Critics Pan Proposed Paving of Trail
Ted Curtis paved many trails and bike routes in St Louis.
"We got incredible increased usage," he recalled. "In Forest Park, for example, we had to go to a separate side path [because] it got so much use."
Columbia has hired Curtis to try to increase non-motorized transporation across the city.
His proposal to pave the MKT Trail targets a specific user.
"It's much safer for a bike to use because it's not as slippery, they have better control in emergency situations," he explained. "So there are a lot of reasons just from a safety standpoint."
However, critics contend there are better ways to improve the trail.
"I would rather see them spend that kind of money extending the trail all the way along the city possibly, rather than actually paving it," said user David Adams.
"Things that I think would be really beneficial would be possibly lighting through the really heavy usage areas," said Shannon Canfield of Walt's Bicycle. "That way, people commuting, especially this time of year later in the evening, wouldn't have to worry about hazards, as far as things being in the trail or other safety concerns."
Such complaints don't surprise Curtis.
"Probably the best approach to a concept like this, because it's a pretty new concept in this city because people haven't seen how it works elsewhere, is to do a couple of pilot projects," he said. "Try a little bit, see how it works, see if we can handle the increased usage."
If the Columbia City Council approves the paving plan, a federal grant would pay for it because the community is participating in the government's non-motorized transportation pilot program.