Columbia City Council Approves School Sidewalk Project

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council voted to approve a $500,000 project that will pay for sidewalk reconstruction along the west side of Fairview Road on the property adjacent to Fairview Elementary School. The project also includes the construction of a mini roundabout at the four way intersection of Fairview Road and Rollins Road.  

Fairview Elementary Principal Diana DeMoss said the project is all about safety.

"The safety issue is the main concern and for our kids it will give them a safe route to school," said DeMoss.

She said having sidewalks on both sides of the road would allow students to walk to school without having to cross the street. She also said the construction of the sidewalks could lead to more students walking to school.

Deidra Lookingbill, mother of student Fairview Kindergarden student Augustus, said that walking to school is more than just a nice convenience - it's a way to teach children about living a healthy lifestyle.

"You want your children to be out walking as much as possible because that's the best way to teach them how to be healthy," said Lookingbill.

But she also says the lake of sidewalk can get in the way for some families in the community.

"If it's not safe for them then they're not going to learn that lesson," she said.

Along with Augustus, approximately 350 of the 550 Fairfield Elementary students live within walking distance of the school, according to DeMoss. But she says many parents opt to drive their children.

According to the traffic study for Rollins Road at Fairview Road provided by the Columbia Public Works Department, the mini roundabout will improve traffic flow and will include crosswalks for pedestrians. Parents of children at Fairview Elementary said the four-way stop usually gets backed up around the time that school lets out. They also said the intersection can get busy during bad weather.

According to the traffic study, the City Capital Improvement Fund contains the funds for the project.  

(Nichole Cartmell/KOMU)