Wichita accepts grant that may reshape travel on busy downtown street

Rodney Price
November 12, 2019 - 12:49 pm
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The Wichita City Council approved a $25 thousand dollar grant from the Knight Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation.

The grant could help pay for a pilot project on Douglas Avenue in downtown Wichita to turn it into a three-lane street, with paths for bike and scooter traffic.

While the potential project has lots of backers, Mayor Jeff Longwell is not among them.

"I struggle with what we're trying to achieve and turning it back to three lanes and encouraging more congestion along that corridor so I'm just simply not going to support it," the Mayor said.

If the city moves forward next year with the project, it will need to secure another $50 thousand to cover the project budget of $75 thousand.

In other traffic-related news, several street improvement projects were approved Tuesday.  Those projects include Mt. Vernon, from Broadway to Southeast Boulevard and on West Street, from Harry to Kellogg.  Both of those projects will be bid out this month, with construction set to begin in early 2020.  The Mt. Vernon improvements will cost $6.4 million, while the work on West Street will cost $5.5 million.

The city will also make improvements to the Harry Street Bridge over the Arkansas River.  The total budget for this project will be $5.3 million, with $300,000 coming from cost savings from the Douglas and 2nd Street bridges at Brookside construction work that is currently ongoing in east Wichita.  

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