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Speed a problem on Stewart Road in Columbia

Speed a problem on Stewart Road in...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A dozen residents met with city engineers to discuss speed problems on their road.

Columbia Public Works held the informal discussion at the Daniel Boone Regional Library Wednesday night. The road scored highest on the department's matrix of roads "traffic calming" would help.

The Columbia City Council asked for more funds dedicated to traffic calming from the quarter-cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax passed in August 2015. Traffic engineer Lee White said he wanted to keep the cost of the Stewart Road project to $64,000.

Residents told White they've long been concerned with speeding cars on Stewart Road. The city is targeting the section of the road from Garth Avenue to West Boulevard, but many asked they extend that to Providence Road. Some residents credited the road's direct connection of central Columbia neighborhoods to the University of Missouri campus, with few stop signs or lights.

"They scored the highest, which was based off of speed, volume and other things, including pedestrian generators and proximity to schools," White told ABC 17 News.

White said the road carries 3,600 cars a day, what he would expect of a road connecting two major streets in town. The street, however, has sporadic sidewalks, no painted center lane and only a few painted crosswalks at intersections. White said a significant amount of traffic went 38 miles an hour or greater - well above the street's limit of 30 miles per hour.

Matt Smith has lived on Stewart Road for eight years. He and his wife are raising a family there, but he says he can feel the wind off cars when he, his wife and five-year-old walk.

"Generally, we try to take routes that put us on the side roads more than Stewart Road," Smith told ABC 17 News.

White provided several different options for consideration, such as more painted crosswalks, speed humps or a reduced speed limit. He told the audience when asked that he has lately favored speed tables - raised crosswalks at intersections that both require cars to slow down on the approach and improve pedestrian safety. White told ABC 17 News he didn't hear a clear consensus from residents on what they wanted to see, but would take their comments into consideration when forming specific plans.

Smith said he had confidence in the city's process and data, and would sign onto whatever idea they had to slow traffic. He supported the idea of more marked crosswalks.

"Especially for families walking with kids and kids walking alone to school," Smith said.

Public Works will plan a meeting for February to unveil those traffic calming plans. White said they are also currently working on traffic calming on the north side Rice Road and west-central Columbia's Sexton Road.

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