Columbia's Range Line project receives city and public support

According to an article in today's Columbia Tribune, proposed improvements to Range Line Street in Columbia have received the support of the city council and citizens in attendance:
Columbia is going ahead with plans to ask state transportation officials to approve a $29.8 million plan to widen and improve a stretch of Range Line Street in north Columbia.

Residents and property owners along the road - also known as Highway 763 - urged the Columbia City Council last night in a public hearing to move forward on a plan to add four 12-foot driving lanes, a 92-foot right of way, two 8-foot shoulders and two 6-foot sidewalks.

"There is no more worthy project in Columbia than taking a crack at this corridor," said Cris Burnam of the North Columbia League. . . .

City officials were pleased by turnout at the public hearing, where five area residents spoke in favor of the $29.8 million plan as a first step toward improving the overburdened corridor. . . .

"We want to build a road that’s going to benefit as much of the community as possible," said Mayor Darwin Hindman, a frequent advocate of sidewalks and pedways, which are wider sidewalks aimed to attract bicyclists and wheelchair users. Highway "763 deserves to be as good a road as we can possibly make it," he said.
According to the Columbia Missourian, a proposal for a narrower roadway that would still have met the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians was proposed, but after extensive discussion the city council decided to go with the wider and more expensive proposal. There is a budget shortfall but the city hopes to meet it by getting some of the right of way donated, by creating a special taxing district, and by other means.

MoBikeFed news has previously reported on the Range Line project. Increasing property values in the area and delays in planning and construction have led to a greatly increased price for the project. Some have then attacked the bicycle and pedestrian accommodations in the project as being too expensive. Mayor Hindman has defended the bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, which are required by Columbia's major street plan.

Columbia's PedNet Coalition recently published an explanation for the increased cost of the project and a defense of the bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.