|Councilmembers Present||Staff Present|
|Councilmember Pflumm||City Manager Gonzales|
|Councilmember Neighbor||Deputy City Manager Charlesworth|
|Councilmember Jenkins||Assistant City Manager Killen|
|Councilmember Kemmling||City Clerk Powell|
|Councilmember Vaught||City Attorney Rainey|
|Councilmember Meyer||Finance Director Rogers|
|Councilmember Sandifer||Development Services Dir. Wesselschmidt|
|Councilmember Kenig||IT Director Bunting|
|Fire Chief Mattox|
|Police Chief Moser|
|Parks and Recreation Director Holman|
|Public Works Director Whitacre|
|Assistant Public Works Director Gard|
|Stormwater Manager Gregory|
|Police Major Tennis|
|Police Captain Mendoza|
|Police Captain Brim|
|Police Captain Brunner|
|Police Captain Hein|
|Sr. Accountant Oldham|
|Business Liaison Holtwick|
A. ROLL CALL
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Good evening everyone. Welcome to tonight's Council Committee meeting. My name is Stephanie Meyer. I am the Councilmember from Ward III and the Chair of this Committee.
Besides myself, the Committee members here tonight are Councilmember Neighbor, Ward I; Dan Pflumm, Ward I; Eric Jenkins, Ward II; Mike Kemmling, Ward II; Jeff Vaught, Ward III; Mickey Sandifer, Ward IV, and Brandon Kenig, Ward IV.
Before we begin our agenda I'd like to explain our procedures for public input. During the meeting I will offer the opportunity for public input. If you would like to speak to the Committee at any of those times, please go to the podium. I would ask that you state your name and address for the record, then you may offer your comments. So that members of the audience can hear you, I would ask that you speak directly into the microphone. By policy, comments are limited to five minutes. After you are finished, please sign the form on the podium to ensure we have an accurate record of your name and address.
I would also like to remind Committee members to wait to be recognized and to turn on your microphone when you would like to speak so we can get a clear and accurate record.
1. DISCUSS THE NIEMAN ROAD REALLOCATION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY PROJECT.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: There are three items on tonight’s agenda. The first item is to discuss the Nieman Road Reallocation of Right-of-Way Project.
Staff has asked the project team to provide the Council with an update on the progress of the project. The presentation will focus in on the traffic analysis and access management considerations and is a preview of what will be discussed at the public open house scheduled for May 10, 2016. This item is for informational purposes only. If possible, please hold your questions until the end of the presentation.
MS. KILLEN: Good evening. Katie Killen, Assistant City Manager. And I’m just going to kind of kick off this presentation this evening. Just kind of go over what the project team here to my left will talk to you about tonight. Just a little bit of background that I’ll touch on, kind of the process they’ve gone through to get to where they are today, look at the traffic analysis, talk about the access management and then also preview those alternative options that will be there at the public meeting next week. And then of course questions.
So, just a little bit of background. It’s always good to know kind of where we’ve come from and where we are today. So, back in 2011 actually, the City was able to partner with several regional cities, Mid-America Regional Council, Johnson County, and be participants in the Creating Sustainable Places grant application. And through that the region was allocated that grant. And in 2012 and 2013, the City of Shawnee was able to analyze the Nieman Road, which is the intersection of Nieman and Shawnee Mission Parkway. And that turned out the Shawnee Mission Parkway Visioning Study which was completed in 2013.
Some of the items that came out of that visioning study was the belief of residents in the area that Nieman could have improvements, really be a gateway to our downtown. And so using that information and that feedback that we got from the community we were able to use that to put in our grant application for the Planning Sustainable Places program that Mid-America Regional Council had and we’re able to fund the Community Connections Nieman Road project. That kicked off in 2013 and finished up in January of 2014.
And so one of the recommendations inside of the Community Connections was to look at how the right-of-way on Nieman Road is allocated. Looking at whether or not we could reduce lanes, how we could push out sidewalks, look at burying utilities and things of that nature. And so we were able to get funding through KDOT for the Nieman Road Reallocation of Right-of-Way study, which they will be going over this evening.
