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Chat about Lawrence's transportation future with Lisa Harris

September 19, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Lisa Harris

Chat about future transportation needs with Lisa Harris, chairwoman of the T2030 Committee. The Committee plans for future traffic volumes and flows in Douglas County and is holding a series of public meetings to get input on the Transportation 2030 Plan.

Moderator:

Hi folks! I'm Joel Mathis, managing editor for convergence. Lisa is here and will be ready to take questions shortly.

Lisa Harris:

Hi folks. Lisa Harris here. I'm ready for your questions!

Moderator:

Thanks for joining us. First of all: What is Transportation 2030 and why should people care?

Moderator:

(Keith Browning, the county engineer, has joined Lisa just now to assist in answering questions.)

Lisa Harris:

T2030 is a long range transportation planning effort mandated by the Federal Highway Administration. Every 5 years, the Lawrence Douglas-County Metropolital Planning Organization updates its long-term view of transportation. This involves examining transportation challenges expected, in all modes of transportation, modeling some possible improvements, and receiving public input on the process. People should care because it affects how they will drive, walk, and bike in the area, how industrial traffic will move in the area. The process encourages public input, and we are holding public meetings and have a Web site for public input.

Moderator:

I know from my City Hall beat days that Lawrence already has a "Transportation 2025" plan. Does this new plan tack on some planning for the extra five years, or is it a whole-scale reconsideration of priorities?

Lisa Harris:

The planning process considers the previous plan and what has changed since it was prepared. Each chapter is reviewed and updated, and new considerations are added. We don't reinvent the wheel when we don't have to, but we certainly give it all a fresh look.

tamarind:

Are there any plans to relieve congestion on 23rd Street? I believe in the long term, this is the most critical transportation issue this city faces. I face traffic jams every day trying to get through this street during rush hour. I see accidents every week, most of them fender-benders, but I've also seen injuries. That road was not designed to handle the amount of traffic it has.

For the safety of the residents of Lawrence and those who travel to this city for school and work, I urge you to look at this main artery and not let it continue to deteriorate.

The K-10 bus is one answer. If another bus (perhaps smaller) would come every 1/2 hour, it would be even better. Does Lawrence contribute anything to this bus service, or is it just Johnson County?

Lisa Harris:

The T2030 process will include modeling of improvements to 23rd street, as well as other east-west streets that may provide alternate routes for people now using 23rd street. The city has a 23rd street corridor plan that will limit access along 23rd street and should improve safety and the capacity of the road to carry traffic.

As for transit, the K-10 connector receives federal funds and those funds will expire in 2-3 years. Johnson County administers those funds. I suggest you talk with Cliff Gallante, the city's transit coordinator, about this. Call the city for his number.

Moderator:

How much does the plan guide actual decisions down the road? Will everything in the plan happen, or is it more of a guide?

Lisa Harris:

Not everything in the plan will be built or created, but projects that receive federal or state funds must be in the plan in order to be eligible for those funds. Long range projects are added to our short range transportation improvement program. Overall, the plan requires that the projects included in it are financially feasible.

Moderator:

Is the SLT included in considerations of future transportation in the area?

Lisa Harris:

Yes, a bypass around Lawrence is one of the options being modeled as part of the plan, as it was in the 2025 plan. We can't say at this time what alignment a bypass might take. That decision is currently with the Federal Highway Administration.

Moderator:

The transportation idealists among us would like to see expanded public and pedestrian transit opportunities in town; lots of others would like to see improved and expanded streets. Which approach do you think the updated transportation plan will take?

Lisa Harris:

The updated plan will be looking at all of those, and considering what areas need certain improvements. Improvements to streets also affect how pedestrians and bicyclists move in the area, so they are related. We are seeking public input about their priorities for street improvements and bike/ped improvements, as well as transit.

Moderator:

Can you talk in broad outlines what the T2025 plan anticipates now, as a guide to what the T2030 plan might look like?

Moderator:

Here's a link to T2025:
http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/planning/tr-t2025.shtml

Moderator:

And here's a link to the T2030 stuff:
http://www.lawrenceplanning.org/t2030/

Lisa Harris:

The T2025 plan anticipated the need for better street capacity and improved bike and pedestrian travel, as well as transit. These are also true for T2030. The T2030 plan will add increased focus on security and safety and freight--especially in light of the new truck-rail facility that will be built in Gardner, KS, in the next 10 years. Intercity transit might be a higher priority as well, within the region, given the increased cost of fuel to motorists. Again, funding will need to be identified for any of these improvements.

Moderator:

Finally: How can the public participate?

Lisa Harris:

There is a public meeting in Lawrence at the Union Depot from 4-7 PM and in Baldwin City next Tuesday at 6:30-8:30 PM at the Baldwin High School. There will be displays to study and staff at the meetings will be taking comments. We also held a meeting in Eudora last night at which there was very good discussion on a variety of transportation issues in that area (bridge, sidewalks, traffic, K-10 interchange, etc.)

There is also a T2030 web site: http://www.lawrenceplanning.org/t2030 />for information and opportunity to comment.

We'd like to hear from the citizens of our cities and the county, and encourage anyone interested in the future of transportation for themselves, their families, and their communities (including businesses) to comment on this process.

Moderator:

Thanks for joining us today!

Comments

macon47 6 years, 7 months ago

SIMPLY MORE RETORIC yada yada yada

just give them po folks a chit so they can take a cab at a discounted rate and scrap the empty bus system

i hate to see the drivers lose their jobs. but if all that is we are accomplishing at the cost of the taxpayers, IT AIN'T MUCH

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