Group to Hold Meeting Monday to Discuss Ashland Road Sidewalk

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COLUMBIA - Columbia's Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program called GetAbout Columbia is close to making more sidewalk improvements.

One of the improvements would add a sidewalk to Ashland Road between Stadium Boulevard and East Campus Loop. The project would also add a raised concrete median and crosswalk on Stadium Boulevard, making the crossing wheelchair accessible.

The area is near large student apartment complexes such as Tara Apartments. Students walk along the bike lane on Ashland Road where there is no sidewalk.

MU student Natalie Wehner walks along the Ashland Road bike lane everyday to class and said the sidewalk addition would be useful.

"It would be nicer and we don't have to worry about getting in the way of the bikes then," Wehner said.

The project was initially put on GetAbout Columbia's priority projects list in 2009, but because other projects were higher on the list, there wasn't enough federal funding for the Ashland Road project.

The estimated cost of the project is $256,000 and it is scheduled to begin in 2014. GetAbout Columbia program engineer Cliff Jarvis said the additions will improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.

"This project gets [pedestrians] all off of the street and onto a sidewalk, at least north of Stadium. It also picks up pedestrians, not just student pedestrians coming from the east apartment complexes over there," Jarvis said.

There will be a public input meeting about the Ashland Road sidewalk improvements Monday, September 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be held at the Shepard Boulevard Elementary School media center and the public is encouraged to come and voice any concerns.

Jarvis said he hopes to have the project completed by next summer.