The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 7, 2013

Our View: Moving force

The Joplin Globe

— It becomes increasingly evident that there’s a growing movement to help push and pull our area into the 21st century world of transportation.

Or should we say alternative transportation?

This week alone a group of bicyclists and runners attended a meeting in support of the construction of bike and pedestrian lanes on the new 20th Street viaduct. The supporters had heard a rumor that there was council opposition to building the bike and walk lanes on the viaduct. Fortunately, they were reassured by City Manager Mark Rohr that the city has committed to providing those lanes.

The other good news coming from City Hall on Monday was that the City Council approved an agreement to fund construction of a walking trail from Missouri Southern State University to Northpark Mall as part of the city’s trail development.

On Tuesday, bicyclists and runners were in attendance at a listening meeting hosted by the Missouri Department of Transportation and heard about upcoming challenges the state faces in maintaining state highways.

In the past decade, efforts have been made throughout the area to add recreational trails, but we still have a ways to go in our thinking about how we get from place to place.

We talk about expanding our highway system when in fact we should be talking more about ways to reduce traffic on our roadways. Bike and pedestrian lanes are one good approach.

We need a better sidewalk system and need bicycle trails that will safely take people to commercial districts, hospitals and schools in a way in which they don’t have to compete for the road.

While Joplin now has a city trolley service, we see a growing need for a transportation service that would run from Joplin to outlying towns and back.

People are talking to each other and when that happens, solutions are not far behind.