Blankety-blank 23rd Street. The South Lawrence Trafficway. Roundabouts, roundabouts, roundabouts.
Douglas County motorists, here's your chance to do something other than just drive the roads. Community leaders want your help in planning them.
City and county planners will host three meetings during the next two weeks, seeking ideas from the public on what major transportation projects or initiatives should be undertaken between now and 2030.
"We really want to know what they think is important," said Anson Gock, senior transportation planner for the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department. "Whether it is new roadways, transit service, sidewalks, bicycles, or just ideas on how to make things safer, we want to hear them."
The meetings are part of a countywide planning project dubbed Transportation 2030. The plan is required by federal regulators in order for the city to qualify for federal funding for road and transportation projects.
The plan must be updated every five years. City leaders said this most recent update is coming at a good time because the community needs to talk about several transportation issues.
"I think we all know we have a lot of critical needs when it comes to east-west traffic movement," Mayor Sue Hack said. "But we have to figure out how we're going to address them."
For Hack, that means discussions about a new interchange at Bob Billings Parkway and the South Lawrence Trafficway. It also means discussions about completing the eastern leg of the SLT, extending 31st Street eastward, and building a new east-west road north of Sixth Street, Hack said.
Other issues the plan is expected to address, Hack and Gock said, include:
¢ New roads and expansion of existing ones to serve development that is expected south of the Wakarusa River.
¢ The expectations of a transit service in the community.
¢ The role sidewalks, bicycle lanes and walking trails will play in the community's transportation system.
¢ How Douglas County roads will link with new, major roads in adjacent counties, such as roads that will be built to serve development expected at the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in Johnson County.
¢ The need for future bypasses or links to connect Kansas Highway 10 and the Kansas Turnpike.
¢ The future use of roundabouts and traffic-calming devices.
Ultimately, the plan will list major projects that the community plans to undertake through 2030. For example, the current plan - Transportation 2025 - lists $455 million worth of road projects.
Gock said this plan will try to include a list of projects that is deemed financially feasible based on how much money the county has received in federal funding in the past, and also how much local tax money is anticipated to be spent on transportation projects.
"We don't want this to be a pie-in-the-sky type of plan," Gock said.
The plan is being developed by a steering committee that includes City Commissioner Rob Chestnut, Douglas County Commissioner Bob Johnson, a host of planning commissioners, and several city and county department heads. After the committee hears the ideas and comments from the public, Gock said it will start deciding which projects to include in the plan.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission is responsible for approving the plan. Gock said the plan needs to be approved by the end of the year to meet federal regulations.
Planners will host three meetings designed to gather input on transportation needs from Douglas County motorists. The meetings will be:
¢ 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eudora City Hall, 4 E. Seventh St.
¢ 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Union Pacific Depot, 402 N. Second St., Lawrence.
¢ 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at Baldwin High School, 415 Eisenhower.