North Columbia lacks safe access for pedestrians
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia is proposing a new trail connection project that would connect northern parts of the city near Cosmopolitan Park, across the diverging diamond interchange on Stadium Boulevard, to the the area around the Columbia Mall.
Some are concerned about pedestrians walking on the shoulder of the road on Business Loop 70 West where there's a 300 foot stretch or so of missing sidewalk links. Pedestrian safety advocate Joe Alder said he's familiar with the safety issue of pedestrians near 1-70 and Stadium.
"I drive along this roadway at night coming home from work," Alder said. "I don't want to think there's a possibility that I might hit a pedestrian that I don't see."
The trail connection would include linking the end of sidewalk on Business Loop 70 West to the cross walk on Stadium Boulevard. This link would attach to the center pedestrian walkway on the diverging diamond interchange.
The trail connection would eliminate a lot safety concerns with pedestrians walking on the shoulder of the roads where there's no sidewalks.
In October, KOMU reported a woman was walking on the shoulder of the road along Rangeline when she was hit by a car and killed after the vehicle veered off the road.
Park Planning and Development Department Superintendent Mike Synder said the trail connection would make it safe and accessible for walkers and bike riders on the northern side of 1-70 to cross through the diverging diamond interchange.
"The connection will make walkers less vulnerable," Synder said. "People would have a safe accessible route to travel all the way from Cosmo Park to the mall."
The trail connectivity project is broken down is phases based on priority. The first priority is the trail connection from Cosmo Park, across Business Loop 70 West, to the diverging diamond interchange. This includes linking the end of the sidewalk on Business Loop 70 West to the crosswalk. Also, the city plans to link trails in Cosmo Park with a new trail connection to the Bear Creek Trail.
The project is dependent upon if the city receives funding from Federal Transportation Alternatives Program. According to documents included in the proposal, the total cost of the project is $625,000. The bulk of the cost or $500,000 will be provided in federal aid money. The other $125,000 will come from local funding through the city's sales tax for parks.
Synder said he estimates the project would take around 2 years to be completed.