Russell Park road issue still unsolved

Tuesday, December 16, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:08 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

City planners are still looking for a way to move traffic in and around the Russell property.

Planning Director Roy Dudark presented four options to the City Council on Monday to extend roads from Cunningham Road through the park. Dudark said an extension of Cunningham, which is included in the city’s Major Roadway Plan, would greatly benefit traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods and parks, but also included three options that extend roads further west.

The council agreed to move the issue to a work session to discuss the possibilities at a later date.

A previous proposal to extend Cunningham through Russell Park, which was donated to the city in 1999 by the late F. Garland Russell, was opposed by neighbors, the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission, who suggested that an extension of Cunningham be removed from the Major Roadway Plan.

The first option presented by Dudark proposes an extension of Cunningham to Rollins through Russell Park, 1,000 feet west of the proposal rejected in November. Two of the other options propose creating new collector roads stretching west from Cunningham through property owned by the Columbia Audubon Society to connect with Scott Boulevard. Another option would extend Dixon Court northwest to the West Lawn Subdivision, creating better access to Russell Park.

In November, public hearings were held by the Parks and Recreation Department on whether to extend Cunningham to Rollins Road through Russell Park. Many neighbors showed up to vocalize their opposition to the road’s extension, and stated concern about increased traffic. Some cited F. Garland Russell’s will, in which he said he wanted the park to remain a nature preserve. The Audubon Society, which owns property that borders Russell Park, was also against Cunningham’s extension.

Other items discussed at Monday’s council meeting included:

n A resolution to extend the existence of the Cable Television Task Force from its assigned date of completion on December 31, 2003, until June 30 was approved. The seven-member task force was formed to examine the cable television franchises in Columbia and to review the formation of public access channels in the city.

n A report recommending that the city transit system’s route be changed so some routes with few or no riders can be diverted to provide better service to more popular routes. The council will discuss its options in a work session.

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