, please do a public service and rebut it.

(Report Comment)
Eric Holmberg September 9, 2010 | 2:00 p.m.

Mike,

Thanks very much for your comment. The issue at hand, illustrated by a Hickman student quote near the top of the article, is related to the inadequacies of the intersection. The students told me that they have to cross the street somewhere, so what are they supposed to do?

The sentence that leads into the quote is there to say if you were a responsible student at the school, what would you do? Where is the safest place to cross? There doesn't seem to be a best option. In fact, you could probably convince me it's safer to cross a single road (either Providence or Business Loop), than deal with the complexity of the intersection:

A pedestrian has to cross six lanes of traffic, identify cars that are turning right and left, all without any signals or clearly defined crosswalks. To blame the students (and you're not the only person or driver in the area who does) seems to bypass the real problem which this article tries to shed some light on. If students had a safe option, it's perfectly reasonable to blame them, but unfortunately, they don't.

I tried to step into the student's shoes and say if crossing at the intersection is just as dangerous (or maybe more dangerous) than crossing in the middle of the street, what would I do? Is it worth making the extra effort to walk to the intersection in this specific situation? Perhaps, but maybe not. But, these are interesting questions to think about.

Eric Holmberg

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 9, 2010 | 6:37 p.m.

@John Schultz no that is the responsibility of CPS to do the research through qualified engineers and architects not that of anybody in the general public.

I like the idea though of a multilevel parking garage(which would alleviate the parking issues on side streets by students,those attending various events and allow for growth in the future parking needs of HHS) and just make the entire first level a huge multipurpose use area. CPS should do a study on that and maybe even consider a future bond issue and looking at Federal Grants.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 9, 2010 | 6:42 p.m.

To add here: Yes that entire Intersection needs to be brought up to ADA Compliance and Standards this is a no brainer but I do not feel that the City should be using tax payer dollars pandering to CPS on this issue when it is CPS's responsibility to make sure their students are acting appropriately off school grounds while in school and there we have the main issue of actions,responsibility and maturity off school grounds during school!

Why should the City play the nanny is the question here at the expense of tax payers?

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 9, 2010 | 6:45 p.m.

One more thing. How much smoother would traffic be if these kids were on a closed campus vs an open campus. If all of this is done for the studets then what will be done for the motorists too? That is one busy intersection of our city that needs not be slowed down if at all possible.

(Report Comment)
Eric Holmberg September 9, 2010 | 9:42 p.m.

Carlos,

Thank you for bringing this up because it was an important part of the article that got cut in editing. Everything in the intersection will be ADA-compliant and handicap accessible. Changes related to making the intersection ADA-compliant:

A ramp from the Hickman parking lot down to a large circular waiting area right next to the crosswalk.
From the intersection to Taco Bell, where there are currently two or three stairs leading into the parking lot, will be replaced with a ramp.
The pedestrian islands in the intersection will contain tactile bumps on the ground for the blind. They will also be even with the ground (with raised concrete around it) so someone in a wheelchair could wheel through the island.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 10, 2010 | 4:49 a.m.

Carlos, you can easily email the principal at Hickman and challenge the claims about the cafeteria being too small to serve all students at lunchtime if you like, or inquire if the proper authorities in your opinion have been consulted:

tconrad@columbia.k12.mo.us

According to this previous Missourian story, the McDonald's incident you earlier cited was not caused by Hickman students. Seems to shoot a bit of a hole in your responsibility of the students claims.

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

Speaking as a motorist who used to drive that intersection daily (although not when the students were out and about), the proposed changes don't seem like they will impact drivers. Providing a safer crossing with crosswalks and signals (presuming the students follow them) is not a bad thing.

Are you going to write the grant for Hickman to build a cockamamie parking garage/commons area combo building? Are you going to sit on a commission to encourage a bond passage for what would likely be a $10+ million building? Where do you expect the students to park while the parking lot is transformed? Lots of questions derived from your wishing to solve a problem that doesn't seem to be as big as you think.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 10, 2010 | 5:24 a.m.

@John Schultz my favorite Libertarian. I just throw out the ideas for public input here and for thought for those who read here. One of the major issues you fail to address as per your usual is any and all drug activity off school grounds. What oh dear John Schultz about that issue? Oh that's right some political types believe people should be allowed to do as they please and does that include under age children away from the home left to their own devices?

I have thrown out some ideas and I am sure a lot of CPS staff read this paper online so no need to be emailing anybody. The thing is why do a temporary fix when you can do the long term fix and do the job right the first time and solve a host of issues in one shot. All have enough food for thought now so no more need to post here so your Liberaltarian(oh I made a new word didn't I) views will not have anything more to tear apart or ridicule as is your usual modusoperandi.

I like that new word Liberaltarian. It fits.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 10, 2010 | 10:33 a.m.

Oh yes, because the War on Drugs is going so swimmingly that its very existence will be threatened if we allow students to eat off-campus. Surely they would never bring drugs to school to sling, nor visit another person's house after school hours. If drugs cannot be kept out of maximum-security prisons, what do you propose be done to keep them out of school?

