WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita City Council will consider accepting funding on Tuesday for some changes on Douglas in downtown.
The change could take Douglas down to three lanes from Main to Union Station. The plan would also allow for a vehicle turn lane in the middle, and a bike and scooter path on both sides. It is just a concept right now, and the city council will have to study the idea.
“People ought to recognize that it would be just a pilot and that’s how you want to do these things. You don’t want to put in infrastructure, and then go, oh no, that didn’t work. So you do pilot experiments to see how things are going to work,” said Wichita City Council member Cindy Claycomb.
While there has to be more input from city staff on things like the timing of traffic lights and traffic numbers, some bike enthusiasts say it could be a good idea.
“I’m definitely vigilant because I don’t think people generally respect the bike lanes like they’re supposed to,” said Angela Malley, who enjoys riding her bike on and around Douglas. “I try to give them plenty of room because they don’t always see us.”
City engineers tell KSN News that two lanes each way with a turn lane can handle up to 20,000 vehicles a day. At the moment, Douglas in downtown Wichita has a peak of only about 16,000.
The cost of a pilot project would total $75,000. Most of the money would be used to paint and change traffic signals and make adjustments. There are no planned changes to sidewalks.
If the council votes to accept a grant, it would fund one-third of the project. It is a first step.
“The feedback I’ve heard has been good. There’s been many public meetings, and many opportunities, public input into this,” said Claycomb. “And while tomorrow is just to deposit a check, there has been talk about this for several years actually.”
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