In the news

Meeting to discuss Fourth Ward parking, traffic calming, and utility issues

October 30, 2016

Dear Constituent:

If you live in any of the Fourth Ward neighborhoods along Stewart Road and you’re concerned about parking, traffic speeds, or utility issues, you may be interested in an upcoming meeting.

This Tuesday, November 1st from 6:30 - 8:30 pm, the Westmount Neighborhood Association will host an open, public meeting at Grant Elementary School to discuss several important neighborhood issues. Here’s the agenda (you are welcome to attend just part of the meeting):

  • 6:30 - 6:45 pm: Street lighting issues
  • 6:45 - 7:15 pm: Neighborhood sewer and utilities project
  • 7:15 - 7:45 pm: MKT sewer project and trail restoration
  • 7:45 - 8:30 pm: Parking, traffic calming, and sidewalks

With regard to parking, I have heard from many of you who are concerned about “spillover parking" from MU and downtown impacting neighborhood streets. The best approach for solving this problem is to implement a Residential Parking Permit Program (RPPP) that protects parking spaces for residents and their guests, while restricting general parking on affected streets. Richard Stone, the City’s Engineering Manager, will discuss RPPP options and answer questions at around 7:45 pm.

Also, during the final session of the meeting, I will provide information about a new potential funding mechanism for adding sidewalks and traffic calming projects to improve neighborhood life. In spite of my efforts, the City’s annual budget allocates far too little for these amenities, so requests for traffic calming and sidewalks often go onto waiting lists for a decade or more. However, Neighborhood Improvement Districts (NIDs) offer the opportunity for a cost-share program with the City that could expedite projects - find out mor on Tuesday evening.

Still on the subject of traffic calming, Stewart Road has risen to the top of the City’s priority list because of its serious speeding problems. As a first step towards project design and construction, there will be an informational meeting to present various options on Wednesday, November 16th, at 5:30 pm at the Daniel Boone Library.

Other Upcoming Events

Here are a few other upcoming events that may be of interest:

Sat., Nov. 5th - Fair and Impartial Policing Training: The Columbia Police Department will deliver to the public and media this training (received by all officers) which educates participants about human bias and ways to avoid its influence on decisions (10am-3pm at City Hall).

Sat., Nov. 5th - Memorial Service for Liz Schmidt: All are invited to honor the life of long-time social justice activist and Fourth Ward resident Liz Schmidt, who passed away peacefully on Friday 2 September 2016, aged 87 years and 1 day (1pm at Missouri United Methodist Church).

Mon., Nov. 7th - Presentation of “Vision Zero” Proposal: Members of the Pedestrian Safety Task Force will present their final report to City Council, including the recommendation to adopt a “Vision Zero” policy, asserting that traffic deaths and serious injuries are preventable and setting a goal to eliminate them (6-7pm at City Hall).

Nov. 17th-18th - Columbia/Boone County Homelessness Summit: Build consensus on the most critical needs of homeless populations in Columbia and learn about innovative strategies being applied in other communities. (Thurs., 1-9pm and Fri., 8am-12pm at City Hall).

Update on Affordable Housing Symposium Goals

The Homelessness Summit is modeled on last year’s Affordable Housing Symposium which led to five community goals. Here’s a “twelve-month update” on progress towards those goals:

Goal 1 - Create a housing trust fund: The City Council has approved the implementation of a Community Land Trust (CLT) as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, and has allocated $200,000 for the development of the Lynn Street Cottages - the first properties that will enter the trust as permanently affordable homes. The City will accept applications for the CLT’s initial board this fall.

Goal 2 - Develop and adopt an affordable housing policy: City staff will facilitate development of more comprehensive and specific affordable housing policies as part of the planning process for the next 5-Year Consolidated Plan for federal CDBG and HOME funding (2020-2025).

Goal 3 - Create incentives and remove disincentives for developers to build affordable housing: The City Council passed the City’s Affordable Housing Permit Fee Waiver and Rebate Program ordinance in June, 2016. One new affordable housing project has received the benefits of this program, with several additional projects planned for 2017.

Goal 4 - Create a Director of Affordable Housing at the City of Columbia: No progress has been made on this goal.

Goal 5 - Resolve that affordable housing is a community priority and a basic human right: City staff will facilitate development of more comprehensive and specific affordable housing policies as part of the planning process for the next 5-Year Consolidated Plan for federal CDBG and HOME funding (2020-2025).

Constituent Conversations

Finally, next month’s Constituent Conversations will be on November 6th and 20th, 2-4pm at Dunn Brothers Coffee.

Cheers, Ian