Topeka City Council Approves Bike Trail, Street Improvements

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Topeka City Council got the tires rolling Tuesday night (4/10) on complete streets construction projects. City officials say the renovations will make Topeka streets more user-friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians.

City Council members voted six to one in favor of implementing new features for pedestrians and bicyclists. Supporters of the project - with a $300 thousand budget implemented over three years - say the project makes Topeka more progressive.

Seats in City Council Chambers, filled with bicycle helmets Tuesday night, on the heads of complete streets supporters.

Workers will use the first third of the budget, 100 thousand dollars, to create a trail connecting four bike routes near 37th and Randolph. They'll also install bike and pedestrian crossings at 8th and Gage and 21st and College.

Councilman Bob Archer was the only dissenting vote. Archer questioned if the $300 thousand in taxpayer money could be better spent elsewhere, bringing up downtown development as an option.

Supporters, though, including Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods, say other cities are embracing changes such as these, making streets not just for vehicles.

A notable complete streets supporter at the meeting tonight was Michelle Roberts, whose father, Tim Roberts, was hit by a car and killed while riding his bike near 53rd and Kent place.

City Council members also approved spending more than $11 million on street maintenance and improvements. That money came from the city-wide half-cent sales tax that voters approved in 2009.


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