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Archive for Sunday, September 16, 2001

City tackles growth

September 16, 2001

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Richard Heckler doesn't ride his bicycle everywhere but he does bike an awful lot.

The Lawrence man is a regular at community meetings and often enters a room carrying or removing his bicycle helmet.

Richard Heckler uses his bicycle as a main source of
transportation. Heckler, who has gathered information on
transportation in Lawrence, will present a community consensus on
traffic, safety and commuter concerns Monday night at the "Lawrence
is Growing" forum at Liberty Hall.

Richard Heckler uses his bicycle as a main source of transportation. Heckler, who has gathered information on transportation in Lawrence, will present a community consensus on traffic, safety and commuter concerns Monday night at the "Lawrence is Growing" forum at Liberty Hall.

"I love to ride my bike," Heckler said Friday.

"It's good for my health, it's good for air pollution," he said. "It doesn't take up a lot of space and, depending on the traffic, I can sometimes get to my destination as fast as I could in a car."

Monday night, Heckler plans to use that experience to ask city leaders to make Lawrence friendlier to alternative forms of transportation. He's one of the presenters in the wrap-up forum of The World Company's "Lawrence is Growing: Finding Common Ground" project.

The forum will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Liberty Hall, Seventh and Massachusetts streets. Sunflower Channel 6 will broadcast the event live.

Over the past three months, The World Company has conducted a series of forums to help forge consensus on community issues such as open space, business, land-use planning, transportation, schools and social capital. Each of the forums drew from 30 to 50 people, with a different mix of individuals at nearly all the meetings.

Heckler will present findings on transportation. At that forum, participants agreed there should be more law enforcement patrols, better enforcement of speed limits and more traffic-calming devices in Lawrence."There was a great concern almost a consensus about the (South Lawrence Trafficway)," Heckler said. "People agreed it shouldn't be going through environmentally sensitive areas. And it should be going around the city, not through the city."

At Monday's event, a similar summary of issues and agreement on the other topics will be presented to a panel of top officials from city, county and educational institutions.

"I think it's time our elected officials I think they need to start listening to the public," Heckler said. "When you talk about growing, the greater majority would say, 'Slow it down.' That's not what's happening."

Mayor Mike Rundle will be among the officials listening to Monday's reports. He says many communities would love to have Lawrence's growth problems. That doesn't excuse the city from moving carefully when it comes to growth, he said.

A community summit sponsored in January by Bert Nash Community Mental Health Summit, he said, was the first time diverse community groups came together to look at the big picture. He hopes Monday's forum can do the same.

"I think in the broader picture of community dialogue, we need to move thoughtfully and recognize we have choices," Rundle said. "I hope this keeps us focused on the future and making thoughtful choices."

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