The city and Kansas University in August will take their largest steps yet toward combining their public transit systems.
City commissioners unanimously approved the creation of a new jointly operated bus route that will take riders from downtown through the KU campus and to the retail and apartment complexes on South Iowa Street. The route would run every 30 minutes, and may run multiple buses to handle what is expected to be heavy demand from students and university employees.
Commissioners also approved the idea of the city and the university publishing a joint route map to make it easier for riders to use both systems.
“Our ultimate goal is to help you design a system that looks pretty seamless to the user,” said Mark Swope, a consultant with Olsson Associates. “For riders, it hopefully won’t look like they are changing from one system to another.”
The new route will begin in August. Swope said the new route won’t cost either the city or university more money to operate because the new route will allow three other routes to be consolidated.
Olsson Associates — who will continue studying the system — also recommended that the city begin using smaller buses for routes in North Lawrence, and possibly in parts of eastern Lawrence.
Commissioners approved the recommendations on a 4-0 vote. Commissioner Rob Chestnut was not present. KU’s Transit Committee already has approved the new route.
• Approved a request for $5,000 in guest tax money to support the Tour of Lawrence bike race for July 4 and July 5. Commissioners also approved the use of several downtown streets that will serve as part of the race course, and authorized city staff members, including the police and fire departments, to donate services totaling about $12,000. The city will use guest tax money to pay for those services as well.
• Officially received the final report from the Mayor’s Climate Protection Task Force. But commissioners did not take action to implement the key recommendation of the report, which called for a new sustainability coordinator position to be created in City Hall. Instead, commissioners asked staff to research whether existing personnel could handle those duties, and to bring up the idea of creating a new position during the 2010 budget.
• Approved an ordinance allowing the keeping of chickens, but not roosters, in the city limits. People keeping chickens must meet certain space requirements and other code provisions.