Safer Sidewalks Coming to Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Pedestrians crossing the intersection of Business Loop 70 and Providence Road Wednesday said the intersection is unsafe to cross on foot. But the Columbia City Council passed a plan Monday night that will revamp the sidewalks and streets around that particular intersection to add safety.

The intersection does not have a pedestrian signal, so pedestrians must cross the street with the traffic lights. Under the new plan, the crosswalk would be repainted and widened to about ten feet. The city would also add pedestrian signals and make the sidewalk more accessible.

"There will be a pedestrian island," engineer Richard Stone said. "We will also make it more accessible by making a ramp."

The city is concerned because this particular intersection is adjacent to Hickman High School. Many high school students use these streets and sidewalks for lunch.

"I see students walking across the street everyday," police officer Dan Wright said. "The kids wait for the light to turn and then have to run across the street. It's a safety concern."

One student said he welcomes the changes.

"The intersection is scary," Hickman student Donell Green said. "I've almost been hit several times. They really need to add a security guard or a signal."

At the Taco Bell on Providence Road, many students expressed their displeasure with the intersection.

The city still has to vote on a contractor, but it expects no obstacles in the process.

The city expects to begin construction after the school year ends in June and be completed by the time the new school year begins.