Proposed routes are the starting point in discussion leading to a new bus system that officials hope to have on the road by next summer.
A committee working on the design of a new citywide bus system in Lawrence is looking at a plan for seven possible routes.
Those routes would link downtown and Kansas University with major employment locations, cultural sites, business districts and neighborhoods.
The plan, modeled after one that was first presented in 1992, will be the focus of attention Thursday morning at a meeting of the city's Transportation Advisory Committee.
The meeting is at 8:30 a.m. in the commission chambers of city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.
City Manager Mike Wildgen said the proposed routes are for discussion only. He said the final bus plan that is instituted next summer may include some, all or none of the proposed routes, or it may involve modifications to those being proposed.
"This is just for discussion and feedback," Wildgen said.
The proposed routes were drafted by KA Associates, the Wichita-based consulting firm hired by the city. The recommendations are based on five major principles:
- Following, as much as possible, the routes first proposed in 1992 by the consulting firm DeShazo Starek and Tang.
- Creating routes based on straight lines, instead of loops, to give better access to all features on the route.
- Promoting transfers to other routes as much as possible to increase use and reliability.
- Providing service to major employment areas not considered by the 1992 study, primarily the industrial areas north and east of town.
- And providing access for university students to retail, employment and entertainment areas of Lawrence.
One of the problems with the DeShazo report, according to KA Associates, is that the 1992 routes contemplated neighborhood streets that were never built. The DeShazo report also did not anticipate development in areas where Lawrence has grown.
The DeShazo report also proposed three routes based on a "loop" configuration, something the new consultants described as inefficient, especially for people making a round trip. KA Associates is suggesting "linear" routes that cover the same service area both inbound and outbound.
Because of recent changes in federal law, providing access to job training and employment has to be a major focus of federally-funded transit systems. As a result, KA Associates recommends adding two areas to the route system that were left out of the DeShazo report: the East Hills Business Park on Kansas Highway 10, and the industrial areas north of Sixth Street.
The DeShazo report also recommended a "hub-and-spoke" system in which all routes would converge in the downtown area. KA Associates says that is still a desirable option, given the viability of downtown and the fact that more than half the jobs in Lawrence are located in the "urban core" between Sixth and 23rd, from Massachusetts to Iowa.
But not all passengers need to go downtown, KA Associates said. So instead of having all passengers pass through a central hub, the new plan recommends a timed transfer system that would allow common transfers to other routes, including those supported by KU on Wheels.
-- Peter Hancock's phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.