Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011, By: Ryan Bowling, Xpress editor email@example.com
Nixa’s City Council spent Valentine’s Day gathering more input from residents on Verna Lane who think a proposed bicycle and pedestrian pathway that would alter parking might not be the best idea. Last month residents who would lose their on-street parking to the striping path had their say—Monday night, residents from the other side of the street took up more than hour of the council’s Feb. 14 regular meeting.
“We’re not saying ‘maybe,’ we’re saying ‘no,’” Verna Lane resident Russ Mohrman told the council.
Residents on both sides of Verna Lane are concerned that prohibiting parking on one side of the street to make room for the bicycle and pedestrian pathway will lower their property values and make a dangerous road even more treacherous.
“How safe are they in fact when people are flying down the street,” Dan Hankins said.
The striping project is part of a $149,000 enhancement grant the city received in December from the Ozarks Transportation Organization to install sidewalks and stripe pedestrian and bicycle pathways in southwest Nixa, connecting Nixa High School, Mathews Elementary and Espy Elementary.
But residents say the 31-foot-wide Verna Lane, which is a popular outlet for drivers leaving Nixa High School, isn’t conducive for a pathway despite grant approval from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
“MoDOT realizes how we’re going to apply that lane,” City Planner Travis Cossey told the council. “A 5-foot-wide striped area accommodates what we’re needing.”
In addition to the striping along Verna Lane, the enhancement project includes construction of 2,271 feet of 4-foot wide sidewalk to connect with existing sidewalks on Nicholas Road, Cossey said. The city will install another 380 feet of sidewalk on Butterfield Drive.
The bulk of the nearly 2-mile loop utilizes existing roadways striped on one side to create bicycle-pedestrian pathways as part of a city and Nixa School District emphasis to create more safe routes for students to walk to school.
“We concentrated on southwest Nixa because it provided a loop,” Cossey said.
Residents encouraged the council to look at other options that would allow pedestrians easy travel between Nicholas and Gregg roads, but Cossey said that would be detrimental to the grant.
“The grant provides money for what was applied for,” he said. “It does not allow for deviations. If we change the route, we would be forfeiting our grant.”
Mayor Sam Clifton said a vote on whether to prohibit parking on one side of Verna Lane as well as Butterfield Drive will happen at the city’s March 14 regular meeting.