City votes to make Old Town more pedestrian friendly

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A unanimous vote by Wichita city council on Tuesday morning secured the decision brought forth by the city engineer to make “pedestrian friendly” improvements to Old Town.

Thousands of people flock to the historic Old Town entertainment district on the weekends. Between pedestrians, bike traffic and cars travelling through, accidental dangers lurk at busy street corners.

“Old Town’s a great area for everyone to socialize and come down, have fun, enjoy Wichita, but yeah it’s definitely needed. The pedestrian traffic down here is always on the lookout for other cars. So it’s definitely needed,” Wichita resident Christopher Taylor said.

The city will look to add ‘bulb-outs’, or the widening of the curbs near busy intersections in Old Town in addition to adding a potentially “raised intersection” at 2nd Street on Mosley and Mead. Both tactics will calm traffic by inadvertently slowing drivers down, as most drivers slow their speeds when going through tight spaces. Also, it means a shorter walk across the street for walkers.

“You can go to five, ten, more different places in Old Town without ever getting back in your car. It’s designed to be walk-able and this will really enhance that experience by making the two main east/west streets easier to cross as a pedestrian,” vice mayor Janet Miller said.

City engineer Gary Janzen brought forth the proposed changes to council. He acknowledged the potential for increased traffic in March of 2018 when the NCAA basketball tournament comes to town, adding they would try to avoid that timeline for construction.

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