City of Columbia to Add More Accessibility Downtown

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COLUMBIA - Jerry Morris has been wheelchair bound for more 40 years. He said he's seen the city evolve from no accessibility to what it is today, but he still has some trouble getting around.

"Trying to park and get out of my side-entry van along Broadway is just next to impossible," Morris said. 

He said the best developments downtown have been the overpasses and curb-cuts, but other improvements, like additional parking, should be made as well, especially around the Boone County courthouse.

"I was one of many who have gone and said, 'This [parking arrangement] needs to be changed,'" Morris said. "It's not in the right place, but I'm sure within time, it will get corrected."

And that time may be sooner than Morris thought.

"They did move one of the spots," Columbia ADA Coordinator Adam Kruse said. "Public Works moved it a couple years ago because they thought it was more convenient. They moved it just down the street a little bit closer to a curb ramp, but I think we're going to move that spot back up where it was because I think we've gotten some feedback that people like the old spot better."

Plans to add about eight new accessible parking spots have also been approved by the city council. The city also said it plans to construct audible pedestrian signals at four intersections in 2014.

"Many communities already have the audible signals in, so if you're at a crossing or a signalized intersection, when it is safe to walk, you may hear either a voice command that says, 'Walk now," or a chirp that indicates that it's safe to walk," Public Works Information Specialist Steven Sapp said.

The audible signals set to be installed next year will be at Providence Road and Broadway, Old 63 and Broadway, Providence and Business Loop 70, and Providence and Stewart Road.

Other intersections approved for audible signal installation are College Avenue and University Avenue, College and Broadway, Garth Avenue and Business Loop 70, Stadium Boulevard and Maryland Avenue, Ashland Road and College Avenue, and Nifong Boulevard and Providence.