I will say that Community Connections and also the Shawnee Mission Parkway Visioning study have spawned some other projects of reinvestment in our downtown. There is currently also a trail project that goes through Trail Springs and connects into the Turkey Creek system over in Merriam that we’re looking at as well as the stormwater project that is in the southern part of the corridor. This project is working in tandem with those project teams, but tonight we’re primarily focusing on Nieman Road itself, so just you so. Because I think all of you have heard about these other projects too, but tonight’s project team is focused on the Nieman Road. The other ones have separate project teams.
So, with that background I’m going to go ahead and turn it over to Randy Gordon with BHC and he’s going to introduce the team and kind of kick off the rest of the presentation.
MR. GORDON: Thank you, Katie. With me tonight are two other key members of our consultant team: Amy McCurdy with McCurdy Engineers. Her specialty is traffic and roadway engineering related to traffic flow. The other expert is Marty Shukert with RDG Planning.
Marty is quite a talented fellow, but on this project he’s focused a lot on the pedestrian/bicycle nodes and those modes of transportation. But also the sense of place for the corridor. Because we recognize Nieman certainly has many functions in terms of moving people throughout Shawnee, but it also sets a framework for all of the buildings and the properties adjacent to it. And that is essentially what people picture as they move through this portion of the community, just to kind of visualize their own sense of place.
[Information Gathering slide]
For this particular project to date, what we started out with was a lot of data collection. The nice thing is compared to other projects you’ve done a tremendous amount of work already as you know in terms of establishing vision, ideas, alternatives that seem to interest the community. We took those and then moved ahead and started trying to focus them a little more tightly with respect to Nieman and especially the public right-of-way and what may be the best balance between movement of vehicles, movement of pedestrians, movement of bicycles, and also its role in economic development and vitality and quality of life here in Shawnee.
We spent two different two-day sessions working here on site across the street in the coffee shop, just kind of studying the corridor. It gives us kind of an idea certainly of the local interest, the local opinions, meeting with a variety of property owners and other interested citizens. It also gave us a chance to literally walk out the door and go check something out if we had an idea or a question in our minds. The follow-on session in early February, we met with several of the folks in this room and really got a chance one-on-one to kind of get a sense of individual priorities, existing issues. But also even discuss some potential changes within the right-of-way and adjacent to Nieman that might satisfy some of those objectives that had been identified earlier.
[Traffic Analysis slide]
Also as part of this we’ve done quite a bit of traffic analysis, really to build on what’s been done previously in prior studies, but collected our own set of traffic data, peak hour in a number of locations up and down this mile section of Nieman, I think to give a much more clear comparison of existing conditions as well as some of the alternatives we’ve identified. Specifically, what that is, is certainly we looked at what existing conditions are. I think everyone has an impression of how well Nieman and the intersection with Johnson Drive functions, and then as well as access to and from all of the businesses and side streets along this section. We went ahead and looked at the potential redevelopment sites that have been previously been identified by the City. Looked at the likely amount of traffic those would generate based on the land use mix identified in previous studies. And we also wanted to give you an idea of, so how much capacity is left, either from today’s situation, or once you do do some redevelopment and add some more cars to the corridor, does that use up all the capacity you have, or do you still expect it should function well. And then we also looked at several different lane configurations. Certainly again, baseline we want to look at existing for comparison purposes, but we also looked at starting just making some changes to the intersection with Johnson Drive to smooth out the way that signal operates. Right now it’s a split phase for Nieman which means only northbound lefts get to go at a time, southbound lefts have to wait. We wanted to look at changes to that, how much benefit you really get. And then we also looked at changing some other parts around the intersection on Johnson Drive just to see, again, what kind of impact that might have.
[Evaluating Traffic Performance slide]
Just kind of a quick -- I think it makes it really easy to evaluate some of the results we have if you look at the screen. Green arrow is good as you would expect. But what it shows is compared to the existing conditions, a three-lane section along Nieman should result with the intersection improvements that we can do by lining up Nieman to the north and Nieman to the south, so the left turns can happen at the same time. We can move more cars through the intersection and up and down the corridor in a given amount of time under that arrangement and then existing conditions. The south end should experience slightly reduced delays as well just because the flow of traffic essentially gets smoothed out. The four lane undivided section now is very choppy, to use a technical term, in that, that inside lane at any time can become a left turn lane and in both directions. And that makes it very difficult for traffic to flow smoothly up and down Nieman at times.
