Lawrence City Commission does not support increasing budget for bike boulevard

photo by: Screenshot/City of Lawrence

The Lawrence City Commission and city staff meet virtually for the commission's regular meeting, Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

After plans to construct the city’s first bike boulevard again turned out more expensive than expected, city leaders indicated that they were not comfortable going forward with the project as planned.

As part of their meeting Tuesday, Lawrence city commissioners voted unanimously to defer funding decisions about the project until they could get more information about their options to scale down the project. The commission was scheduled to vote on whether to waive the requirement to rebid the bike boulevard project planned for 21st Street because bids came in about $69,000 more than expected.

Commissioners generally agreed that they were not comfortable approving the higher budget of the project and would instead like to consider just making some smaller-scale pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements to the roadway, especially at its intersection with Louisiana Street. That intersection is near Lawrence High School, and city engineers said it has a fairly high crash rate. The bonds for the project have already been issued, and the commission deferred the item one week so that city finance and legal staff could determine whether it was possible to make such a significant change to the project without reissuing the bonds.

City staff had recommended that the commission waive the rebidding requirement and award the contract to Phoenix Concrete LLC in the amount of $397,217. Currently about $331,000 is available for the 21st Street bike boulevard project, meaning that the commission would need to allocate an additional $66,000 to construct the project. To fund the project, staff recommended swapping funding sources for other projects to free up the additional money.

Plans for the 21st Street bicycle boulevard have it running from Ousdahl Road to Massachusetts Street and also include bike and pedestrian safety improvements along Ousdahl from 19th Street to 21st Street. The improvements on Ousdahl would link the boulevard to the recently completed bike and pedestrian tunnel under the intersection of 19th and Iowa streets.

Bicycle boulevards are designed to reduce speed and volume of traffic to make the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. 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.

City Commission Meeting 04/14/20


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