COLUMBIA — The city is moving forward with plans to develop two bike boulevards: a new one from Parkade Plaza to the MKT trail connection off Lakeshore Drive and an upgrade to the existing Windsor/Ash Bike Boulevard.
An interested parties meeting will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Columbia Public Library to discuss the plans. Construction would most likely occur in the summer of 2014.
The proposed plan for a new bike boulevard goes from Parkade Plaza south to the the MKT trail at Lakeshore Drive.
The upgrade, known as the Wabash to Hominy Trail project, would connect the Windsor/Ash Bike Boulevard to existing trails at Stephens Lake Park and extend southeast to Hominy Trail.
In addition to signs and street markings, the project includes minor intersection improvements such as adding countdown timers at crosswalks and pedestrian signals. Some funds will go toward street repair and sidewalk improvements, Cliff Jarvis, project engineer for GetAbout Columbia, said.
"We aren’t prohibiting vehicles from using these streets. We’re encouraging them to find a different route and giving the bicycles the right of way," Jarvis said.
A bicycle boulevard is "a bike-friendly street, open to cars but meant for bikes," Ted Curtis, bicycle/pedestrian coordinator for GetAbout Columbia, said.
A bike boulevard is intended to:
- Reduce the speed of cars through striping, speed platforms, chicanes or pinch points.
- Discourage cut-through traffic and displace traffic to parallel streets.
- Increase pedestrian and biker safety at busy intersections and street crossings.
GetAbout Columbia, a federally funded initiative designed to promote bicycling and walking, has a budget of $460,000 set aside for projects, Jarvis said. Columbia is one of four cities participating in the non-motorized transportation pilot program and has received approximately $29 million since 2006 to make Columbia bicycle and pedestrian friendly, he said.
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