Happy trails: Pedestrians, bicyclists get theirs

Friday, November 16, 2012
Jim Yokley with RL Persons Construction Inc. uses a bulldozer to grade a path along the north side of Route K on Thursday in Cape Girardeau. The construction is part of a project that will include a multimodal trail along Route K and signal improvements along Route K and Highway 74. (Laura Simon)

A federally funded transportation project aimed at pedestrians and bicyclists is being carved out along two of Cape Girardeau's main automobile traffic routes. It looks to connect shopping areas with the city's recreational trail.

City engineer Casey Brunke said the city has worked with the Missouri Department of Transportation on the plans that include adding a trail along the north side of William Street and nearby streets. It begins at sidewalks on Mount Auburn Road and stretches east to the Cape LaCroix Recreational Trail. It will end on the trail just past a yet-to-be-built bridge that will span LaCroix Creek as part of the project.

The route individuals normally would take to access areas along William Street has not had a designated path for pedestrians.

"We are always trying to create loops with our sidewalks and trail systems, so this is another connection," Brunke said.

A bicycle lane will be added along Highway 74, and improvements to traffic signals will be made on Highway 74 and William Street. The project includes installation of pedestrian push-button signals and crosswalks at the Broadview Street, Silver Springs Road and Saint Francis Drive intersections with William Street, and at intersections on Highway 74.

Portions of the trail will follow Silver Springs Road, Saint Francis Drive and Gordonville Road. It could not follow William Street entirely because of the large number of intersections it would need to cross. Placing it next to the road in steeply sloped areas also would prove too difficult.

Construction of the trail, which will provide new outlets to Schnucks, West Park Mall and the area around Best Buy, is expected to be complete by late summer.

MoDOT is administering funds for the project and overseeing construction and installation of signals. The cost is estimated at slightly more than $1 million, and the money will come from an allocation of federal transportation enhancement funds the state receives each year, according to Marissa Van Robey, a MoDOT representative. The department's seven districts distribute the money for projects on a competitive basis. The Cape Girardeau project was among 13 selected in 2011 when a focus was placed on bicycle/pedestrian projects.

Adaptive traffic-signal technology currently being added to intersections on William Street and Highway 74 will mean better traffic flow, said Craig Compas, district traffic engineer for MoDOT.

The new system will continuously monitor the road and take traffic counts while adjusting traffic signals for traffic it knows is coming, Compas said. Use of the system, combined with a coordinated system in place on main routes, means Cape Girardeau's traffic will follow a "green light corridor" plan already in place in Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia.

Compas expects the new system will ease wait times at traffic lights and help traffic along William Street, which is used by about 27,000 cars per day.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

William Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

Highway 74, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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