The empty space in the median that replaces five parking spaces in downtown Gardner will not be a home to flowers. It will have brick pavers and was constructed for safety related to the U.S. 56 Highway and Center Street intersection project. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

The empty space in the median that replaces five parking spaces in downtown Gardner will not be a home to flowers. It will have brick pavers and was constructed for safety related to the U.S. 56 Highway and Center Street intersection project. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

Danedri Thompson
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It’s for safety, not beauty. That’s the explanation on a curb and median-type structure built along the south side of Main Street.
Residents knew that a project to expand the Main Street and Center Street intersection would result in fewer street parking spaces downtown. However, there may have been some confusion as to exactly how and why the spaces would be eliminated.
Several Main Street spaces in front of Metcalf Bank will become actual roadway, or part of a traffic lane. Further east, five spots are now taken up by a median-type structure.
Mike Gardner, an engineering technician for the city of Gardner, said it’s a detail that will make Main Street safer.
“It’s to deter traffic away from the parked cars,” he said.
Despite appearances, Gardner said the curbed structure will not be used for flowers. It will be filled with brick pavers. City officials approved the design for the median about two years ago.
“You’ve got to put something in there to get your traffic to move back over,” Gardner explained.
The $1.2 million project is a joint effort between the city and the Kansas Department of Transportation. Officials anticipate it will be completed by Nov. 1.
Originally, the project was to be completed last fall. However, delays in acquiring right-of-way from Bruce Funeral Home and delays in state approval of the plans pushed the project back to this year.
Meanwhile, a separate project to do general maintenance on U.S. 56 Highway, or Main Street, with mill and overlay work, has been occurring near the intersection project.
Maintenance work on Main Street is nearing completion east and west of the intersection project. Gardner said when the intersection expansion is finished, the intersection will have new mill and overlay work as well.