Your Opinion: Safe crossings needed on Missouri Boulevard
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
The April election week brings two new members to the City Council. Hopefully, new ideas, approaches and priorities will emerge during this new term. Many new issues are facing Jefferson City and among those are the city budget, transparency in city government, and a conference center. One problem however is not new — Missouri Boulevard.
The problems are evident: inadequate traffic lights or controls, left hand turns onto and off of the boulevard, unsafe entrances into businesses, to name a few. It is impossible to bike the boulevard. Crossing on foot is like playing a game of chicken. The Council and MoDOT, who share responsibility for the boulevard, should not ignore the problems or pass the buck.
Like many, I drive the boulevard daily. I often witness near misses as citizens attempt to cross the street. Getting around by car on the boulevard is hard enough. Citizens who ride the bus and need to cross the street are in even more danger. Citizens who would like to walk/bike to work are likely to give up such a plan if crossing or riding on Missouri Boulevard is required.
There is a way to partially address one part of the problem with a first step economical approach. In absence of a real pedestrian/bike safety plan for the boulevard (bike lanes, full length sidewalks, and a safe crossing system) the city/MoDOT could install walk signals at existing stop lights (approximately eight between U.S. 50 and Missouri 179).
The signals should be walker/biker activated to avoid holding up traffic unnecessarily. While this would not address the real problems of Missouri Boulevard, it would at least offer a safe way to cross. The Heisinger Street intersection is difficult and dangerous for car traffic. It is close to a bus stop where people need to cross. A new light is needed there.
The lights are far apart creating a long distance to walk to cross at a light. (A Heisinger Street light would help). Sidewalks are on one side and do not extend fully. Even if cross walks are added there is still no safe way to travel on the boulevard. But it is a start.
The Greenway offers a safe parallel route. Business and/or the city should add entry points to the Greenway from behind the shops along the boulevard. With a safe way to cross Missouri Boulevard the Greenway could then be used for travel.
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