City Council discusses transportation, art

Discussion included restricting large trucks on a local scenic route.
Resident Paul Love speaks with Columbia City Council members about design concepts for the new addition of the City Hall Building on Monday at City Hall. The City Council discussed prohibiting through truck traffic along a portion of Rock Quarry Road, among other issues.

Columbia City Council members met Monday to discuss bills on transportation, artwork for City Hall and future plans for development of East Boone County.

A report detailing the Windsor-Ash Bicycle Boulevard was presented to the Council after a citizen reported that the new bicycle-friendly street was not being constructed in line with what City Council Members promised earlier this year.

The original memo incorrectly stated right turns from College Avenue onto Ash Street would be eliminated; it should have said right turns onto Windsor Street, not Ash Street, would be prohibited.

Essentially, a bicycle boulevard discourages through-traffic from using the road, which makes it friendlier to cyclists.

In another report provided to the Council, staff asked for council members to consider allowing motorcycles to park in City parking garages. The City recognized MU’s practice of allowing both bicycles and motorcycles to utilize otherwise wasted space within parking structures. The report did not ask for council action at this time, but suggested it was “for information only."

The Council voted to withdraw an ordinance limiting traffic on the Scenic Route of Rock Quarry; they referred it to Energy and Environment Commission of Planning and Zoning to gather more information before making a decision. The proposed ordinance would have prohibited trucks with more than four axles from driving on Rock Quarry Road between Stadium Boulevard and Grindstone Parkway.

“A lot of commercial through-truck-traffic degrades that scenic quality of the road, which all Columbia residents, I think, cherish,” Columbia resident Fred Young said. “It’s not a great truck route anyway.”

Mayor Bob McDavid said he didn’t believe truck traffic on Rock Quarry Road was even a problem.

“I think what we’re asking is not really enforceable, and I’m not sure it’s in the best interest of the city,” McDavid said.

Sixth Ward City Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe disagreed. She said she thought large truck traffic, even some trucks with fewer than four axles, would destroy the quality of the road and the scenic route.

“I guess I was disappointed in the quality of the report and the information,” Hoppe said. “We have a lot of development that’s coming south of (Rock Quarry Road) and they’re going to try to take the shortest route and do a lot of destruction of that road.”

At the beginning of the meeting, City Council approved artwork and design concepts for City Hall’s second and third floor lobby created by artists Lampo Leong and Chris Morrey. The Cultural Affairs Standing Committee on Public Art previously approved Leong’s paintings and Morrey’s sculptures.

“The paintings combine abstract expressionist design with subtle aerial imagery of Columbia,” Cultural Affairs Commission Chairman Kip Goodman said. “The text on each painting, the interplay of English letters and Asian calligraphy represents the integration of various cultures in Columbia.”

Columbia resident Paul Love voiced concern that $65,000 is being spent on artwork when City workers haven’t had a raise in two or three years.

The Council briefly discussed the East Action Plan, an attempt to look forward at what development may be necessary in the area west of U.S. 63 and south of Interstate-70. The plan shows detailed research into the needs of Columbia and eastern Boone County residents.

If approved, the East Action Plan will expand residential land use farther east, retracting some of the agricultural land use, but also preserving a lot of it. In the Executive Summary of the East Action Plan, the balancing act the City would like to strike between industrialization and conservation is proposed clearly.

“This plan attempts to strike the necessary balance between two competing issues: environmental protection and developmental expansion," the summary stated. "A successful, progressive and forward-thinking community needs both."

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