Proposed Columbia crosswalk causes concern among residents

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COLUMBIA - A new sidewalk planned along Manor Drive has caused concern among residents, specifically the location of a mid-block crossing at what residents call a "blind corner."

"We have a broad street, people feel it's wide open," Manor Drive resident Melissa Tague said. "Crossing where traffic is possibly the worst is our big concern."

The current plan will include approximately 2,550 feet of new sidewalk, which would start along the west side of Manor Drive and then cross at Manor Court. There it would connect to an existing sidewalk that extends along the east side of Manor Drive from West Broadway for a few dozen feet. That intersection, though, is in the middle of a narrow "S" curve. Several residents said the curve, combined with the low visibility of the area from a hill, makes the location far too dangerous for a crosswalk. The crosswalk they said would predominately be used by young children on their way to Russel Boulevard Elementary School and West Middle School. 

"We don't want them to cross at all," Tague said. "Have them stay on the same side of the street."

The Manor Drive Sidewalk project has been in the works since 2008. The Nonmotorized Transportation (GetAbout) Program will fund the project. Along with a new sidewalk, the project would also improve 26 driveways on Manor to meet ADA requirements.

"I moved in here 10 years ago," Pam Roe, another Manor Drive resident said. "My children are now older than elementary school age, but I refused to let my kids walk to school to Russel  Boulevard Elementary because the street is just too dangerous."

Even with the concern about the crossing, residents said they are excited to have a sidewalk along their street. 

"It builds community when you see your neighbors and you go walk the streets, walk your dog, you get your morning walk and see all these people, it really builds community," Tague said. 

"They're talking about taking six feet out of my front yard," Roe said, "I'm OK with that, because I do think it's a safety thing and our children deserve that, along with all walkers and bikers."