Another widening project for Broadway in Cape Girardeau is an opportunity for some constructive discussions between city engineers and business owners along the affected area.
The street work, which could start as early as next spring, would continue the widening project that was completed a couple of years ago. That first project made Broadway a four-lane street from Clark Avenue to Perry Avenue. The new project would widen Broadway from Perry to Houck Place, which is the main entrance to Houck Stadium on the Southeast Missouri State University campus.
The planned project mainly provides better access to Henderson Avenue just west of Houck Place. Henderson is the primary access to the university from Broadway.
The possibility that the street work would permanently eliminate 15 parking spaces has seven affected property owners appropriately concerned. Engineers have suggested closing Henderson on the south side of Broadway and creating a 12-space parking lot. But that would not only be a decrease in parking spots, but also the end to on-street parking in front of these businesses.
The owner of Pagliai's Pizza at the corner of Broadway and Henderson has suggested that the university include spaces for customers in the design of parking lots on the north side of Broadway across from the businesses. Planning and Zoning Commission members have echoed that suggestion.
There is a solution to all of this, but it won't happen by itself. The sooner city officials sit down with business owners to hear their ideas and concerns the better.
Part of the business owners' apprehension dates back to the first Broadway widening project when an unforeseen need to replace a sewer line delayed completion by months. In the meantime, traffic was all but stopped along that stretch of Broadway, and entrances to businesses were limited.
Now is the time to sort this out. So far, business owners have had some pretty good ideas about what would work best. Maybe the engineers will have some ideas that make the best use of those ideas.