As we looked at other options down through there, we did evaluate some changes at Johnson Drive. One idea that came out of the charrette on site was adding angled parking along Johnson Drive west of Nieman just to better serve some of those businesses. We could see why that certainly could be of benefit and we wanted to get a sense of what impact that might have on traffic. As you see here it actually might make things worse overall. And again, our analysis here is looking at both traffic flow on Johnson Drive as well as traffic flow along Nieman.
At the south end of the corridor with these changes in general, the impacts certainly don’t get worse. They should be somewhat better. Again, it’s just because we can essentially smooth out the traffic, narrow the distance people have to cross from one side of Nieman to the other if they’re trying to cross the road and make left turns. And again, kind of smooth out the flow of traffic.
We also showed that in the modeling that essentially there’s quite a bit of available capacity based on the number lanes that you have now. That’s a good thing. That gives you some flexibility in the future. What it also can be viewed as is you probably have more street capacity out there than you have to have. So, if you’re looking at a balance of cost to maintain versus benefit you derive from it, those are some of the thing that Public Works staff can look at to see if, in fact, you have too much pavement and you don’t really need it all for the amount of money you have to spend to maintain.
What we did find is as we make other changes, eventually with redevelopment, capacity will get used up eventually at the intersection as well as specifically in the vicinity of 61st Street, 61st Place, all of those commercial driveways there towards the southern end of this portion of Nieman.
With that, I’d like to hand the podium off to Amy to go through a little bit more and show you a little bit more information on some of the analysis we did just to make it a little bit easier to visualize the comparisons between existing and these alternatives.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thanks.
[What Info Can Simulations Provide slide]
MS. McCURDY: Good evening. I feel like I really get the fun part here. I get to show you our traffic simulations to kind of illustrate how we think Nieman Road will operate with the different lane configurations. We went into this, and there’s a lot of different things we could do with the traffic modeling. So, we went into this and said, what are we really looking at when we’re done with our modeling and we’re done with our simulations, what questions do we want answered? And that’s what we have here. So, we wanted to know can we make the Johnson and Nieman intersection function better. Would we be able to use a three-lane section with existing traffic on Nieman Road? What about future traffic? Once we have a few areas redeveloped would Nieman Road be able to handle that additional traffic with a three-lane section. And then finally, one of the last things we wanted to look at was how much traffic can we add to Nieman before we start to have traffic failures with existing, with a three-lane section, and when would that happen.
[Existing Conditions Nieman/Johnson slide]
One of the first things we looked at, existing conditions at Nieman. There we go. All right. If you drive it today for the afternoon peak hour which is about five-ish, this should be about what you experience out there at the intersection. I will say that I’ve actually seen queues a little bit longer. What our simulation is showing is just a snapshot over the hour. So, there are 15-minute periods that are a little bit worse than this or a 15-minute period that’s a little bit better than this. But this is on average how it operates during the p.m. peak. This signal is operated split-phase. You can see as our southbound traffic is going, our northbound traffic just sits there because the way it’s set up with the lanes, they can’t operate simultaneously.
[“Simplified” Intersection Layout at Johnson/Nieman slide]
Here we’re looking at the lane configuration if we switch Nieman and Johnson to have a separate left-turn lane, one thru lane and a right-turn lane. And I know you’re looking at that like, Amy, what are talking about. Looking at all those cars we have backed up there. Yes, we do have a queue down to the next street; however, that’s the same number of vehicles, we just have less room for stacking. It does not interfere with our left turns or our right turns. And a vehicle, let’s see if we can see this. A vehicle down here at the end of our queue would have less overall delay with this scenario than one up towards the middle of the queue. Just overall, this intersection operates with less delay for motorists going through this intersection than with the current operation.
[Existing Conditions on Nieman in Southern Portion slide]
This is section showing is the southern portion of Nieman Road as it operates now with existing traffic volumes with existing lane configuration. The corridor flows perfectly. We have ample room for everyone. The only significant delays are on the side streets. And there’s not a lot of people on the side streets so you might wonder, well, why are we concerned about those 30 or 40 people trying to turn left or turn right on the side streets, that’s not many people. We’ve got a lot more people on Nieman. Our concern with the side streets is when we have significant delays people start making bad decisions. They’re sitting there. It’s been 45 seconds. There’s still traffic coming. They feel like they’re going to be late to get their kid from school. They really got to get home for dinner. Whatever, they take a chance and turn when they don’t think it’s quite as clear as they would like it and there’s a collision. So, one of the things we find with increased delay is collisions. And that’s why our concern is with traffic on the side streets and delay there.
