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story.lead_photo.caption School buses wait Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, for students to board them at the end of the school day at Thorpe J. Gordon Elementary School in Jefferson City. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

After several years of discussion, Adams Street residents now see an effort to place speed bumps along the street.

Residents' concerns mostly focus on the safety of students going to or leaving Thorpe J. Gordon Elementary School a block away, Hickory Street Neighborhood Park and apartment complexes on the street.

The Jefferson City Public Works Committee approved the installation of at least two speed bumps during its meeting Thursday. The project still needs approval from the full City Council.

Discussion of the issue started in 2019 when now-Ward 2 Councilman Mike Lester requested traffic-calming measures in the area.

At the time, the Public Works Committee approved additional speed signs, added the area to the police department's list of areas to watch for speeding and added the Hickory-Adams intersection to a list of areas in need of improvements.

Those improvements are part of a project now in design stages.

City Engineer David Bange said the city could install the speed bumps while also installing sidewalks along both sides of Adams Street, which was already in the works.

The city has seen some hesitancy about the sidewalks, he said.

Resident Jane Lester, the wife of Mike Lester, said her hesitancy regarding the sidewalks is having them on both sides of the street.

"Our concern about the traffic calming is about basically children, but anybody going across the road there," she said. "We have Hickory Street Park with steep banks, and kids often come down across it and across the road. I think if we had sidewalks on both sides, we would have more crossing the street. So, I don't think sidewalks would address that particular problem."

Lester said as far as she's aware, she's one of three in the neighborhood with concerns about sidewalks and wasn't going to push it too hard.

Steve Veile, who brought the request to the commission, said he thinks installing sidewalks is an exciting idea.

He also argued for placing temporary speed humps, which would allow for easier removal if it doesn't address the speed issue.

The Public Works Committee approved regular speed bumps, saying they could be removed later but could be put installed at a cheaper cost than other measures.

The committee also encouraged staff to move ahead with plans for sidewalks.

Neighborhood Services Supervisor Rachel Senzee, said staff has identified sidewalks in the area during public engagement comments over the last two years.

Senzee said she would look into whether the city could use Community Development Block Grant funding for the speed bumps, since those funds are planned to pay for sidewalks and crosswalks in the area as well.

Ward 2 Councilwoman Laura Ward, who is not on the Public Works Committee, encouraged the committee to make a decision.

"I think this is the third time this has come to Public Works, and all three times this neighborhood is represented," she said. "We all know that it is hard to get people to represent even if they have a concern regarding something going on in their immediate neighborhood. I think it's time we need to make some action."

The request for speed bumps will go before the City Council in coming weeks.

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