Plan aims to keep bikes, pedestrians safe in Cape Girardeau, Jackson, MO

Published: Jun. 5, 2018 at 7:50 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2018 at 8:22 PM CDT
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A pedestrian cross walk on Lexington Avenue lights up to notify vehicles that someone is...
A pedestrian cross walk on Lexington Avenue lights up to notify vehicles that someone is crossing the street (Souce: Nathan Ellgren, KFVS)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A newly released plan is encouraging city leaders in Cape Girardeau and Jackson to do more to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe.

While some citizens are enthusiastic about benefits new infrastructure and more education could have, others think these types of improvements should not be a priority.

Ryan Shrimplin with the Southeast Metropolitan Planning Organization, or SEMPO, says suggestions in the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan came from citizens sharing their ideas at public meetings, through online surveys and using a wiki mapping tool.

"It allowed the public to identify what they liked and didn't like about the current systems in place and to make recommendations for changes and improvements," Shrimplin said.

Patrick Watson regularly bikes and runs on trails in Jackson and Cape Girardeau, and would like to see a trail be built that would link the two cities together.

"There are a lot of folks that live in Jackson, but work in Cape, and vice versa," Watson said. "So having a different mode of transportation to get to and from work would be very beneficial from that."

Watson also believes in the goals outlined in the plan are worth the money and would help move the two cities progress toward the future.

"Anytime you can encourage health, wellness and fitness while providing a safer environment to commute, ride or run I think that is going to encourage people to get out and use those assets that are currently present but also coming out in the future," Watson said.

Tom Laggett lives and Cape and mainly sticks to driving and believes improving areas for bicycles and pedestrians can wait.

"I would be all for it if our city roads, streets and bridges were in good shape. For now I'd rather they spend the money on city roads and bridges," Laggett said.

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Shrimplin says city leaders in Cape and Jackson have shown an interest in using the bicycle and pedestrian improvement plan as a jumping off point for future projects.

"They both have programs for these type of improvements," Shrimplin said. "Many of the projects in the plan can be quite costly. Part of the challenge will be to identify a funding source and then being able to justify the cost."

Other things in the plan are easier to implement and don't have a hefty price tag. Shrimplin says the two cities will start by reaching out to local organizations for help with educational events and local police to help enforce the rules of the road to create a safe environment for cyclists, motorists and walkers.

For more information about the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan visit SEMPO's website.

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