Historically, navigating across College Avenue between the Rollins Avenue and University Avenue blocks has long proved to be a dangerous challenge for the students of MU and the entire community.
The MSA Campus and Community Relations Committee sought to express the stance of the MU students regarding this issue, and work with the Columbia City Council to see what could be done to increase pedestrian safety in the area.
Chad Phillips, chairman of the CCRC, took notice of the College Avenue pedestrian safety issue and brought students to the Columbia City Council meeting in hopes of presenting the students’ concerns.
“I realized that there is power in numbers and reached out to any concerned student groups or MSA members still in Columbia and available to attend,” Phillips said.
Their work has helped to result in the construction of two new High-Intensity Activated crosswalk beacons and a fenced, stone-stamped median on College Avenue. The roadwork is set to be completed by the summer of 2015.
Phillips said this project gained steam when councilwoman Ginny Chadwick, a valuable connection for MSA, brought it to his attention.
Chadwick noted that it could have an impact on students in the area. Right away, plans began to come together.
“Immediately, MSA Senate and Executive branch members began formulating a plan of action and determined what proposed solutions would be best for students,” Phillips said.
Phillips worked especially close with MSA Senate Speaker Benjamin Bolin, who lauded Phillips’ actions.
“Chad deserves all the credit. He brought everyone together for this issue,” Bolin said.
Bolin said the Columbia City Council weighed all possible options in regards to the project, which originally ranged from doing nothing to adding a physical barrier in the College Avenue median.
By reaching out to MU students, Phillips enabled them to make their own concerns known regarding College Avenue and its dangers.
2014 MU graduate Dean Pearce, who lived on East Campus last year, said he had noticed the dangers of the College Avenue crossing when he was a student at MU.
“In my time on East Campus, I saw so many students, including myself, run past speeding cars on College (Avenue),” Pearce said. “I always felt like I was going to get hit at some point, which means something should be done.”
Phillips said he is proud of the collaboration on the issue between MSA and City Council.
“By gathering students, we were able to have several students alongside myself speak passionately about this issue and make the City Council aware that the student body does care and we do have a voice on city projects that may affect us, such as this one,” Phillips said.