The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 20, 2013

Our View: Keep lanes open

The Joplin Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — Earlier this week, we encouraged residents to attend a Green Streets workshop being presented by the city of Joplin and the Environmental Protection Agency.

We’re glad we did. It gave residents an opportunity to voice their opposition to the idea of narrowing 20th Street from four lanes to two lanes. The consideration came as a surprise to us and to the public.

The notice about the workshop indicated the proposal would look at 20th Street’s redevelopment as “a major commercial corridor.” The presentation was to explore “enhancing walkability and bike lanes, trail connectivity, and transportation elements along the corridor,” according to our earlier interviews with city officials.

The proposal as pitched was to link Main Street, Joplin High School, the proposed library/theater, Campbell Parkway and Highview Avenue for walking and use of bicycles.

We support all those things.

But the proposal made Tuesday night includes narrowing 20th Street from four lanes to two lanes from Main Street to Campbell Parkway.

That just doesn’t make sense if the city considers 20th Street a major commercial corridor.

The plan for a tree-lined street is beautiful, but it’s impractical for that location.

City Planner Troy Bolander said the purpose of the meetings was to gather feedback. He said after residents decide what they like or don’t like, the design will be altered and submitted to the City Council, which eventually will decide whether to fund the plan design.

While we don’t see the notion of a narrower 20th Street going anywhere, we hope the commitment to sidewalks, trails and bike paths doesn’t take a detour.