The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) is in the process of updating the state’s long range transportation plan with the intent of improving the Kansas transportation network and strengthening the economic future of the state. The update process consists of three phases, the first two of which (analysis needs and developing the plan) have been completed. The third phase is releasing the plan for citizen and stakeholder comment, then refining the plan based on any comments received.
The draft long range transportation plan is now available, and KDOT invites you to review and comment on the plan. The draft document is available as a series of PDF files, which you can view on-screen (or print out).
Chapter 4, Multimodal Transportation, deals with issues important to Kansas Cyclists:
4.4 Planning for Bikes and Pedestrian Trails
When transportation infrastructure is built with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind, features like sidewalks, crosswalks, wide shoulders, marked bicycle lanes or dedicated-use trails are part of the planning. These improve safety, mobility and access for many users of the transportation system. They can also enhance community quality of life and economic viability.
Through its Transportation Enhancement (TE) program, KDOT has administered $66 million in federal funds since 1991 for trails and other transportation features that support bicycle and pedestrian travel in Kansas. Under the TE program, KDOT currently administers about $6 million a year in federal and local funds on pedestrian projects. Statewide, about 120 miles of trails have been developed under the TE program, but nearly 1,000 miles of proposed trails within communities remain. Kansas has also banked 700 miles of former rail right-of-way that could be converted to trails. The estimated annual cost of building these facilities over the next 20 years is $15 million per year (in constant 2006 dollars).
In metropolitan areas of Kansas, transportation planning that includes bicyclists and pedestrians has strong support. Stakeholders encourage KDOT to consider bicycle and pedestrian needs in every project and to take a leadership role to ensure that the transportation system is safe from the perspective of bicyclists or pedestrians.
KDOT also recently initiated the Safe Routes to Schools program, which provides funding to local units of government for infrastructure projects and education programs that encourage children to walk safely or bicycle to school.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding Needs
Definition: Construction of new bicycle and pedestrian paths and trails for transportation.
Projected Annual Need: $15 million in constant 2006 dollars. This includes $5 million needed to build all of the proposed trails in the state’s urban areas, and nearly $10 million annually to meet needs identified in rural areas.
Accommodate bicyclists and walkers KDOT and its partners should see that consideration is given to bike and pedestrian needs during the planning and design of transportation projects.
Emphasize bicycle and pedestrian safety KDOT and its partners should enhance education for cyclists, pedestrians and highway users about sharing the road safely.
The $15 million per year projection is only about one half of one percent (0.005) of the total $2.9 billion annual projection.
This number is also only for trails, and does not include important projects such as shoulder improvements and lane widening.
You can submit your comments online, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), by fax (785-296-0287), or via mail (Maggie Thompson, Kansas Department of Transportation, Division of Public Affairs, 700 S.W. Harrison Street, Topeka, KS 66603-3754).
Comments must be postmarked or transmitted by the close of business on Feb. 22, 2008, after which the comments will be reviewed and the plan will be made final and published, according to KDOT.