Bonner to ask state for changes in K-7 plan
The Bonner Springs City Council has decided completely abandoning support of the state’s freeway plans for Kansas Highway 7 may not be the best option after all.
But the council agreed that it would ask for several conditions to be met before the Kansas Department of Transportation moves forward with construction of an interchange at Kansas Avenue or 130th Street.
Since the city of Olathe last spring terminated its memorandum of understanding with the state concerning K-7, stating some of the same concerns the city of Bonner Springs has long had, Bonner officials have questioned what they should do regarding the highway’s future. In a workshop prior to its regular meeting Monday, the council and John “Jack” Helin, city manager, covered a proposed resolution to amend the city’s K-7 memorandum of understanding.
“I think it would be best to approach them this way… Rather than be Olathe and just pull out, that we stay at the table with them, that we identify some key things that are important to us, and pass a resolution that says that,” Helin said.
Helin said the city should try to work with KDOT by establishing dates and other triggers that would require the construction of interchanges, because stating that K-7 should maintain at-grade intersections may prove shortsighted in 30 years or more. He didn’t want the city to get in trouble if it attracted a development that supported the need for an interchange.
“It may get to the point where all the sudden, people are sitting here in this room 10 years out and going, ‘We really need this,’” he said.
However, Helin said city officials don’t believe traffic will increase at the rate the state is predicting, with traffic counts based on full build-out projections provided by each city along the highway. In fact, he said, the state’s traffic counts have shown a reduction in daily traffic on the highway in recent years.
“Don’t use these wildly optimistic figures and stick them in your computer program,” Helin said. “ … That’s great, but that’s assuming total build-out in the area, and that’s not going to happen.”
So, the resolution restates the city’s numerous concerns, chiefly that the freeway option could hurt the city’s economy because all of its major sales-tax-generating businesses are located on the highway, and the uncertainty surrounding the state’s plans hurts the city’s ability to attract other developments.
It suggests that the city work with the state to:
• determine a “no earlier than” date before work would begin on interchanges beyond the I-70 interchange,
• determine actual traffic counts that would be reached before any interchange is constructed,
• ensure the Kansas Avenue intersection will not be converted until all other at-grade intersections on the highway are converted, and
• plan for additions and improvements to the street network in and around the intersections to help alleviate congestion on K-7.
The resolution also states that, without a mutually satisfactory revision, the city will terminate the memorandum of understanding.
Council members generally seemed to approve of Helin’s suggestions.
“It’s a reasonable way to address this, where they aren’t saying ‘Oh, well they just don’t want anything,’” Jeff Harrington said.
The resolution will be placed on the Nov. 13 council agenda for final approval.
In the workshop, the council also briefly discussed amendments Helin proposed to the ordinance for private use of public parking lots. Council members George Cooper and Eric Freeman said some of the amendments were unfair, and the council decided to table the discussion until all members were present.
Council members Jack Knight and Racheal Haas were absent from the workshop sessions. Knight also did not attend the regular meeting.
In its regular meeting, the council:
• Heard the mayor proclaim Oct. 25 as Senior Citizen Day in recognition of the Bonner Springs Senior Center’s 25th anniversary, Nov. 11 as Veterans Day and Oct. 22-26 as Kansas Business Women’s Week in the city.
• Approved items on the consent agenda, including the following items added to the agenda: amend the project authority for the 134th Street utility relocation project, a cereal malt beverage license for 7-Eleven, and lower the minimum age for membership of the senior center from 60 to 55 years old.
• Awarded KLINK project bid to O’Donnell and Sons construction for $162,441. The city’s estimated portion of the cost is $43,810. The project will include a mill and overlay of Cedar Street from Front Street to Nettleton and of Gibbs Road from the Wolf Creek bridge to the county line.
• Awarded 6-1 the contract for pedestrian trail, Phase IV, Shadyside to Morse, to Amino Brothers for $179,805. The city has received Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds for 80 percent of the cost the city’s estimated portion of the cost is $35,961. Cooper voted in opposition saying he’d rather the city’s portion of funding be spent on sidewalks.