The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

June 18, 2013

Our View: Connecting the town

JOPLIN, Mo. — Well before the 2011 tornado, Joplin had a problem with “connectivity.” That’s right. The flow of traffic — whether it be cars, pedestrians or bicyclists — has been a sore spot with us for years.

If you, like us, think Joplin could benefit from a design makeover, now’s the time to listen up.

A workshop will be held  from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Harmony Heights Baptist Church, 2025 S. Indiana Ave., and from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the basement of Joplin City Hall, 602 S. Main St.

Representatives of the city and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency want to talk to residents about a design that is planned for the redevelopment of 20th Street.

The concept is about so much more than concrete and asphalt. It’s the big-picture approach Joplin needs.

We must change the way we think about transportation. The idea that every person should get into a car and use it as the sole means of getting around town is an outmoded way of thinking.

Joplin has the opportunity to build walking and biking lanes in areas that connect people to the places they need and want to go.

And, while we’re at it, the plan calls for planting trees and vegetation to create buffers. Some of that is simply for beautification and replacement of trees lost in the tornado. But part of the plan calls for the plantings to help reduce flooding during heavy rains. Saturday’s downpour showed us just how badly we need to deal with the runoff with something more than concrete.

While the workshop focuses on Joplin, we would encourage residents from other town to seize the opportunity to learn more about Green Street designs.

Ideally, a regional approach to connectivity would make us all better neighbors.

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