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Friday, October 24, 2014

City considers options for barrier to prevent jaywalking on College Avenue

The barrier will be constructed in summer 2015.

March 5, 2014

A barrier to prevent jaywalking will go up on College Avenue; now, it’s just a matter of what it will look like.

A recent interested-parties meeting compared the advantages and disadvantages of each option the city is considering.

Options A, B and C consist of a 5- or 6-foot-tall barrier running along College Avenue. Options D and F have a small raised median. Option H would have a crosswalk in the middle of the road, but would require College Avenue to be widened in several parts, adding a significant cost to the $710,000 project. Alternate options include barriers with crosswalk designations cutting through.

“Those options we presented at the meeting. They all received mixed reactions,” said Clifford Jarvis, the project manager for the College Avenue Safety Enhancement project. “There were folks who didn’t like some at all.”

Jarvis said the barrier options proved most popular, although the median also received positive feedback.

“There was a general positive reaction to two preferred options, options A and B with the railing and the short stone wall, and to option E, which is just a raised median like the city built down on Providence (Road) by Douglass Park with the walk signal,” Jarvis said.

Freshman Scott Hiney said he does not believe the barriers will stop students from jaywalking.

“Students don’t want to go to the crosswalks because they’re lazy,” Hiney said. “They jaywalk because wherever they want to cross to is too far from the nearest crosswalk. Depending on how tall it is, they’re just going to go around or walk over.”

Jarvis agreed only a tall barrier would deter jaywalkers.

“If it’s a short wall, they’re definitely going to ignore it and just go over,” Jarvis said. “A tall wall that would be 5 1/2 or 6 feet tall that wouldn’t be an easy hop over, there’s going to be a compliance with that.”

The project will block left turns into and from East Campus and some of the Greek houses along College Avenue, a decision Jarvis said has proved unpopular with some residents.

“There was a group of folks that are very concerned about losing the left turns into the East Campus neighborhood and out of the East Campus neighborhood,” Jarvis said. “That barrier is going to block that left turn either way, so there were a lot of general votes that were disappointed that we weren’t allowing the left turns.”

Not allowing left turns will make College Avenue an even more congested street, Hiney said.

“If you get rid of the left turn lane, if (drivers) want to turn into any of the buildings on the left side of the road, they’ll have to go all the way up to the nearest light and make a U-turn, if it’s even legal there,” Hiney said.

Hiney also said he was concerned the barrier would simply look odd.

“It would appear really out of place and seem to cut off the far side of the road from campus,” Hiney said.

The barrier will go to City Council to be approved once a final design is chosen. Construction is slated for summer 2015.

“The city applied for a transportation enhancement grant from their highway administration,” Jarvis said. “The city is putting up 10 percent, the university is putting up 10 percent and (the Missouri Department of Transportation) is covering the other 80 percent.”

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