COLUMBIA — The city of Columbia could install crosswalks at all four legs of the Old 63 and Stadium Boulevard intersection, after the Missouri Department of Transportation initially barred the city from building crosswalks at the south and east legs.
Public Works Director John Glascock said MoDOT and the city reached this new agreement Wednesday. MoDOT said the city could construct the two more crosswalks only if Columbia could foot the expenses itself. The two additional crosswalks would cost $20,000.
MoDOT and the city will equally split the approximately $1.4 million cost of the project's other items, MoDOT Area Engineer Mike Schupp said.
The city will use proceeds from its quarter-cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax to fund its half of the project's costs, and MoDOT will pay for its portion through the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, according to an agenda item from the May 4 city council meeting.
In addition to the two crosswalks on the intersection's east and south legs, the project will include creating dual left turn lanes from northbound Old 63 onto westbound Stadium Boulevard and improving the intersection's eastbound, westbound and southbound right turn lanes.
MoDOT originally opposed the city installing crosswalks at the east and south legs of the intersection because these stretches of roadway do not have sidewalks.
"There are no sidewalks on the south side of Stadium as you go east and no sidewalks on the east side of Old 63 as you go south," Schupp said. "What's the benefit of installing a crosswalk where there is no sidewalk to cross to?"
Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas challenged MoDOT's crosswalk installation policy during the Old 63 and Stadium project's public hearing at the May 4 city council meeting He cited that not adding sidewalks at two of the intersection's legs would endanger the pedestrians who cross it.
Upon Thomas' request, the council voted 4-3 to table a decision on the project so that the Bicycle and Pedestrian and the Disabilities commissions could further discuss their views on the project's crosswalks.
The Columbia City Council plans to vote on the measure at its July 6 meeting, but Thomas said some discussion about the project might arise during the comments section of Monday's council meeting.
If members of the council vote to approve the project in July, the Public Works Department and MoDOT would build full service crosswalks at all four legs of the intersection.
"To make the crosswalks full service, we have to put in striping on the roads, curb cuts, landings with ramp and pedestrian heads," Glascock said.Pedestrian heads, he added, are the "do not walk" electric signals commonly seen at intersections.
Though MoDOT has claimed constructing crosswalks that do not lead to sidewalks violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the act actually contains no such policy, Thomas said. He said building crosswalks at the south and east legs of the Old 63 and Stadium Boulevard intersection would accomplish the act's goal of protecting pedestrians by giving them safe places to cross the intersection.
"It is important to install crosswalks at interchanges so that people in wheelchairs and other pedestrians can get safely across the road," Thomas said. "The city's strategic plan has a major focus on social equity, and one of the components of that is to make the city safe and accessible for people who don't have cars."
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