Proposals for extending Scott Boulevard, Fairview Road and other major roads in central Columbia will be considered at a public hearing Thursday.
The hearing will take place during the quarterly meeting of the coordinating committee of the Columbia Area Transportation Study Organization, a federally mandated group that coordinates long-term transportation planning for the city and Boone County.
The organization is considering amending its Major Roadways Plan, a blueprint of how its members think Columbia roads should look by 2025, to conform to designs being developed for the expansion of Interstate 70.
If the group votes to accept the amendments, the city and the state would begin construction projects as money becomes available. In addition, the Missouri Department of Transportation could begin to create specific blueprints forexpanding I-70.
The proposal includes several new ramps and interchanges on I-70, two of which would connect to Fairview Road and Scott Boulevard. In CATSO’s current plan, these west-side roads do not extend to the interstate. Extending and expanding these roads would reduce traffic on Stadium Boulevard, according to the transportation department’s I-70 plan.
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Some west-side residents are skeptical about the proposals. David Evans, a lawyer and president of the Park de Ville Neighborhood Association, opposes the extension of Fairview because of its two-lane design and because it runs through a residential area.
“It seems like something somebody dreamed up out of the blue,” he said.
Evans, a resident of Park de Ville for 22 years, thinks there are better ways to reduce traffic on Stadium Boulevard.
Henry Warren, president of the King’s Meadow Neighborhood Association, is more accepting of CATSO’s proposed changes.
Warren said his neighborhood association is aware of growth issues in Columbia, and he recognizes the need to anticipate changes in the city’s transportation needs.
“It’s always better if major roadways are planned before major development takes place,” he said.
Neither Scott Boulevard nor Fairview Road runs directly through King’s Meadow, which lies northwest of Scott Boulevard. The extension of West Broadway included in CATSO’s recommendations, however, would cut through the neighborhood.
Several of the proposals are similar to those developed by the Kroenke Group, which funded a study of the area’s roads when it was contemplating construction of a new Wal-Mart west of Columbia Mall. Craig Van Matre, attorney for the Kroenke Group, said his clients would work with CATSO’s decision.
“My clients will have to adapt to what is adopted by MoDOT and the powers that be,” he said.
The Kroenke Group now plans to build a store at Fairview and Broadway.
The city’s Planning and Development Department has tried to listen to residents’ concerns during the planning process, said John Fleck, senior planner for the department and a member of CATSO’s technical committee.
“They realize we’re sensitive to their concerns about cut-through traffic in their neighborhoods” he said. “We’re fully aware of what their issues are.”
CATSO will also accept public input on proposed changes to roads east of the city center. Those include extending Parker Street south of Vandiver Road to connect with Business Loop 70 and a future I-70 interchange; constructing a new avenue to connect Vandiver Drive and Heriford Road; and connecting Clark Lane to Business Loop 70 across I-70.
The meeting begins at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Daniel Boone City Building, 701 E. Broadway. The public hearing appears eighth on the agenda and will follow, among other business, a report on the Department of Transportation’s plans for I-70.