COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Monday morning, Paul Catron, 37, of Jefferson City was traveling north through the connector in a 2020 Ford Explorer. Robert Glover, Jr, 22, of Columbia was struck by the vehicle while traveling east.
Glover was transported by paramedics to University Hospital where he is in critical condition. Drug or alcohol impairment is not considered a factor.
The previous two events happened last summer, one in June and one in July, both in the evening hours, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol crash data. The last incident to occur at the connector in daylight hours was on Dec. 9, 2019.
"That area is a massive concern," said Lawrence Simonson with PedNet Coalition in Columbia. "It has a lot of issues. It's an incredibly poorly designed area."
Simonson said there are many destinations in that area that people want to walk to, but the busy intersection of two major roads has made this hard to do.
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, 126 pedestrians were killed in 2020 -- the most pedestrian fatalities in Missouri ever recorded.
MoDOT maintains I-70 and Highway 63. Simonson said there is not much local officials and advocates can do to improve safety at the connector besides lobbying MoDOT about the issue.
"We need to change where the bypass is," Simonson said. "We need to bypass this area for any motor vehicle that is just simply trying to get to I-70 or continue on 63."
Simonson said it would be best to move the bypasses elsewhere and leave that area dedicated to the businesses that are around that intersection.
After that change is made, Simonson said it would be important to design the area so that is safe for people walking.
A spokesman for MoDOT said, "We do not currently have any studies looking at pedestrian usage within the Route 63 Connector and there are no current plans for changes to be made to the current traffic configuration."
MoDOT said if future funding allows for traffic and safety changes to be made at the connector, pedestrian facilities would be a consideration for any new configurations.