New Lawrence bus station aims to facilitate community connections

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Post updated at 3:42 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17:

Lawrence Transit’s Central Station is nearing completion. The new facility will serve as the central hub for bus transfers, a departure from the longtime downtown transfer point.

What city staff members say will be a new era of public transport in Lawrence comes after nearly a decade of studies, planning and funding. Members of the Public Transit Advisory Committee got a tour of the facility Monday afternoon.

The station, located just west of Bob Billings Parkway and Iowa Street near the KU campus, promises to be more than just a transportation hub, according to city staff members.

It is designed to be a multifunctional space featuring vendor areas for local entrepreneurs and social services to engage with the community. Outside, the dropoff lane is extra wide to allow mobile services, such as a mobile food pantry, to connect with riders.

With the goal of being a bike-friendly facility, the station features an indoor bicycle storage room for riders and employees, a rubber-coated outdoor bike rack, and secure individual outdoor bike lockers. The stairs leading up to the station from the sidewalk will also include bike runnels so cyclists can easily roll their bicycles up the steps. There is also an accessible ramp to enter the building.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times The bike storage room welcomes sunlight through windows adorned by blown glass art by Monarch Glass Studio in Kansas City.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times The bus station includes eight terminals in a saw-tooth pattern, allowing buses to arrive and depart independent of each other.

The bus terminal area will have interactive kiosks that will help riders plan their routes. The screens will also display real-time route information and may inform riders about local events and services.

In the cold months, riders waiting outside for their connection can benefit from heaters inside the bus shelters.

Transit staff members expect to begin working in their new offices between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Adam Weigel, parking and transit manager for the City of Lawrence, shows the station’s break room.

The employee side of the station building includes two gender-neutral restrooms as well as a shower for transit employees who bike to work, hit the gym during their lunch breaks, or simply need a quick refresh. The break room is also a space to facilitate driver and administrator interactions and foster further connection.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Rubber-coated outdoor bike racks are available for riders to lock their bikes as they ride the bus.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Benches near the bus terminal are intended to welcome drivers and riders to enjoy the outdoors, weather permitting. The partitions between seats are intended to prevent sleeping.

Benches at the new bus terminal currently have partitions between seats, which prevent people from lying down or sitting close to each other. Lawrence Transit staff said Tuesday that they have instructed contractors to remove the bench dividers before the station opens on Jan. 2, 2024, however.

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times The bus station features a secure, climate-controlled area for bus stop amenity storage.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times The art featured outside of the bus station is intended to symbolize connection.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times Hallway leading to offices, a break room, the conference room, and the large storage space.
Molly Adams / Lawrence Times
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Molly Adams (she/her), photojournalist and news operations coordinator for The Lawrence Times, can be reached at molly (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Check out more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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