Hunt Ave. remake approved in slimmer size

Monday, December 3, 2007 | 10:44 p.m. CST; updated 1:44 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The City Council gave the reconstruction of 1,500 feet of Hunt Avenue between West Worley Street and I-70 Drive Southwest the go-ahead at its meeting Monday night, approving a scaled-down version of the original plan.

Council unanimously passed a motion for the construction of a 24-foot-wide street and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk.

The original proposal called for widening the road from 20 feet to 28 feet to allow cars to park on both sides of the road, the addition of a sidewalk to the west side curb and drainage improvements.

The plan will affect the size of front yards on the west side of the street to avoid relocating a higher number of existing power poles on the east side, but the altered plan minimizes the size reduction, council members said.

The reduction of the width of the road is a result of the council’s consideration for homeowners who voiced opposition in public hearings Nov. 5 to the addition of a sidewalk. Some homeowners, particularly those living on the west side of the street, said they were reluctant to accept reduction of their front yards.

But Second Ward Councilman Chris Janku, echoed by Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala, said he thought the plan should include a sidewalk.

“I can go along with the narrow street here, given the physical constraints with the existing houses and how close they are,” said Janku. “But I do believe that we need a sidewalk there.”

He said that over time, people with children will move into the houses and that it is likely that the young families will appreciate having a sidewalk in their front yards so their kids can walk to the nearby schools.

At the Nov. meeting, the council tabled the Hunt Avenue project, pending a city review of pleas from property owners for a scaled-down project.

At that meeting, the staff was directed to prepare cost estimates for a 24-foot-wide road, with and without the sidewalk, according to a City Council report.

The staff found that there was no significant difference in cost between the two options.

“I’m one to support the 24-foot-wide street with a sidewalk to minimize impact on the existing structures in the neighborhood,” Janku said.

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