Columbia City Council’s Clark Lane plan raises safety concerns

Oct 8, 2013

Credit KBIA

Columbia City Council has approved a plan that narrows the lanes on Columbia’s busy Clark Lane, and adds a shoulder to the road.

A city council report of possible road construction on Clark Lane in Columbia was met with protest at the City Council meeting Monday night. The plan calls for narrowing the 12 foot lanes of Clark Lane by one foot in each lane and adding at six foot shoulder.

Columbia resident Mary Hussman presented 534 cards signed in protest on behalf of Grass Roots Organizing. She said sidewalks are needed and adding the shoulder would create what she calls a “false sense of security” for pedestrians.

“We are very opposed to this -- what they’re calling something that would make it safer, we think it would make it worse,” Hussman said.

Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes said sidewalks are still planned, but the process will take years because of the need to follow all regulations and involve other government agencies. Matthes said adding a shoulder is a step the city could take sooner.

“It’s really a choice between doing something next construction season or two years from then. If you want the permanent sidewalks separated, the process we’d have to follow…we’d have to rely on MODOT, we’d have to coordinate with the federal government, it will take that long,” Matthes said.

Council members voted six to one to recommend that city’s staff move ahead with the plan.