In March, Lawrence City commissioners unanimously approved a Complete Streets Policy designed to promote a city transportation system that encourages walking, bicycling and transit use to improve health, reduce environmental impacts and promote safety for all users of streets. Adoption of the policy was the goal of the Lawrence Complete Streets Committee, a grassroots coalition representing a diverse group of area residents. On Monday afternoon, the Complete Streets Committee convened to continue advancing the agenda of promoting safe, accessible street design and construction in Lawrence and Douglas County.
The group heard a presentation from Charles Soules, director of Public Works for the city of Lawrence. Soules described a number of street renovation projects under way in the city and described the city’s efforts to incorporate Complete Streets principles into those projects. In 2012 a number of projects were undertaken to address areas identified as gaps in the city’s street/sidewalk system, funded through Community Development Block Grant dollars.
• Completion of a new sidewalk at Sixth and Iowa streets.
• Installation of sidewalks on West Sixth near Kasold Drive.
• Sharrow pavement markings (to enhance auto/bike lane sharing) on Monterey Way and Connecticut Street.
• Completion of a lighted pathway along 11th Street from KU to downtown Lawrence.
Priority projects for 2013 include:
• Intersection reconstruction at Bob Billings Parkway and Iowa Streets including a multi-use path on Bob Billings Parkway from Iowa to Kasold.
• Intersection reconstruction at Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive that will include sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of Wakarusa that will extend approximately one-fourth mile north and south of the intersection.
• Sixth and Iowa left turn lane, including a sidewalk on the south side of Sixth Street from Iowa to Rockledge Road.
• Farmland Business Park development that will include sidewalks, multi-use paths and bike lanes.
• Possible addition of bike lanes on Ninth Street between Tennessee and Kentucky streets.
• Development of infrastructure including sidewalks, bike access, and multiuse paths in and around the northwest area of the sports park under discussion between the city and Kansas University.
Scott McCullough, director of Planning and Development Services for the city, also spoke with the group about incorporation of Complete Streets principles into city planning. McCullough reiterated the city’s commitment to Complete Streets principles, but also provided several current examples of situations where “variances” from the policy were under consideration due to project approvals prior to passage of the policy or where design considerations limited inclusion of some Complete Streets elements.
Members of the Committee pledged ongoing interest in working together to ensure that Lawrence and Douglas County have a transportation network that is safe for all users in the community.
Lawrence Complete Streets is a LiveWell Lawrence initiative facilitated by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. If you would like more information or to participate on the committee, contact Charlie Bryan at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.