Archive for Thursday, April 17, 2003

83rd Street parking plan suggested

Council to consider recommendation as summer construction start nears

April 17, 2003

John Shultz is pleased the cracked and pot-hole riddled section of 83rd Street in front of his house is slated for long-overdue re-construction later this summer.

"I wholeheartedly agree there has to be something done," he said.

Shultz does have concerns about the project that will tear up and replace the street's pavement from Shawnee to Ferry streets. The ambitious project will also replace gutters, storm sewers and sidewalks on the four-block section of 83rd from the east end of downtown to Miller Park.

Schultz's big concern was the one city planners knew would be troublesome: how to accommodate parking along the street in the improvement's design.

Like most of those living on 83rd between Delaware and Wyandotte streets, Shultz parks on an asphalt pad along 83rd Street. City Engineer Mike Brungardt and the project's engineering design firm, Safer, Kline & Warren Inc., met with the street's residents earlier this month to discuss the best way to incorporate parking into the street's improvements.

One possibility would be to widen the alley a half-block on either side of 83rd. Shultz agreed with another resident who said the cost of that would be too high. He added he would lose easement behind his home with such a plan.

The three vehicles of Beth and Doug Ireland are parked on the asphalt pad in front of their home. Unlike Shultz, his next-door neighbors have neither a driveway nor a garage. Parking space in the ally is limited.

Of the options the city engineer proposed, the Irelands and Shultz favor a plan that would allow parallel parking on both sides of the street in front of their homes.

"That's what we would vote for," Beth said.

Brungardt said the Ireland and Shultz should be pleased if the City Council approved his recommendation Thursday. His proposal would:

  • Eliminate on-street parking from Wyandotte to Ferry.
  • Provide parallel parking on both sides of the street from Wyandotte to Delaware.
  • Provide parallel parking in front of residential properties on the street's south side from Wyandotte to Delaware.

Brungardt and representatives will meet with residents again in the coming weeks.

The project's estimated cost has gone up significantly from that listed in the capital improvement project list the City Council approved last June. Brungardt said it was discovered existing storm sewers under the street where too small and badly deteriorated. The cost of replacing the storm sewers will add more than $250,000 to a project originally estimated to cost $377,000, he said.

That bad news probably wouldn't eliminate or curtail other street-improvement projects included in the capital improvement plan, Brungardt said. Revenue the city now expected to receive from the Johnson County CARS program for improvements to Lexington Avenue and 83rd Street east of the east Y and Wyandotte Street will more than offset the storm sewer improvements, he said.

Funding for this year's 83rd Street project and any capital improvement project that exceeds the estimated cost in the capital improvement project list will have to clear an extra legal hoop. All the street projects are to be paid for with a general obligation bond to be paid off by the 3/4 cent sales tax city voters approved in October 2001.

To pay for projects that exceed their estimated costs in the capital improvement plan, the Council must pass special resolutions that then must be approved by the Kansas attorney general, said City Attorney Patrick Reavey. The time consuming process was meant to protect bond investors, he said.

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