[3-Lane Section on Nieman in Southern Portion]
Here we’re looking at the three-lane section for the southern portion of Nieman. The same area as before. I will say this is not a direct correlation to the previous simulation. This actually has more traffic on it. This includes some of the redevelopment areas. And with that I said, if we’re going to redevelop this, we will likely add a right-turn lane and a left-turn lane to separate the turning movements on the side streets. But overall, the delay on the side streets with this configuration is less. So, people spend less time waiting with a three-lane section than when with the current four-lane section pretty much throughout the corridor.
[What the Simulations Show slide]
So, once we finished our traffic analysis we looked and we said, okay, can we answer our questions. I’ll just kind of rephrase them as we go through here. Johnson Drive and Nieman Road, could we change anything to make it work better? Yes, absolutely. With the three-lane section overall delay at the intersection decreases.
Can Nieman handle a three lane? Yes. It can not only handle a three-lane section now, but also with redevelopment traffic and there is plenty of available capacity that even with other future development we will have no problem handling the traffic and maintaining an acceptable delay along the corridor.
[Access Management on Nieman slides]
MR. GORDON: Thanks you. As we look at the corridor, certainly one of the things that’s most visible in terms of the impacts of any changes to Nieman that the City might choose to do, and one of the first questions we got as we met with individual property owners is, what are you doing to my driveways. How could you ever think of taking away anything. There were a lot of kind of expectations you might say from property owners concerned that any project to, quote, unquote, “improve Nieman” must mean removal of any and all driveways and direct access from their property onto a public street. We understand that concern. What we tried to do is make sure that we understood several things about their business, the kinds of traffic that their business accommodates. Not only just their normal customers, but it’s also delivery vehicles, things like that. Because we know that all comes into play in terms of making a site commercially viable.
But what we also need to look at is from the City’s perspective and the corridor operations, are there some of those entrances that can be adjusted? Are there some properties that have more entrances than they probably have to have to still meet all of their own operational needs? Are there some things that just currently aren’t even being used that, in fact, are great candidates? Because the bottom line is for access management, any corridor, the fewer number of driveways you have, the fewer number of places for cars to enter or exit the public street, in general, it simplifies traffic. It reduces the likelihood of crashes and it makes however many lanes you have flow more smoothly. And there’s less delay because I think anybody who has driven Nieman if you had to slow down, it’s probably either because you hit a traffic signal or a car in front of you needed to turn. So, with that what we looked at for this corridor are some specific opportunities throughout the corridor where there may be one driveway that could be adjusted and yet not eliminate their ability to directly access their property and Nieman Road. And that was the first thing that I want to make sure that Council understands and the public that our approach was that if a business has a driveway right now directly onto Nieman, we did not want to eliminate their direct access to Nieman because we understand the impact that that can have to their business. And certainly there’s a perception that perhaps that’s not the best thing for them in the long run.
So, with that in mind, just to make that very clear, we looked at some of those things where whether they had three driveways and it’s a question of perhaps they can function just as well with two, and as a bonus they get additional parking and it might actually improve circulation on their property, or their driveway and one right across the street might line up quite right or might not line up with an adjacent City street that intersects Nieman. And in those instances, if we can shift one entrance over so they line up, it can greatly improve safety. And in a way, it actually smooths traffic. Because a lot of the hesitation with side streets are people have to pay attention to what the folks across from them are doing. And hopefully they’re showing due care and they’re not going to just plunge out there other than if they have waited too long and they’ve gotten tired and they start making bad choices.
So, what you’ve got here is just an example. And this is after meeting with property owners, walking up and down the corridor looking at some things. A whole bunch of arrows. Let’s start off with the blue arrows. Those are existing entrances that probably are fine just where they are. We wouldn’t recommend any change to those access points. And that could be a private driveway or an existing public intersection.
