Walk CoMo signs point the way for walking in downtown Columbia

Thursday, September 26, 2013 | 5:03 p.m. CDT
This sign posted on the corner of Elm and Ninth streets, near the downtown Shakespeare's Pizza location, marks the distance to the Columbia Public Library. Signs like this one are posted throughout downtown Columbia and give an estimated time of arrival for major landmarks.

COLUMBIA — If you were giving visitors a walking tour of downtown, where would you take them?

The Downtown Community Improvement District and the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau are asking Columbia residents just that. The two groups are latching onto the Walk CoMo project that began this summer, which posts signs downtown telling passers-by the walking time to free, public spaces.

The first signs were posted by people independent of downtown groups. These people were inspired by the larger Walk [Your City] project, which encourages pedestrians to post signs in their own cities to promote walking over driving.

The improvement district and Convention and Visitors Bureau were quick to notice the signs and are now taking over the project.

"We decided that instead of saying you can’t put out these signs, this is something that we need," said Megan McConachie, web and communications manager for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We need better signage downtown."

The public can provide input on where the signs should point through a Facebook event titled "Walk CoMo," posted on The District’s Facebook page.

"We would really like folks to jump on board with the idea," said Josh Wright, marketing coordinator for The District. "The signs should be helpful to visitors. If you were walking your friends or family around Columbia, what would you want them to see?"

Consistent with the national project's mission, the goal of Columbia's project is to get more feet on the streets.

"Columbia has a really walkable downtown," McConachie said. "We want citizens and visitors, and a lot of people visit from all over the country, to find their way more easily downtown."

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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Mark Foecking September 27, 2013 | 5:55 a.m.

This is all well and good, however, gasoline is still dirt cheap, parking is everywhere, and everyone and his brother has a car. Until one or more of those conditions change, muscle-powered transport is going nowhere.


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