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Columbia city commission recommends Business Loop sidewalk for state funding

business loop sidewalks
KMIZ
A Columbia city commission wants MoDOT to prioritize building a sidewalk on Business Loop 70

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ) -

A city commission wants the state's transportation department to prioritize a sidewalk project on Business Loop 70 in its unfunded list.

The Columbia Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission listed a stretch of sidewalk on Business Loop 70 from Garth Avenue to Providence Road in a request to the Missouri Department of Transportation. The request asks the department to put the project on its High-Priority Unfunded Needs List, along with five other projects.

A cost estimate for the sidewalk project was not available.

The unfunded needs list tracks projects cities and counties want MoDOT to construct should funding become available. MoDOT lists just one project in the central region as high priority -- two-directional ramps at the Highway 63/Interstate 70 connector.

The commission's letter said filling sidewalk gaps, or areas of a street without sidewalks, can come with a smaller price tag while making the area safer. The commission said recent economic development on the street and the future arrival of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri's pantry could bring more pedestrians to the area.

Several agencies have sought to fill in sections of Business Loop 70 with sidewalks. Carrie Gartner, executive director of the Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District, said she is working with the city and state on a new sidewalk project between Providence Road and College Avenue. She said she would like to add the sidewalks at the same time the city moves power lines underground.

"Right now people are kind of winding through parking lots and sometimes they're forced to go out in the street, which is never safe," Gartner said. "Particularly for people in a wheelchair or young kids."

That project would cost an estimated $750,000.

Sara Huaco, owner of Carlito's near Business Loop 70 and Garth Avenue, said she liked the idea of new sidewalks in the area. She said it would make the area more walkable.

ABC 17 News multimedia journalist Joushua Blount contributed to this report.

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.

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