The black with the dots are existing driveways that I think are candidates for considering whether perhaps they can be closed because there’s a duplicate driveway for that same property nearby, or you could see some of the red arrows there. It may be that while it shows a closed driveway, what it may mean is we really think it might work better if we shift it over a certain number of feet one way or the other to either. And, in general, for those it’s generally just to line up better with a driveway on the opposite side of Nieman.
So, this is starting at the south end moving our way up. One thing that you’ll see occasionally is an existing entrance, one of these black dash-dotted lines right next to an existing city street intersection. Obviously putting a driveway right next to a city street intersection is not the best place. It’s certainly not the safest. So, we looked for those opportunities where we can perhaps close that driveway and shift it to a better place or provide alternate access. And you can see here the shopping center there south of 61st Place, perhaps making sure they just have access off the side street in addition to keep their existing driveway a little further south.
As we move up we’re certainly sensitive to those businesses right now that basically have an open curb cut. Donovan’s has certainly operated their business this way for a long time. We recognize that that is -- their site would be difficult to make any significant changes on driveways. This shows basically that remaining as it is. But there’s some other spots along this section of the corridor where we can shift driveways and align them up a little bit better. If there are any spots there where we can combine driveways and have a shared driveway between two properties, that’s certainly a great discussion to have. But again, we want to make sure that it lines up pretty well with what’s across the street.
And then again once you’ve gotten to the north end, and this is obviously the transition from commercial to primarily the residential, there’s not a whole lot where we would propose to do. And that’s balanced out with the fact that at the north end of this portion of Nieman, in general, traffic flow is much more streamlined anyway. The volumes are somewhat reduced. Peak hour is a little bit different just because it’s not commercial traffic. It’s just the folks either passing through or the residents accessing their property for the most part other than going to the park.
So, with that we think this is a very reasonable approach. It’s hopefully not perceived to be a situation in which individual businesses and property owners feel like they’re being treated unfairly. But again, the end result we’re shooting for is as much as we can do to better plan out and streamline some of the entrances and that turbulence essentially that an entrance creates, the better it’s going to be for everyone who is using the corridor, not only to make it safer, but it just flows more smoothly.
With that, I’d like to hand it over to Marty and he will talk about some of the different options that were discussed as part of the process to date.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I have a question --
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Sure, Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: -- on what you just brought up. If you could go back a couple of slides. You were showing with the three black arrows, it was over next to the Chinese restaurant I believe and between Precision Tune. I think you just had it.
MR. GORDON: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: And you were talking about eliminating both of the drives that went in there. Now, does the same individual own property next to it to where they would have it, or are they going to have a shared parking lot drive?
MR. GORDON: In those instances the discussion is to go ahead and if there are not -- there is not already common ownership or an access easement in place to go ahead and discuss with those property owners if, in fact, something could be worked out.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You’d get an easement to where they could --
MR. GORDON: Correct. Yep.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Because that’s the same as land-locking them where you can’t --
MR. GORDON: Yeah. And obviously no one -- no one in this room proposes to do that even if we could, which we really can’t legally.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Okay.
MR. GORDON: But I think what we’re trying to illustrate is there are opportunities all up and down Nieman, the corridor, to adjust some of the access points. Even them out a little bit better and line them up better just to make it safer and a little bit more efficient for traffic to move along and across the corridor.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Okay. That was just my concern about taking a business and taking his drives away from him.
MR. GORDON: And understand from our perspective, and we’ll get into this a little bit more, but this again is I think starting to focus in a little bit more ground level in terms of options that are out there. And Marty is going to go through some of the different options that were identified. But, you know, I think the intent here is we’ll document the process and some of what’s come out in the discussions that we’ve had. And then as the City progresses with decision-making on what to do with Nieman, I think then that makes it very easy to frame up decisions you’d give to whoever a designer is when you’re actually read to start doing construction drawings at the next stage. We’re not doing that now. That was not the intent to do wholesale construction up and down Nieman to start changing things dramatically at this stage. But we certainly want to make sure that you make a decision with some additional information that you’d had previously. So, with that, I’ll go ahead and hand it over to Marty to talk about the options.
