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Columbia City Council approves Stewart Road traffic calming

The drive down Stewart Road is about to get bumpier.

For some residents, that’s a positive development.

In a 5-0 vote, the Columbia City Council on Monday approved new features on Stewart Road aimed at slowing traffic between Garth Avenue and West Boulevard. Council members Ian Thomas and Clyde Ruffin were absent from the meeting. The features include two speed humps, two speed tables and three crosswalks along the 1-mile stretch.

Columbia Public Works ranked Stewart Road the most in need of traffic calming, due to its volume of traffic, average speed and pedestrian activity along the road. The analysis showed 3,900 cars use the road daily, with many traveling at 39 mph on the road, which has a 30 mph speed limit.

Residents who spoke Monday had a mixed reaction to the plan. Many agreed that speeding on Stewart Road needed to be addressed, and claimed to see some cars going well over the 39 mph reported by Public Works. Keith Politte lives at the corner of Stewart Road and West Boulevard, and said he is still paying for the damages caused by a car that sped into his yard and crashed last year, splitting a boulder and tree in the front yard.

“The fender hit my house, dented my house,” Politte told the council. “This is twice in the last year. This happens perpetually.”

Annice Wetzel lives on Edgewood Avenue and travels Stewart Road daily to get to her job at the University of Missouri. She said speeding issues may pose a problem for homeowners on the west end of Stewart Road, but doubted how effective the new features would be elsewhere. She fears the damage the speed humps, whcih will be located near each other at Edgewood Avenue and Westmount Avenue, will cause her car.

“I have gone to work in rush-hour traffic, day and night, for 40 years,” Wetzel said. “And I don’t see that there’s that kind of speeding problem.”

Public Works expects the job to cost $31,800 and plans to perform the work by the end of the September.

(Editor’s note, 10:37 p.m.: An earlier version of the story referred to a person named ‘Brian Pollitt’ in the story. The person’s name is Keith Politte, and has been updated.)

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