By early next year, the area near Ninth and Vermont streets will be the new center of the city’s public transit system.
Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday unanimously agreed to temporarily designate an area of Vermont Street between Eighth and Ninth streets as the new transfer hub for the city’s bus system, the T.
The move is in response to construction work that is expected to begin on a new multistory hotel at the northeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets, which is near the current transfer point.
The move is not expected to happen until after the beginning of the year, although an exact date hasn’t been determined.
“We want to make sure we have plenty of time to inform the public and get signs out so that we’re not disrupting anybody’s trip,” said Robert Nugent, the city’s public transit administrator.
The new location will be on the east side of Vermont Street, between the two entrances to the city parking lot that occupies much of the 800 block of Vermont. The transfer point will cause about 16 parking spaces on Vermont to be closed. The city, though, believes it will gain parking spaces on parts of New Hampshire and Ninth streets where the buses currently load and unload.
“There will be a trade-off with parking,” Nugent said.
The move won’t be the last for the city’s bus system. Nugent told commissioners the city is currently interviewing consultants to help it find a permanent home for a bus station. The consultant’s report likely will be ready by the middle of 2013.
As he has previously stated, Nugent said it is likely the consultant will recommend a location outside of downtown because of growing space constraints in the downtown area.
In other news, commissioners:
• Directed staff members to draft an ordinance requiring sidewalk dining umbrellas to be at least 80 inches above the sidewalks. Staff members said low hanging umbrellas in downtown had become a pedestrian safety concern.
• Unanimously approved the annexation of 90 acres just north of the northeast corner of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway. The site is proposed to house a Kansas University sports complex and city recreation center. Commissioners, however, didn’t take any action to zone the property. That action likely won’t be taken until the city reaches agreement on the sports complex with the Kansas University Endowment Association.