Implementing the Capital Area Active Transportation Plan.
Active transportation, which is defined as “human-powered mobility,” is something people all use to get to and from resources and destinations in their community. When asked what active transportation means to him, engineer David Bange responded, “We are all pedestrians.”
Whether it is parking our cars and walking two blocks to meet friends and family for dinner, walking children to school, or using wheelchair accessible ramps to get to work, many people spend a portion of their day utilizing active transportation to access necessities. Many people also use active transportation for recreation. Walking, hiking, and biking are all popular ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors. In fact, bicycle recreation and tourism are fast-growing markets. The Katy Trail attracts many visitors each year and is vitally important to the local economy.
In a 2021 article by the Columbia Missourian, Melanie Smith, the Katy Trail Coordinator for Missouri State Parks, stated, “At least 400,000 people visit the trail each year … In 2020, we had much higher visitation — closer to 700,000.”
With increased use of the trail, residents and visitors alike benefit from improvements to infrastructures, and the Capital Area Active Transportation Plan seeks to help with those improvements. The plan integrates the Greenway Master Plan (2007), Jefferson City’s Sidewalk Plan (2010), the Holts Summit Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Transit Plan (2014), and the Capital Area Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan (2016). The plan will generally include the following:
- A comprehensive set of strategies to ensure better options for biking, walking, and transit
- Prioritization of infrastructure improvements(sidewalks, greenways, bike lanes, signage, etc.)
- Recommendations for new policies, processes, and programs
The plan is being produced by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), which provides long-range transportation planning services for a region that extends beyond Jefferson City to include Holts Summit, St. Martins, Taos, and Wardsville.
So, why can’t the Department of Planning and Protective Services build all the sidewalks and greenways shown in the plans? Implementing the strategies and improvements identified in plans such as this is challenged by several factors including, but not limited to, availability of funding, timing, competing infrastructure priorities, building community consensus, challenging topography, political will, and the acquisition of easements or right-of-ways. New infrastructure must also be constructed in compliance with federally regulated design standards like those outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Adherence to the standards provides residents with access and mobility that is imperative to daily life.
While city and county officials balance a host of challenges in building new sidewalks and greenways, one challenge rises to the top — funding. In order to reduce costs and limit disruption of services, city and county officials work closely with other local utilities to complete improvements or repairs in tandem. Approximately $100,000 of local sales-tax dollars in Jefferson City is used to build sidewalks annually. At a base cost of $86 a linear foot for a sidewalk with a curb and gutter, one city block (460 feet) costs approximately $39,560. The side-walks built 60 or more years ago, like those in the central part of Jefferson City, were built by tax-billing individual property owners along specific streets. However, most of the sidewalks and greenways constructed in the last 20 to 40 years were constructed as part of a subdivision or commercial development, funded through federal or state grants, Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grants, or Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). In the past 10 years, more than $5.1 million in federal grants have been utilized to complete at least 13 sidewalk or greenway related projects in the CAMPO region. In recent years, these grants have provided the majority of funding for building the active transportation network.
The Capital Area Active Transportation Plan will outline strategies and proposed infrastructure that will
connect activity hubs via safe, equitable infrastructure while encouraging movement and physical activity. The plan will also include recommendations on several topics such as engineering best practices, crime prevention and safety, accessibility, inclusivity, coordination, maintenance, education, and community engagement.
Funding for the Capital Area Active Transportation Plan is provided by the CAMPO Consolidated Planning Grant with the required local match provided by JC Parks. After a public comment period, the CAMPO Board of Directors will take up the plan for approval.
More information about the project is available on the CAMPO Active Transportation webpage at jeffersoncitymo.gov/campo.