Bicycle/pedestrian improvements in Columbia stir controversy

According to a Columbia Tribune article:

Does this look like the kind of place you would like to go shopping?

The proposed changes are part the PedNet project, a federally funded pilot program aimed at improving nonmotorized transportation. Columbia will receive $22 million over four years in the project.

The Columbia City Council voted Sept. 17 to table the plan, granting a request by area business owners who said they wanted more time to review the plan. The city council will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its Oct. 15 meeting.

Several groups at the open house shared views.

Jay Lindner, Forum Development Group executive vice president, talked about Forum Plaza tenants’ concerns with the plan, specifically delays the design changes would cause at the intersection.
The experience with traffic calming measures like this across the country is that business owners oppose them until they are in place--then begin to strongly support them.

In San Francisco, business owners often strongly opposed bicycle lanes and other similar measures when these measures were first proposed. Now it is routine for businesses to request bicycle lanes and other traffic calming measures for their streets.

The reason is that fast traffic literally scares away customers.

Customers do not want to walk in an area with fast traffic--and that includes walking after they have parked their cars somewhere nearby.

They do not want to slow and pull into parking lots in areas where there is fast traffic.

And most of all, they do not want to be in an area where there is fast traffic.
Slower traffic makes a place customers want to be--and that is what business owners want.