Columbia Public Works Wants Input on Pedestrian Signals

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Works will host an informal open house Wednesday to get feedback on where to place new pedestrian signals that will be installed at busy intersections like the intersection of College Avenue and Broadway. 

The meeting will be held from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at City Hall. 

In July 2013, the Columbia Disabilities Commission voted to spend $40,000 to install audible pedestrian signals around Columbia. An audible pedestrian signal can help the visually impaired by making a noise that lets them know it is safe to cross an intersection. 

Adam Kruse, Staff Liaison for the commission, said the city council gave the commission money in this year's budget to carry out the project. 

Kruse said audible pedestrian signals range anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 per intersection, so the $40,000 allotted for the project will pay for audible signals at four intersections. 

Kruse said the commission recognized ten intersections in Columbia in which audible pedestrian signals could be installed.

Kruse said the commission looked at intersections with high traffic and areas that it believed would be the most beneficial to the community.

"The purpose of the audible pedestrian signals is to improve pedestrian safety, particularly for pedestrians who are blind or have low vision," Kruse said. "So I think they picked some major intersections to begin with because they are not cheap to install."

The ten intersections are:

Providence and Broadway
Old 63 and Broadway
Providence and Business Loop
Stewart and Providence
University and College
College and Broadway
Garth and Business Loop
Stadium and Maryland
Ashland and College
Nifong and Providence

Street Engineering Manager Scott Bitterman said the money will be used to place audible signals at intersections that already have pedestrian signals. Bitterman also said the money could be used to place audible signals at intersections in which the city plans to install new pedestrian signals. 

Bitterman said College and Broadway is the intersection being worked on right now because it is more complicated.

Bitterman also said College and Broadway had a plan in place to install pedestrian signals, but because of the commission's input Columbia Public Works is also going to do the audible pedestrian signals.

"Once we see what types of things the community thinks should be added, adjusted, or modified to the plan we will take it to city council, and city council will vote sometime in the future," Bitterman said.

Bitterman said he hopes construction starts before the end of 2014, and depending on the start date and weather conditions the project could be completed anywhere from one to six months.