Local and State News

City to Count Pedestrians, Cyclists; Develop Plan

By Chris Trainor
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
File photo

Following a recent round of public input sessions, a program to make Columbia safer and more welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists is continuing its momentum.

As Free Times reported recently, the City of Columbia and the Central Midlands Council of Governments are collaborating on Walk Bike Columbia, an initiative to help develop a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan and Bike Share Plan for the area.

John S. Fellows, planning administrator for the City of Columbia, says there was “great turnout” for a recent set of public input sessions held in locations across the city. Residents were offered the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by walkers and cyclists in Columbia.

Next, Fellows says, the consultants will come up with recommendations for the city.

“The next thing is the consultants are going to take all that information that was gathered — they did the existing conditions, now we have the public input — and they are going to take and analyze those existing conditions and (public input) and kind of combine that and come up with a series of recommendations,” Fellows says.

Alta Planning is the lead consultant on the Walk Bike Columbia project.

Fellows says one of the bigger upcoming steps in the Walk Bike Columbia process will be gathering traffic counts for pedestrians and bicyclists. Those traffic counts will be conducted at certain designated locations throughout the city on weekdays and weekends, likely beginning in mid-September.

“(The traffic counts) will be everywhere from downtown to Harbison to Two Notch,” Fellows says.

According to Fellows, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan and Bike Share Plan will eventually have to be presented to the city planning commission, which will then make a recommendation to Columbia City Council.

Fellows notes the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee could also make a recommendation to Council.

“There would be a series of recommendations to City Council that they would then need to take action upon,” Fellows says.

The planning administrator also says, in addition to the recent informal public input sessions, there will likely be more formal public hearings as the process moves along.
The planning process for Walk Bike Columbia is expected to extend into spring 2015. For information, visit walkbikecolumbia.org.

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