Community group of architects, artists and trail advocates to present concept for pedestrian bridge, other infrastructure to city leaders

photo by: RiverFront & Center

The community group RiverFront & Center created the pictured design concept for the proposed Kaw River Commons project.

City leaders will soon discuss a proposal developed by a group of Lawrence residents to build a pedestrian bridge and other pedestrian infrastructure for the Kansas River near downtown Lawrence.

As part of its study session Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will review the design concept created by RiverFront & Center, an eclectic group of Lawrence residents. The design for the project, Kaw River Commons, includes multiple crossings and connecting segments near the existing bridge across the river near downtown Lawrence, as well as two helixes that bring pedestrians up to the elevated crossings on the south side of the river.

The presentation states that the project grew from its original intent to connect existing segments of the citywide trail system, the Lawrence Loop, and explores feasible improvement options for the city and its visitors.

“What began as an effort to connect segments of the Lawrence Loop efficiently and safely, has quickly grown into an exploration of existing assets and new opportunities along the Kaw River and Downtown,” the presentation states.

photo by: RiverFront & Center

The community group RiverFront & Center created the design for the project, Kaw River Commons.

Other elements of the design concept include a covered terrace area on one area of the riverbank, trail extensions and connections, a downtown skywalk, and lookout areas. The full presentation is available as part of the commission’s agenda materials.

The seven-member group includes Lawrence residents with backgrounds in urban design, architecture, art and public health, including members who have worked on other local efforts related to infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. Members have volunteered their time to come up with the design concept, and state in the presentation that private and public funds could help develop the project in stages.

The group has made several presentations about the Kaw River Commons concept, including presentations to members of city staff, the city’s Multi-Modal Transportation Commission, various local community groups and individual members of the City Commission. At a commission meeting in July, Vice Mayor Courtney Shipley suggested that the presentation be made to the commission as a whole, and other commissioners agreed.

The Lawrence City Commission will meet virtually at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, and some staff will be in place at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. The public may attend the meeting in person at City Hall or participate virtually by following directions included in the commission’s meeting agenda, which is available on the city’s website,


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