OPINION

Letter to the Editor: Move Rolla Transportation Development District Open House

Submitted by Chester Kojro

Dear Editor,

I attended the Move Rolla Transportation Development District open house meeting on 15 September and very much dislike the options presented. 

Alternative 1A leaves everything alone (at no cost).  The other alternatives each propose various changes to Pine Street but all of them change Rolla Street into a two-way.  Missing is an “Alternative 1C” to only change Rolla Street into a two-lane two-way street (and provide cost estimate) and leave Pine Street alone. 

The matter of “angled parking” is simply a planning distraction.  In the Alternatives, the two-lane streets have parallel parking while single-lane one-way streets have angled parking.  This matter should be deferred until after the decision on traffic flow. 

Parklets sound quaint enough when used as extended outdoor dining in front of restaurants, as in the illustrations, but will they otherwise serve as public lounge areas?  Who will actually be responsible for and pay for their cleaning and upkeep and how will that be enforced and maintained? 

But my real concern is what is the City really trying to do to its Downtown?  What is the expected result to Downtown business of changing traffic flow that cannot be done much faster, cheaper, and more effectively through better signage and advertising?  Think about it.  Pretend that you are a tourist and unfamiliar with Rolla.  You drive south on Bishop and following the sign for “Downtown” you turn onto Pine Street.  You follow it until redirected to Rolla Street and, well, aside from some businesses you just keep going past 6th and cross the BNSF tracks, pass the County Courthouse and Jail and come to 72 HWY.  Okay, consider driving the other direction, heading east on Kingshighway until you turn left onto Pine Street.  What appealing, eye-catching information and business signs do you see?  See all those colorful restaurants, shops, crafts, businesses?  See the signs to municipal parking?  Neither do I, and that’s my point. 

I contend that Downtown Rolla does not have a traffic problem but rather an information, signage and advertising problem. 

Meanwhile, the Move Rolla TDD, in cahoots with Missouri S&T, has just spent the last several years figuring out how to close off Bishop Avenue to through traffic and to reroute it not to Downtown but out of town altogether along the 72 Bypass and I-44 between exits 184 to 186. 

So until this is all thought through, I’d suggest Alternative 1A. 

Sincerely, 

Chester Kojro

Phelps County Resident