Columbia residents suggest ideas to leadership council to make downtown safer

Parking and pedestrian safety among top concerns

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The downtown leadership council held an open discussion Monday night for citizens to come up with ideas to solve top concerns about downtown Columbia, such as parking and pedestrian safety.

Downtown roads are heavily traveled on a daily basis. Cars, bikes and walkers use these roads to get in and out of downtown.

As Columbia continues to grow, pedestrian safety is a rising concern.

"College students are zipping through while buses are trying to navigate tight turns," said Columbia resident Amy Sarver.

Some residents who attended the meeting had some ideas to make one street, College Avenue, a safer place.

Not all intersections have a crosswalk, so students dart across the street at various locations to get where they need to go.

More crosswalks and lowering the speed limit were two ideas tossed around to fix what some are calling a nightmare.

"It's not an ideal situation for families," Sarver said.

Downtown parking was another topic of discussion. The limited spaces and the rising cost are affecting all residents.

Some say they believe working with the University of Missouri to better utilize campus parking could help.

The ideas tonight were just a start, but the Downtown Leadership Council believes they are heading in the right direction.

"There's a millions players here, but this was to get the common voices together and to see where we can be kind of a clearing house for some of these ideas," said member Deb Sheals.

Chairwoman Rosie Gerding said they can't make any final decisions. But they can present ideas and advice to the ones who can.

"Our group has no authority to enforce anything," Gerding said. "What we do is advise the City Council on issues that they ask us to advise them on."

Two of the people who do have the power to make change were at the meeting. Councilman Karl Skala and councilwoman Barbara Hoppe sat in on the discussion.

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