Collaboration sought for Providence Road corridor improvements

Friday, October 12, 2007 | 5:30 p.m. CDT; updated 7:13 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — Those interested in shaping how the Providence Road corridor looks in the future will get a chance to meet with the Planning and Zoning Commission soon, members of the panel decided during a work session on Thursday.

City Planning and Development Director Tim Teddy called the work session and invited the public to attend in an attempt to get closer to a decision on how to promote aesthetic uniformity of the corridor. The Providence Road Corridor Plan has been in the works since 2005.

But commission member David Brodsky voiced his disappointment about the lack of interest from the public. Only 12 people, including two reporters, attended the meeting. Although a few addressed the commission, the consensus was that the group needs more input.

“It’s important to get stakeholders and business owners involved in this,” Brodsky said.

The commission said in a purpose statement drafted in 2005 that the corridor plan is intended to acknowledge Providence Road’s status as the principal entrance into downtown from Interstate 70. For that reason, it “deserves to be a showcase street.” It said that to achieve this, “care must be taken to assure that the new developments reflect the best streetscape by controlling landscaping, parking, business uses, curb cuts, and compatibility with the existing neighborhood.”

The Planning and Development Department has identified Providence Road as well as one block in depth on either side of Providence between Vandiver Drive and Stewart Road as the area of study. The original proposal focused on a smaller area, but because of Providence Road’s function to the city, the commission felt the study area needed to be expanded on the northern end from I-70 to Vandiver Drive.

Providence Road is one of only three major north-south routes in Columbia. The other two are College Avenue and U.S. 63.

The City Council released a policy resolution on Aug. 1, 2005, expressing its preference on the rezoning and development of the Providence Road Corridor from Stewart Road to I-70. It calls for monument signs rather than pole signs, mixed-use developments with commercial on lower levels and residential on upper levels, and high levels of landscaping.

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