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Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 1995

PUBLIC WILL GET ACCESS TO TRANSPORTATION 2020 DRAFT

May 16, 1995

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Copies of the city's new long-range transportation plan are expected to be ready for the public this week.

Fred Sherman, the city's transportation planner, was still tinkering under the hood of the city's new long-range transportation plan this morning.

But Sherman said the new and improved draft of the 25-year plan, Transportation 2020, should be at the printer today and ready for the public to get copies by Wednesday or Thursday.

It will contain long-range needs for all common forms of transportation, from walking, riding a bike, driving a car or riding in a bus.

"People are going to see with this plan almost breathtaking improvements that need to be done," Sherman said. "But I think they can be done if they're spaced out over that 25-year time frame."

Sherman, who grew up in Lawrence, said he's already seen some dramatic changes in his lifetime in the city's transportation system.

For example, 20 years ago, Clinton Parkway didn't exist, Wakarusa Drive was a gravel road known as Dragstrip Road, 15th Street didn't extend west from Kasold Drive and there were no left turning lanes on Sixth, Iowa or 23rd streets, he said.

"I see some windows of opportunity with the plan to make some dramatic improvements to what we see today," he said.

The public will have the opportunity this week to review copies of the plan at the planning office at city hall or at the Lawrence Public Library. However, it won't be formally unveiled until it is presented to the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission on May 24.

The commission is then expected to hold public hearings on the plan before it is formally adopted.

In the past few months, Sherman said, the bicycle section of the plan has been "vastly improved."

The plan recognizes there are a wide variety of bicycle users, ranging from those who commute daily on their bicycles to recreational users, he said. The plan looks at ways to accommodate all types of users, Sherman said.

And the section on public transportation will spell out the city's options more clearly.

With the plan, the city will have the opportunity to decide whether transportation is a basic public service, like police and fire protection, or whether it's an amenity, like a golf course, Sherman said.

There is still much data missing on pedestrian use, he said. A systematic sidewalk inventory needs to be taken and a strategy needs to be laid out to fill in the existing gaps, he said.

When the initial plan was delivered to the planning commission in December by the consultant, the commission decided it was lacking in content and format.

The sections in the plan weren't clearly defined and it wasn't useful as a reference tool.

Sherman said since then he has met with the consultant and with people from the Kansas Department of Transportation and developed an outline of how the plan should be put together.

The transportation plan is required for the city to receive transportation planning funds from the federal government.

It is the result of a 1991 law, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, which changed the way in which transportation planning was done.

The law mandated that planning include pedestrian walkways, bike paths and mass transit systems, as well as streets and highways.

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