By Ralph Hipp
We've reported on two issues that go hand-in-hand.. finding some way to build around the Polk-Quincy Viaduct (a/k/a the dangerous downtown curve of Interstate 70) and downtown redevelopment. The viaduct slows traffic to 45 miles per hour, which has led to safety problems and dangerous accidents for years on that stretch of the highway. Here's what else we know:
The viaduct does not connect the interstate to our two main thoroughfares.. Topeka Boulevard or Kansas Avenue.
Topekans of the future will need some way to reach a newly renovated riverfront district.
I think when the plans are drawn up in a year, and construction starts around 2012, the project should include what many cities have near their downtown district.. a business "spur" called I-270, 370 or whatever. It is nearly a straight line highway leading into the heart of the development. The plan I envision, although I'm certainly not an urban planner, is, instead of the deadman's curve past the Capitol, we have some sort of configuration of a major north-south artery alongside the new Topeka Boulevard Bridge leading to the northside.. along with a major east-west corridor which could conceivably connect K-4 Highway through to I-470, with exits to Topeka Boulevard and Kansas Avenue on its way through downtown.
What about you? How do we get around the "curve" and reconfigure downtown to get rid of the Polk-Quincy Viaduct?