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Relocation of Lawrence transit hub rolls ahead

June 3, 2014

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Lawrence bus riders, get your maps ready.

A majority of city commissioners on Tuesday expressed strong support for removing the city's public transit hub from downtown and placing it closer to Kansas University's campus — a move that likely will require a change in every bus route in the city.

On a 5-0 vote, commissioners agreed to move forward with more study for a transit hub near the northeast corner of 21st and Iowa streets.

"I can see increased ridership with this facility," City Commissioner Terry Riordan said. "I can see a decrease in CO2 admissions with this center. I see a real benefit here."

The transit hub is the center of the bus system, where multiple buses come together and riders can transfer to other routes.

Commissioners said they also would want to have engineers take a closer look at 21st Street and how a new traffic signal at 21st and Iowa may increase the amount of "cut-through traffic" that may use the street. But a majority of commissioners said they thought a traffic-calming plan could be created to mitigate cut-through traffic concerns.

Mayor Mike Amyx, though, urged his fellow commissioners to move cautiously.

"I think there is a lot of change that is about to happen on 21st Street," Amyx said. "I think it will be a greater amount of traffic, and I think it will be fairly fast traffic."

Commissioners said they wanted a study on everything from roundabouts on 21st Street to converting the street to a bicycle avenue that would devote more room to bike lanes on the street.

Transit officials recommended the site, in part, because it will allow routes from all over the city to easily take riders to the KU campus. Transit leaders also said the site would easily accommodate up to eight buses at a time and have room for growth in the future.

Commissioners next will receive a report on the steps needed to begin building the facility. That report is expected to be delivered to the city later this summer. If approved, it likely would take a year for the city to build and begin using the new transfer station.

In other news, commissioners:

• Agreed to grant about $270,000 in incentives to a planned East Lawrence apartment project near Ninth and Delaware streets.

• Agreed to grant Downtown Lawrence Inc. the authority to be the sole issuer of permits for the annual sidewalk sale.

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