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Public input sessions for Fourth Street held in Leavenworth

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Original post by John Richmeier, Leavenworth Times

While it is a state highway, Fourth Street should be a gateway to downtown Leavenworth and not a barrier.

That is according to Marty Shukert with RDG Planning and Design.

He is working on a Fourth Street improvement project for the downtown area.

Shukert and David Smalling with Brungardt Honomichl & Company hosted several meetings this past week in Leavenworth to obtain public input about the project.

The project will reconstruct Fourth Street between Choctaw and Seneca streets and may include other improvements to the corridor.

Smalling said construction work for the project may begin in the spring 2023.

BHC was hired by the City of Leavenworth, Kansas, to conduct a traffic study of the Fourth Street Corridor. BHC’s Public Works group used the results of the traffic study were to develop a safe and feasible roadway design to best serve the residents and visitors to historic downtown Leavenworth.

Shukert and Smalling held a meeting Thursday evening during which they reviewed some of the design ideas they have developed for the project.

“This is not the final work,” Shukert said.

Shukert said he and Smalling are testing concepts right now.

Ideas reviewed during the meeting included reducing Fourth Street in the downtown area from four lanes to three lanes.

The three-lane configuration would have one lane for northbound traffic, one lane for southbound traffic and a center turning lane.

Shukert said this would allow individual traffic lanes to be wider than they currently are with the four-lane configuration. He said this also would allow additional sidewalk space.

“That’s the concept we’re testing,” he said. Smalling said this proposed configuration has been submitted to the Kansas Department of Transportation. Fourth Street is a state highway, Kansas 7. It also is U.S. 73.

While the project will be focused on the downtown area, Shukert suggested the three-lane configuration could extend north to Metropolitan Avenue.

Shukert said the additional sidewalk space could be equally split between the sidewalks on the east and west sides of the street. Or five feet of additional space can be added to the sidewalk on only one side of the street.

Shukert discussed a concept of adding all of the additional sidewalk space to the east side of the street.

“Most people we’ve talked to really favor the east side,” he said.

He reviewed possible designs that include areas of landscaping along the sides of Fourth Street including planters.

He also suggested gateway monuments on the north and south sides of the downtown area.

Shukert proposed crosswalks with wider bars painted on the street that would make them highly visible.

“This is kind of a taste of what could happen,” he said.

He said the project presents the opportunity to improve traffic and make a statement about downtown.

BHC has been hired to manage the project. Leavenworth Public Works Director Brian Faust said $2.223 million is budgeted for the Fourth Street project. This includes a $1 million grant awarded from the Kansas Department of Transportation. He said the city will be responsible for the remainder of the cost.

Photo Credit: David Smalling, P.E, PTOE, ENV SP, BHC Public Works Group

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