No Carlos, as usual you are way behind the times. Liberaltarian was coined quite some time ago by those who thought libertarians and liberals should work together on common issues, such as civil liberties, forfeiture reform, the end of the War on Some Drugs, and similar social issues. As I recall, you are fond of touting Google results to prove your points; Google returns about 18,900 results when searching for liberaltarian. Once again, you are a legend only in your own mind.

Some reading if you wish:

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_...

From 2006 so no less, look how behind the times you are with your little dig!

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 10, 2010 | 10:40 a.m.

@John Schultz The war on drugs starts in the home and in the schools and it can be won if people would just stand up for a change instead of just laying over.

Oh well so I am behind the lingo but as I said oh well if the term fits wear it...lol...and it does seem to fit you quite well.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 10, 2010 | 11:29 a.m.

Do you still have a bobblehead of Richard Nixon on your nightstand that tells you the War on Some Drugs can be won? Otherwise I have no idea where you are getting that notion. Maybe the same mistaken place where you get the idea that I'm a liberal Libertarian. You seem to be very confused by libertarian philosophy though.

Government prohibition of some drugs causes a black market to operate. After 40 years of the War on Some Drugs, kids can still get their hands on dope with alarming ease. Maybe it's time to change tactics? Many former law enforcement professionals think that's a good idea:

"Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies. Those policies have failed, and continue to fail, to effectively address the problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use, the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the existence of a criminal black market in drugs."

http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php?name=Co...

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 10, 2010 | 12:08 p.m.

@John Schultz the war on drugs is not so much about prohibition as the media complex preaches and so many blindly follow but it is all about education(which on this issue I highly doubt you can be educated on) beginning in the home and continuing all through the school years. If the kids do not want it there is no demand for the supply. The educational system is already in place all it needs is the application of the process to educate. You do know educate is a action word right or has America as a whole forgotten that meaning?

Stay classy there John Schulz you are doing a great job of winning hearts and minds over to your party.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 10, 2010 | 1:51 p.m.

Carlos, if education is the solution, how do you explain the DARE program being a massive failure? For several years (over a decade I believe), police officers have been in classrooms educating kids about drugs, yet research has shown the program is not effective. Yet you continue to think schools are the best hope for ending drug abuse? Sorry, as a parent of two children, it's on me to teach them not to do drugs and make good decisions when faced with that prospect.

As for my comments being classy or not, I don't care about your opinion since you're one online crank and I receive many positive comments about my contributions. But I don't do this for me, I do it to spotlight people like you who argue from emotion instead of facts. Have a government-approved day.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith September 10, 2010 | 2:05 p.m.

@ John Schultz

Thanks, John, you've already made my weekend and it's only Friday afternoon. Richard Nixon bobblehead. I believe I once had one of those mounted on the dash of my car, next to a plastic statue of Saint Ann.

Saint Ann? Yes, she is the patron saint of miners. Saint Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland and of engineers, but Saint Ann is the patron saint of miners. Well, maybe not so much for Muslim miners. :)

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 10, 2010 | 3:37 p.m.

Ellis, glad I could be of service. I also now have to wonder if Saint Ann has ever made an appearance at Mizzou's Engineer Week? She would surely be a better sight than Saint Patrick, praised be his worm drive.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 10, 2010 | 3:40 p.m.

@John Schultz what did I say before that education starts in the home first and continues through school and that is not just by law enforcement itself but by the teachers themselves too. Libertarians complain about personal responsibility well what is wrong with teachers doing that in the school room. They used to do those things back in the day until our public school system now looks like a fast food drive through pushing the kids through as fast as they can.No kid left behind should have been a national law clear back in the 40's so we would not be in the piss poor shape this country is in now.

I have lots of comments of gratitude on my posts as well so whoopiediedoobuckaroo,taint you special...lol.

As far as speaking from an educational point of view John I have a lot of educational back round bought and paid for that you sir will never have and it did not come out of some text book nor paid for by mommy and daddy or the government or learned at some so called higher educational institute. That education is priceless and I would not change it for the world. One thing it teaches it not be so narrow minded nor one sided but to actually look at more than is before your eyes. Too bad you are not that.

Just because you have a payed for home,kids,vehicles,
jobs,nice clothes and all of those things in life does not by any means make you so called smarter than the next guy or gal in line. All it means is you toiled all of your life for riches you cannot take with you and after you pass on somebody else will claim and give you none of the credit for.

Keep it classy John Schultz keep it classy.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 10, 2010 | 5:16 p.m.

You have "educational back round" eh? That says more about you than you possibly realize. Nuff said!

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 10, 2010 | 5:38 p.m.

Keep it classy John Schultz keep it classy.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 10, 2010 | 7:46 p.m.

You're one to talk, aren't you? Show where I've been less classy than you in this thread, if you can.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 10, 2010 | 9:19 p.m.

Always trying to goat the argument John aren't you. Forget it I'm not biting nor baiting.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 10, 2010 | 10:03 p.m.

Yep, you can't prove your claims when called on it, and have to back down. Have a nice weekend muttering about those meddling kids.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 11, 2010 | 5:33 a.m.

@John Schultz nobody is backing down I just choose not to feed your trollitarian philosophy anymore.

(Report Comment)

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