Lawrence City Commission to consider design of East 19th Street project
photo by: City of Lawrence
City leaders will soon consider approving the design for the reconstruction of a portion of East 19th Street, a project that has generated concerns from neighbors.
As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider approving the design concept for the reconstruction and extension of 19th Street, from Harper Street to O’Connell Road. The extension will connect the street to the VenturePark and East Hills Business Park.
The city has budgeted approximately $3.3 million to rebuild the half-mile segment of the road. The commission first began discussing the design of the street project in 2018, when a request for qualifications for design services was issued. A coalition of neighbors has opposed the city’s plan, expressing concerns that the business park connection would increase traffic and that widening the street would increase speeds on the roadway and was out of line with the surrounding residential area.
In November, the commission voted to defer its choice of a concept design for the project, asking city staff to expand the options provided the commission to also include a concept that maintained the street’s current width. The majority of the eastern portion of 19th Street is currently 31 feet wide, but currently the section of the street east of Harper Street is only 22 feet wide and uses an open ditch drainage system.
City staff has now brought four options to the commission for consideration, including an option that is only 22 feet wide and that maintains the open ditch system. City staff is recommending the first option, which calls for a 31-foot-wide street. The four design options are as follows:
• $2.265 million concept that would construct a 31-foot wide street with a 10-foot-wide shared-use path on the south side and five-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side
•$2.165 million concept that would construct a 27-foot-wide street with a 10-foot-wide shared-use path on the south side and five-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side
•$2.38 million concept that would construct a 31-foot-wide street with a 10-foot-wide cycle track on the south side and five-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides
• $2.018 million concept that would construct a 22-foot-wide street with open ditches, a 10-foot-wide shared-use path on the south side and five-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side
The city notes in its memo to the commission that open-ditch drainage leads to a larger construction footprint and challenges for locating utilities. The memo states that the right-of-way costs and impacts to adjacent neighbors would be greater using open ditches and that the ditches would not be feasible in front of two residences. The memo goes on to state that the open ditches would impact the Evergy Energy transmission line on the north side of the street, costing Evergy approximately $780,000 to relocate the line and increasing construction and maintenance costs for the city.
The Multi-modal Transportation Commission reviewed the options as part of its meeting June 1, and voted 5-3 to recommend a 27-foot-wide street with a 10-foot-wide shared-use path on the south side and five-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side.
The City Commission will convene virtually at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, with limited staff members in place at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. The city has asked that residents participate in the meeting virtually, if they are able to do so, using temporary meeting procedures put in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Directions for submitting public comment and correspondence are included in the meeting agenda that is available on the city’s website.