The public will have several opportunities in the next two months to comment on the city's long-range transportation plan before it's officially adopted.
Using color-coded maps and slides, Fred Sherman, the city's transportation planner, unveiled a sweeping plan Wednesday night of what Lawrence's transportation system might look like in 25 years.
Sherman presented the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission with the draft version of Transportation 2020, which includes:
- Expressways around Lawrence that would consist of the South Lawrence Trafficway and a proposed Eastern Parkway, which would not only take traffic from Kansas Highway 10 to the downtown but also swing north across the Kansas River to the Kansas Turnpike.
- A bicycle plan with an "every street" dimension to make it easier for bicyclists to safely pedal city streets.
- A vision of a public transit authority that would operate a citywide bus system that would include Kansas University's current KU on Wheels program.
Sherman said "single occupancy vehicles" make up 72 percent of the city's traffic. So the main section of the plan deals with making sure vehicular traffic flows smoothly through the city.
The section shows where the city's major expressways and arterials are expected. It also shows which existing roadways need to be improved and gives suggestions for traffic lights and turning lanes.
"We have horrendous traffic signal coordination to be able to provide through movement in town," Sherman said.
The bicycle element of the plan would meet the needs of children, novice and recreational cyclists and bicycle commuters, Sherman said.
It provides for a bike path network that would include city routes and local routes. And it calls for bike route signs, removal of hazards to bicycles and planning for bicycles as new streets are built.
The public transportation section of the plan envisions the formation of a public transit system with KU that would involve a five-route network around the city at a total cost of $2 million, of which $600,000 to $700,000 would come from the city.
The plan calls for KU to decide by July 1, 1996, whether it wants to join the city in the venture.
Sherman, who noted the transportation plan is still in its draft stage, said, "There is some tweaking that needs to be done."
Several people had suggestions Wednesday night for the plan.
For example, Jim Power, president of the East Lawrence Improvement Assn., said his organization was still opposed to the Eastern Parkway project.
The plan should address parking needs, said Power and Alan Black, a member of the planning commission's citizen's advisory committee.
Marci Francisco, who represented the League of Women Voters, and others said the plan needed to address pedestrian safety.
"This is a dangerous town as a pedestrian to walk about," said Ed Dutton, 2120 La.
Bob Mikesic, Americans with Disabilities Act specialist at Independence Inc., said he agreed with the plan's section about having fixed bus routes in the city. Mikesic suggested that the public transit system be broadened to include all of Douglas County.
Max Entrikin, who chairs the commission, said there would be ample time for more public input during the next two months.
"I think we've come a long way in the past year," Entrikin said.