Lawrence city commissioners approved an application Tuesday for $1.5 million in federal transportation funds to construct an 18.5-mile bike path and pedestrian trail along the South Lawrence Trafficway.
The 10-foot-wide bicycle-pedestrian path would run along the trafficway from Kansas Highway 10 on Lawrence's east side to County Road 438 on the city's west side and tie into other recreation trails for cyclists and pedestrians.
The funds are being distributed through the Kansas Department of Transportation as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, said Linda Finger, the city planner who wrote the grant application.
The total cost of the pedestrian-bike trail is estimated at $1.91 million. The ISTEA funds would cover about 80 percent of that cost.
The trafficway is a joint project of the city and the county. Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to consider the grant application tonight.
Under the terms of the grant, either the city or county must pick up the remaining 20 percent, a balance of about $411,600. City and county commissioners have not decided yet which body should pay what percentage of that balance, Finger said.
CITY COMMISSIONERS approved the application Tuesday night but debated for more than a half-hour over the relationship of the trail to the trafficway.
Commissioner Bob Schumm said he wanted to send a strong message to KDOT that the bike-pedestrian trail is an integral part of the trafficway.
"I look at the South Lawrence Trafficway as a whole system, both ecological and as a transportation mode for motorized vehicles as well as pedestrians and bikes," said Schumm.
"My statement would be that the bike path shall be a part of the South Lawrence Trafficway and shall be constructed at the same time," Schumm said.
Mayor Bob Walters hesitated to link the trafficway unconditionally to the bike-pedestrian path, fearing that might jeopardize funding for the project.
"`Shall' worries me," Walters said. "If you don't get the pedestrian pathway, then the road doesn't go in?"
Commissioner John Nalbandian sided with Schumm.
"It seems to me that this project is more than a means of conveying traffic," Nalbandian said. "We want to make this more than a road."
"It actually will give us the opportunity to define what our city is, what our city will look like, what we ourselves want to think of when we think of Lawrence, and what we want visitors to think of."
Commissioners praised Nalbandian's definition of the relationship and asked city staff to include his comments with the application.
IN OTHER action Tuesday:
Commissioners proclaimed March 12 "Girl Scout's Day" and March 17 the day of the "Fifth Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade."
In a single motion, commissioners approved the following consent agenda items:
Minutes of the previous commission meeting and various city organization meetings.
Payment of city expenses.
A Class B private club license for All Seasons Club Inc., doing business as Hangar No. 4, 2309 Iowa; and drinking establishment licenses to S&W; Investment Company Inc., doing business as The Pool Room, 925 Iowa, and to Dos Hombres Inc., 815 N.H.
Bid of $6,944 for a front-end mower and $3,483 for a tractor, both from Deem's Farm Equipment.
A bid date of 2 p.m. March 17 for a three-quarter ton truck for the utilities department.
A bid date of 2 p.m. March 17 for 11 police sedans.
A bid date of 2 p.m. March 17 for roof repairs to the raw sewage pump building at the waste water treatment facility on East Eighth Street.
Setting 2 p.m. March 17 as the date for submission of applications for a lagoon dredging project at the Clinton Water Treatment Plant.
An ordinance on first reading amending the city code to reflect changes in state law concerning subdivision regulations.
An ordinance on first reading amending the city code concerning planned unit developments.
An ordinance on final reading installing a stop sign for westbound traffic on 13th Street and Oak Hill Avenue and removing the stop sign for westbound traffic on 13th and Brook Streets.
An agreement with Douglas County and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce to pay the chamber $50,000 to implement an economic development and marketing program with the goal of recruiting and retaining businesses.
On the regular agenda, commissioners:
Received a report from John Butter, 1210 Ranchero Ct., concerning sanitary sewer improvements to serve his property in the Western Hills neighborhood. Commissioners voted to allow Butter the use of right of way by his property to install a private sewer line that would run from his home to city sanitary sewer lines. Commissioners also approved giving Butter 100 percent credit for the expense of installing his private sewer system against the cost of any future city system required by the city. Commissioners also asked city staff to ask the owners of other properties in the Western Hills neighborhood for their input and opinion on the sanitary sewer issue.
Approved a request from Douglas County to establish city-enforced parking restrictions in parking lots near the Douglas County Courthouse and Judicial and Law Enforcement Center. Under the request, the city would install parking meters for 16 spaces in the northwest portion of the parking lot south of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, and erect one-hour parking signs for a 19-space lot south of the courthouse. The county would lease the spaces to the city to allow enforcement of the restrictions.
Received a report from George Williams, director of public works, about construction of sidewalks along Riverridge Road. Williams said Tim Allen, developer of the Riverridge Addition subdivision on the south side of Riverridge Road, plans to build sidewalks along the south side of Riverridge Road from the east line of the subdivision to Iowa Street. Sidewalks would be completed before any families move into the subdivision with children who would attend nearby Riverside School. Commissioners approved installation of the sidewalks by Allen. They also asked city staff to notify the school district of Allen's plans.
Commissioners agreed to meet from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 4 to review and set commission goals.
Commissioners authorized Walters to sign a resolution authorizing the survey and acquisition of 20 acres across U.S. Highway 24-40 from Lawrence Municipal Airport to complete the installation of instrument landing system equipment. Courts will determine the value of the land to be acquired and the city will pay the property owners that price, said Rod Bremby, assistant city manager.
Commissioners were asked by Walters to support proposed legislation that would allow local voters to increase sales tax for certain local purposes, such as property tax reduction and health care services. Walters asked commissioners to examine a report by city staff on the legislation and to tell City Manager Mike Wildgen whether they support it.