Local Motion led an advocacy campaign spanning more than a decade for this critical trail connector between 2008 and 2019.
Historically, the City of Columbia’s Trails Master Plan included a proposed trail connecting the Shepard neighborhood with Rollins Street. People who lived in the Shepard neighborhood and other neighborhoods along Old 63 or east of Old 63 were largely cut off from the trail network as well as the street network for walking and biking, in part because there was not a safe bridge connection across Hinkson Creek for people walking or biking. The Shepard to Rollins Trail would build a bridge across the creek, opening up access to MU campus and downtown Columbia.
The proposed trail would also include a north-south leg that paralleled Hinkson Creek (avoiding the large hill on Old 63), passed under Stadium Boulevard, and connected to other existing trails.
Together, the two legs of the Shepard to Rollins Trail would bridge the gap between all the trails that converged near this area, but were not currently connected. These included the:
2005: The City of Columbia was awarded federal funding for walking and biking infrastructure and education, establishing the GetAbout Columbia program. The City of Columbia later included the proposed Shepard to Rollins Trail as one of the trail projects to be built with GetAbout funding.
2008: Local Motion began advocating for the Shepard to Rollins Trail, including going door-to-door to talk with neighbors about the trail project. A small but vocal trail opposition group influenced City Council to delay progress on the trail.
March 2015: Parks & Recreation brought the trail back to City Council for consideration, with four trail alignments presented as options. Ahead of the vote, Local Motion led a community campaign in support of the trail and in favor of Alignments 1 and 3, which would provide the most safe and connected route. At the January 2015 Interested Parties meeting, around 200 people attended and 75% submitted comments in support of Alignments 1 and 3. At the March City Council vote, Local Motion’s campaign filled the Council Chambers with trail supporters. In addition, Local Motion gathered trail endorsements from the Parks & Recreation Commission, Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission, Disabilities Commission, Public Transit Advisory Commission, and Board of Health in favor of Alignments 1 and 3. City Council voted 5-1 in favor of building the trail with Alignments 1 (east-west) and 3 (north-south).
February 2018: Trail opponents pushed to return the trail to another City Council vote. Local Motion once again rallied a campaign in support of the trail, with 400 trail supporters sending letters of support, and 300 attending the City Council meeting. City Council once again voted 6-1 in favor of continuing trail construction with Alignments 1 and 3.
December 2018: The trail project was reviewed in a court hearing at the Boone County Courthouse. Local Motion staff and many members attended to show support for the trail. Early in 2019, the judge ruled in favor of the trail.
Fall 2019: Trail construction began. Construction of the east-west leg of the trail (Alignment 1) was completed in 2020.
Construction of the north-south leg of the trail (Alignment 3) is projected to be completed in 2022.