Need for K-10 pedestrian walkway highlighted in Eudora Safe Routes to School plan
The Eudora City Commission has adopted a Safe Routes to School plan that is an important step in securing grants to build new sidewalks and getting state approval for a pedestrian sidewalk over Kansas Highway 10.
The plan the City Commission adopted Jan. 11 was developed in coordination with the the Eudora school district, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, the Douglas County sustainability office and the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Eudora City Manager Barack Matite said the Safe Routes to School plan provided an inventory of the city’s existing sidewalks and trails and identified gaps that created safety concerns. The plan is a necessary step in securing state grant funding to build sidewalks that fill gaps, he said.
The gap that was highlighted in the plan was the lack of a sidewalk on the Church Street overpass over K-10. Not only is the overpass the primary link for a community divided by the highway, but it also provides access for students living in north Eudora to Eudora middle and high schools south of the highway. Addressing that gap will require not only Kansas Department of Transportation funding, but also KDOT’s approval of a pedestrian bridge spanning the highway.
Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin said KDOT was aware of the community’s need for pedestrian and bicycle access over K-10. The Safe Routes to School plan reinforces other plans, such as the Eudora Parks and Recreation master plan, that call for a pedestrian walkway over K-10. It is a need that will only increase as residential development continues south of the highway and the city develops the old Nottingham Elementary School property just off Church Street immediately north of K-10, Reazin said.
“The Safe Routes plan supports what we have said for years,” he said. “We as a community want a safe way to get kids across K-10. We’ve done the things we need to do.”
The Safe Routes to School plan shows four options for K-10 pedestrian access that Reazin said have previously been discussed with KDOT. A long-term option would add a pedestrian/bicycle sidewalk to a future Church Street overpass that would replace the current structure. Three other options would install a pedestrian/bicycle bridge along an Elm Street trail alignment a block to the west of Church Street.
KDOT’s concerns have been the long-term functionality of any pedestrian solutions built with the increased traffic at the Church Street/K-10 interchange and the changing nature of the area as Eudora grows, Reazin said.
Reazin said he understood KDOT’s funding constraints and the need to fund large projects such as an expansion of the western section of the South Lawrence Trafficway. But he said Eudora’s need for a pedestrian bridge was also a safety issue, which he has pointed out to KDOT.
“I’ve asked KDOT, ‘Would you rather have an overpass or a white cross there?'” he said. “I told Barack the other day I’m going to stay on the City Commission until we get a pedestrian bridge.”