Lawrence City Commission to consider design of East 19th Street project

photo by: Nick Krug

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured on May 3, 2016.

City leaders will soon decide on the design of the easternmost section of 19th Street, which has generated concerns from neighbors.

As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider approving a concept design for the project to extend the roadway and reconstruct a segment of it. The city has budgeted approximately $3.3 million to rebuild a half-mile segment of 19th Street beginning at Harper Street and connecting to O’Connell Road, which leads into the VenturePark and East Hills Business Park.

The city previously proposed design concepts that would widen the street to 47 feet, which neighbors opposed. The street goes through several neighborhoods, and in May 2018 a multi-neighborhood coalition against that proposal presented a petition with more than 200 signatures to the commission. The commission subsequently voted to put out a request for qualifications for the design of the street, but asked for both a narrow option and a wide option.

The majority of the eastern portion of 19th Street is currently 31 feet wide, and in addition to concerns about the business park connection increasing traffic, some neighbors said they thought widening the street was out of line with the surrounding residential area.

The city ultimately contracted with BG Consultants, which has developed five concept designs for the commission’s consideration, according to a city staff memo to the commission. City staff is recommending design concept No. 4, which calls for a 31-foot-wide street with a separated cycle track for bicycles and sidewalks on both sides of the street. Staff also recommends maintaining the all-way stop at the intersection of 19th and Harper, constructing speed cushions on 19th Street between Haskell and O’Connell, and completing the sidewalk gap between Haskell and Harper.

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The city’s transportation commission is recommending a design with a separated cycle track, but with a street width of only 27 feet. The memo notes that a 27-foot street is the city’s standard width for a residential street, though staff members note that they do not recommend a street width that doesn’t meet the minimum city standard for collector streets.

The commission is being asked to provide direction regarding the desired conceptual street design that will be used for project bidding and construction. The consultants estimate that the cost of design concept No. 4 will be $2.27 million. The five design concepts range in estimated price from $2 million to $2.39 million. The concepts only cover the roadway portion of the project and therefore don’t include the waterline replacement costs anticipated for the project.

In other business, the commission will consider several items related to a contract for the city’s new advanced water metering system. Specifically, the commission will consider authorizing an $8.5 million master project agreement with Core & Main LP for the purchase and installation of the new system and other related services.

The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

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