Danedri Thompson
Planning will move forward on a project to expand the intersection of Main Street and Center Street.
Todd Thalmann, an engineer with city contracted TranSystems, presented three different plans to council members during a work session on Jan. 9.
Thalmann called the first plan he presented the “Cadillac plan” for transportation purposes. It would make the existing center line the midway point for expansion and provide the best solution for future traffic flow. Under the proposal, all lanes would be 12-feet wide; Westbound Main Street would include a 100-foot right turn lane and two through lanes as well as a 400-foot left turn lane at Center; and eastbound Main would include two through lanes and a 300-foot left turn lane.
Construction and right-of-way purchases for the plan would cost approximately $926,000.
Thalmann also calls the plan the “nuclear option,” because it ignores the project’s effects on neighboring property owners. It would probably result in the total takeover and relocation of Patriot’s Bank, located on the southwest corner of the intersection. The proposal also eliminates all on-street parking on Main Street in front of businesses on the north and south sides of the street.
A second plan was drafted to consider the concerns of neighboring property owners, which include Patriots and Metcalf Banks, Bruce Funeral Home, Gardner Pharmacy, Dolphin Song, Design Company and all other businesses in the 100 block of east Main.
The plan would create 11-foot wide lanes with a center line shifted north.
“It certainly doesn’t accommodate traffic as well,” Thalmann told the council.
Ideally, left turn lanes would be 400 to 600 feet long. A length, Thalmann said really isn’t feasible in the city’s urban core.
Under the second proposal, the turn lanes would be shortened to 225 feet.
“It gives you enough. 250-feet is usually a pretty good rule of thumb in an urban core,” he said.
The second proposal also eliminates the right turn lane from westbound Main Street to avoid relocating Patriots Bank. The plan preserves all parking on the southside of Main Street between Center and Elm Streets and eliminates all parking spaces on the north side. Construction and right-of-way purchases for the second plan would be approximately $691,000.
The third plan Thalmann presented to council members marries elements from both plans. It shifts the center line to the south and maintains lane widths of 11 feet. It retains the right turn lane on eastbound Main Street, maintains all parking on the north side of Main Street, and allows for four to six parking spaces on the south side of Main near Elm Street. The estimated construction and right-of-way cost of the plan is $717,000.
That cost doesn’t include remedies that would be necessary for Bruce Funeral Home as the plan would fundamentally change a Main Street entrance into the funeral home. The entrance leads to a garage, and funeral officials told city staff a garage entrance is necessary for the home to maintain its Kansas business license.
Under the proposal, the details related to the funeral home would still need to be worked out.
“One of the more viable options is possibly relocating the west side of the (funeral home) building,” Dave Greene, public works director, said.
City council members reached a consensus to move forward with the third plan as long as the concerns of the funeral home owners can be addressed.
“We have to find a way to accommodate them,” council president Kristi Harrison said. “There’s no other option.”
Officials anticipate construction on the project will begin in April 2013 and conclude before the end of August of 2013. The project may include reducing the speed limit near the intersection.