Thursday, July 15, 2010

Part-time superman

I hoped to write a simple construction update about confusing and incorrectly painted bike lanes on Windsor Street, but this proved a more difficult task then I originally intended.

However, during the time that I slogged through getting my story published, I noticed that a meeting about the murals to be put up on windsor and east ash was scheduled on the city website for Thursday, July 16th.

Wait a minute, I thought, and truth be told, Thursday was the 15th!

When I met with Ted Curtis of GetAbout Columbia on Monday (the 12th) I mentioned this fact to him, asking when the meeting would be taking place, Thursday or Friday.

Talking to him on Tuesday I found out that the story would actually be taking place that night.

So, I wrote a brief that afternoon to let the public know that the meeting would actually be held that night, not that imaginary Thursday, the 16th.

(Unfortunately it didn't end up going up on the website until ten minutes before the meeting began. This is my fault because I put it in the ACE hold as being a 1 in importance because it would be happening later that evening, but I didn't notify an ACE to let them know the story was there.)

GetAbout Columbia to hold public meeting on murals Tuesday night
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | 4:49 p.m. CDT; updated 8:16 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 13, 2010

COLUMBIA — GetAbout Columbia will hold a public meeting to discuss the fall painting of murals on Windsor and East Ash streets at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the GetAbout Columbia office, on the corner of Seventh and Walnut streets.

Two of the six designs submitted by local artists are scheduled to be chosen to adorn the upcoming Bike Boulevard. The meeting will review the votes that have been collected thus far.

The designs will be drafted by the artists this fall. However, the community will be painting them. "It'll be like a paint by number," said Ted Curtis, head of GetAbout Columbia.


Bike Boulevard stripes to be repainted
Thursday, July 15, 2010 | 2:49 p.m. CDT

Here's the construction update that I ended up with days later:

COLUMBIA — Bike lane striping on Windsor Street will need to be repainted because the north side markings were misplaced by 4 feet when initially painted in May.

The company that was hired to paint the lines on Windsor and East Ash streets, Park Mark Inc., will pay for the mistake. The bike lanes are being installed for the Bike Boulevard project, which was approved by the Columbia City Council in October.

Ted Curtis, head of GetAbout Columbia and the Bike Boulevard project, said the repainting will occur within the next two weeks, depending on the weather. Park Mark will need to wait for the city's chip sealing of Windsor Street next Tuesday to settle and dry.

Both Curtis and Columbia Public Works spokeswoman Jill Stedem confirmed Park Mark will pay for the repainting. The $28,800 of federal grant money budgeting the project will not fund it.

Greg Rodgers, who has lived on Windsor Street for about 20 years, supports the project but said he is annoyed with the mistake.

“My frustration is that it has to be redone — that’s what upsets me,” Rodgers said.

Once the lines are repainted, sharrows — an icon depicting a bicyclist — will be put in place within the three dotted lines on the roads, making cyclist priority on the roads more clear.

The Bike Boulevard is planned to include the addition of a median on College Avenue, separating Windsor and East Ash streets. It is slated to be constructed by the city within the next month.

Rodgers called the proposed median, “a nice showpiece, more of a visual reminder.”

The median will provide an island for crossing pedestrians and bikers. It will also prevent northbound traffic on College Avenue from turning left onto Ash Street and southbound traffic from turning left onto Windsor Street.

Vehicles will still be welcome on the streets, but the median will reduce traffic from College Avenue to the two streets. The decrease in vehicular use coupled with the bike lanes will encourage bicyclists to travel more freely down the center of the roads. Although bicycles will have priority on the Bike Boulevard, courteous bicyclists should move to the side of the road to allow cars to pass them, Curtis said.

“I don’t expect high bike traffic in the near future,” Rodgers said. “But as people find out about it and realize that it’s there, my hope is that usage will increase.”

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