Study shows crosswalk on Providence Road increases safety

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A University of Missouri study shows the crosswalk across Providence Road between Worley and Ash Street in Columbia has increased pedestrian safety and decreased speeding on the road.

Providence is a heavily traveled Columbia road and a road many people need to cross every day.

The pedestrian crosswalk opened in the spring of 2013, replacing a pedestrian bridge the city said many people didn't use.

"The project itself was funded by the federal unmotorized transportation grant to take down the bridge and replace it with a crosswalk that was accessible from street level and be safer for people crossing," said Ward Four councilman Ian Thomas.

Since the project has been completed, Thomas said they've counted more people using the walk, and that's not the only thing.

"We saw a very significant drop in the average speed and extremely significant drop in the number of speeding vehicles going down that corridor," he said.

According to the report, the average speed dropped from 34.8 miles per hour to 33.5 miles per hour. The number of cars driving more than 35 miles per hour in the area dropped from 46 to 36 percent.

ABC 17 News took a radar gun and found the average speed during peak traffic time, around 5 p.m., was 25 miles per hour.

People who use the crosswalk had mixed feeling about its effectiveness.

Some said they believe it really improved safety. Others said they still see a lot of people walking across the busy street.

But Thomas said he believes the project is a success and that there could be similar future projects in Columbia.

"There's definitely the potential for some of these future projects to do this kind of research project and see the impact it's having on how people choose to travel around town," Thomas said.

The federal grant for walkers, bikers or those who use a wheelchair is still being used to fund various infrastructure safety projects around town.

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