Lawrence City Commission to consider bike boulevard designs, additional $250,000 for project
photo by: City of Lawrence
City leaders will soon consider designs for Lawrence’s first bike boulevards as well as a change that would significantly increase the project’s budget.
As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider approving the final conceptual designs for the 21st Street and 13th Street bicycle boulevards and a potential $250,000 increase to the project’s budget. The budget overage would bring the total cost of collecting public feedback, designing the boulevards, and constructing the boulevards to $717,000, according to a city staff memo to the commission from Engineering Program Manager Amanda Sahin.
Sahin states the design and costs evolved as the project advanced.
“As the design has evolved the costs of a project of this scope have come into focus,” the memo states. “When the City set the original project budget, the improvements required to achieve the desired goals were not entirely known, as this is a new facility type for the City of Lawrence and design elements were driven by a robust public engagement process.”
More specifically, the memo states that 70% of the budget overage is due to intensive safety improvements at the intersection of 21st and Louisiana streets and extensive public engagement regarding the project. The remainder of the overage is attributed to the fact that these are the city’s first bike boulevards and the city does not have accurate historical costs.
The City Commission originally allocated $350,000 for the bike boulevards last May as part of its budget process. The commission then voted unanimously last October to approve a $119,595 contract with Alta Planning + Design, with CFS Engineers as a subconsultant, for the design of two bike boulevards. This spring, the city put up temporary traffic installations to demonstrate potential designs for the boulevards. The installations generated complaints from some motorists, and one was repeatedly vandalized, the Journal-World previously reported.
Since October, the project team worked on the conceptual design and completed a public engagement process that included multiple public surveys and meetings. The memo states that the final conceptual design represents a balance of numerous considerations and “competing values for all users of the streets.”
photo by: City of Lawrence
The 13th Street bike boulevard will extend from Massachusetts Street to Haskell Avenue. Originally, plans for the 21st Street bike boulevard extended from Iowa Street to Massachusetts Street, but that boulevard has been expanded, according to the memo. New plans call for the boulevard to extend south from the intersection of 19th Street and Ousdahl Road to the intersection of 21st Street and Ousdahl Road and then east on 21st Street to Massachusetts Street. The memo states that the alignment takes advantage of the traffic signal at 19th and Ousdahl and the connection to the pedestrian-bicycle tunnel across Iowa Street.
The boulevards include various features, such as 20 mph speed limits, speed bumps, restricted turns for motorists, marked bicycle crossing spaces, crossings with flashing beacons, and signs and pavement markings to reinforce bicycle positioning in the lane, among others features. All components of the designs are available on the city’s website at lawrenceks.org/bike-blvds/.
City staff is recommending that the commission allocate the additional $250,000 from the city’s 2019 funding for sidewalk, bicycle and pedestrian improvements. The memo also notes there are future phases for the bicycle boulevards to improve the major street crossings at the ends of the boulevards, but the current budget proposal does not include funding for those phases. Instead, funding for those future phases will be proposed through the annual budget process. The future phases would improve the intersections of 19th Street and Ousdahl Road, 13th and Massachusetts streets, and 21st and Massachusetts streets, and are estimated to cost an additional $460,000 total.
The Transportation Commission reviewed the design and funding request in June and is recommending them for approval. If the City Commission approves the design and additional funding, the project team will complete the construction plans and put the project out for bid, according to the memo. Construction is anticipated to occur in the fall and winter of 2019.
The Lawrence City Commission will convene at 3 p.m. Tuesday to discuss City Manager Tom Markus’ recommended budget, and it is scheduled to begin discussing its regular agenda items at 5:45 p.m. The meeting will take place at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.