Bicycle Boulevard Sees Extension

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COLUMBIA - The Bicycle/Pedestrian Commission met Wednesday night where members discussed extending an experimental bicycle boulevard.

As a part of the extension, the commission would like to upgrade the College Avenue structure to a more permanent structure. However, the commission needs city council approval for a capital project. City officials say the College Avenue structure will be kept in place as is.

The commission wants to extend the boulevard east to Stephens Lake Park via a pedway on Walnut Street. The commission will also add an enhanced crossing at Old 63 that will be complete in January 2012. The commission said the extension will allow safe access to the Stephens Lake Park and to the Broadway Bluffs shopping area.

The commission added that the bicycle boulevard is favored in the community. After surveying about 20 people, the commission saw overwhelming support for the bicycle boulevard.

The commission also conducted traffic counts in Spring 2010 and Spring 2011. The commission said the bicycle boulevard reduced traffic by 45 percent. The commission reported that vehicle traffic went down from 942 vehicles per day to 522.

Another jump in numbers occurred with bicycle traffic. The commission said bicycle traffic measured during morning and evening rush hours went from 33 bicycles to 71 bicycles, a 125 percent increase.

The commission also reported that the average speed of vehicles along the bicycle boulevard decreased by two miles per hour, going from 26 to 24 miles per hour.