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Archive for Thursday, July 27, 1995

TRANSIT PLAN VOTE PUT OFF BY COUNTY

July 27, 1995

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The local planning commission will act on the city's long-range transportation plan next Wednesday.

After hearing several revisions to the city's long-range transportation plan Wednesday night, the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission appeared poised to adopt it.

But the commission voted 6-2 against approving it because several members wanted one more week to discuss the plan and make changes in it.

The commission then unanimously voted to take up the plan next week. The commission will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the city commission meeting room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

When adopted, Transportation 2020 will give a broad plan of action for the city's transportation needs for the next 25 years. It will include plans for motor vehicle traffic, a mass transit system, and bicycles and pedestrian traffic. Ideally, the plan would be looked at every year for minor changes and have major revisions every three to five years.

During Wednesday's public hearing, the commission heard from 11 people about the plan.

Alan Black, a Kansas University professor of architecture and urban design, stressed the need for coordination in transportation plans being put together by the city and by Kansas University.

Black said some of the street improvements recommended in KU's plan aren't mentioned in the city's plan.

And the city's plan included a proposal to create a public transit system in Lawrence that would incorporate the KU on Wheels bus system run by KU's Student Senate. He said students were just learning about it and "I think they're fairly upset about it."

Fred Sherman, the city's transportation planner, said there has been coordination at the staff level, although KU top administrators and the Lawrence City Commission have not met about policy issues.

Carol Bowen, 411 Neb., complained that the plan includes a map showing the South Lawrence Trafficway with a section "that is extremely sensitive." She was referring to the section between Iowa Street and Kansas Highway 10, which is now the subject of an environmental impact study.

She called it "an affront to the community to include it."

Sherman said the best information those writing the plan have had is the 31st Street alignment plan. He said that if the alignment is changed, the plan can be modified.

Other comments from the public stressed the need for improving city sidewalks, developing a public transit system and improving the coordination of traffic signals in the city to make traffic flow more smoothly.

Commissioner Dennis Snodgrass suggested waiting to approve the plan until the city's comprehensive plan, Horizon 2020, is completed and approved. That way the transportation plan doesn't have to be pulled out and revised if it doesn't match Horizon 2020, he said.

But Linda Finger, planning director, said the commission needs to approve the plan to meet requirements to request federal and state funding for local street improvement projects.

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