Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday will consider an agreement for the final design of devices intended to slow and reduce traffic in Old West Lawrence.
The first round of the “traffic calming” pilot project in November 2021 caused some frustration for many residents of the neighborhood, as some temporary barriers forced people to turn at certain intersections rather than drive straight down streets, among other confusion.
But the project first came about because many residents were concerned about safety, and drivers speeding through the neighborhood. The OWL neighborhood association applied to be part of a new traffic management pilot program with the City of Lawrence and a consultant group, and the city announced in September 2021 that OWL had been selected for the project.
After multiple iterations, meetings and feedback surveys in the time since, the project is ready to proceed to a final design, according to documents in the commission’s Tuesday meeting agenda. The concept includes eight speed humps, two speed cushions, six chicanes and seven traffic circles.
City staff members will ask commissioners to approve a supplemental $43,400 contract with JEO Consulting Group for design of all the permanent installations. It would increase the total payout to the company to $189,800 for all their work on the OWL project, according to the agenda item.
The total cost to construct the final project is estimated at $306,250, split into two phases — $175,000 in 2023 for the speed humps, speed cushions and chicanes, and $131,250 in 2024 for the traffic circles.OWL-Traffic-Calming-Map-March-2023-2
City staff members are not asking commissioners to approve the construction cost as part of Tuesday’s agenda. The grand total — including the construction estimates, what the city has already paid JEO and what it would pay if the agreement is approved — would come to $496,050.
Several neighbors, in written public comment included in the meeting agenda as of Monday evening, indicated that they supported the permanent installations.
One cited concerns about the height of the permanent devices.
“Emergency vehicles can drive over the present devices but if we put in a brick structure (for example) with plantings or trees inside, this will destroy the ability for emergency vehicles to navigate the intersections and in this case, if there is anything that obstructs the line of sight, pedestrians would be in danger of being hit,” Carrie Mayhew wrote. “I would ask that whatever is put in that it remains at the present height so that we can all be safe as we walk and in case we have any kind of emergency, we would be confident that someone can get to us for help.”
The Lawrence City Commission meeting will begin at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 18. See the full meeting agenda at this link. The public may attend meetings in person, and they are livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel.
The commission accepts written public comment emailed to email@example.com until noon the day of meetings. People may provide public comment in person at City Hall or via Zoom. Register for the Zoom meeting at this link.