[Potential Improvements to Nieman slides]
MR. SHUKERT: Thanks, Randy. We looked in this part of the process at really blowing the corridor up from -- not literally, but from a drawing point of view to a large scale so that we could look at what was going on behind the curb line. And to some degree that involved looking at the implications of access management, of where there needed to be shared access, of where easements would be provided, knowing we’re probably not going to be able to accomplish all of them, but there is some level of cooperation that really can help and also increase available parking. And also to look at options for the street in terms of the pedestrian and urban environment behind the curb lines.
[Limited Improvements slide]
So, we looked at three overall operations. One of those options that we called a limited improvement option you see here that involves keeping for the most part the four-lane section of Nieman with the exception of simplifying the intersection at Nieman and Johnson Drive as Randy described.
We have two goals, really two goals in looking at the Nieman and Johnson intersection. One is to widen the sidewalk on the eastern edge of the Dodge City Beef building. That as you know is a very narrow walk. It’s a blind corner. It’s very hard to negotiate. And we’re attempting to get that by a realignment up to a 10 to 12-foot width which would be much safer. The other, as Randy and Amy were describing, is to line up the left turns so that we don’t have that dual cycle. And that is a significant benefit. Other than that, the street in the limited improvement option provides a four-lane section. So, this is not lane dieted. It’s a test of the regular street with a couple of crossing points that are created by diverging the lanes around a pedestrian crossing median and doing a continuous, to the degree that we can, six-foot sidewalk with, to the degree that we can, a six-foot setback from back of curb to the beginning of the sidewalk. Although in a lot of instances we don’t have that much room, so the sidewalk is still along the back of the curb.
[Limited Improvements: 4-lane section slide]
So, here you see the idea of what would be the redevelopment site south of Roger Road and at 61st Street, using some of that open property to diverge the lanes and build a median in the middle that makes a pedestrian crossing at that point much easier and perhaps even possible to be signaled with a pedestrian signal. This is what that would look like at one specific point. So, here we have the sidewalk at back of curb because there really is not enough room to set it back farther at that location. Adding some street scape elements as well as some historical or interpretative elements, new, more street-scaled or urban-scaled streetlights, landscaping and other things could be accomplished within the right-of-way. It creates a nice street. But the main problem with it is that we are in many cases not really able to buffer the pedestrian from a travel lane. And so that somewhat diminishes the quality of the pedestrian environment.
[Creating Shoulders or Bike Lanes along Nieman slide]
The second option involves creating a three-lane section along Nieman Road and providing shoulders or bike lanes. So, that looks something like that. Very similar in terms of keeping the curb in the same place.
[Road Diet: Three lanes with shoulder slide]
In this concept, we have a three-lane section that provides a shoulder. The shoulder is not specifically designated as a bike lane, but it provides a buffer between the pedestrian and the nearest travel lane, in this case, the southbound land. A place that cars can pull away from and get out of the way of an emergency vehicle, which is a benefit, or get out of the way of moving traffic if there’s a breakdown. So, there is some benefits to maintaining a shoulder of this sort.
[Road Diet: Three lanes with bike lanes slide]
So, we’re looking here at, depending up on the width of the street, curb to curb, a five to six-lane shoulder, which could also be embellished as a bike lane. Either one of those options fits within the same, within the same street section.
[Side path along W. side of Nieman slide]
The third option actually moves the curb from the west side in 12 feet, or a lane’s width, and provides room for both a green buffer and a side path. That is, a wider sidewalk that would parallel the street, connect with the Turkey Creek Trail extension and bring, really have the possibility of making a rather significant impact on the streetscape.
[Road diet: Three lanes with side path/enhanced sidewalk slide]
And that concept looks like this. So, you can see a -- with the additional curb movement a green buffer, the possibility of doing a ten-foot sidewalk, or side path as we call it, that’s a multiple use facility, good crosswalks. And generally change the environment of the street fairly dramatically.
[Johnson Drive options slides]
We also looked at a couple different options on Johnson Drive. Johnson Drive as you know is a five-lane facility with dedicated left turn lanes as we move into the Nieman Road intersection. All of these options are interchangeable with any of the lane change options. So, they’re really kind of separate systems. Here, this simply maintains the status quo with parallel parking and a five-lane section. We explored a couple of other ideas, one that involved taking Johnson Drive, reducing it to four lanes, which gives us the opportunity of providing along the west block, here’s Dodge City Beef and the theater. As we look out at the City Hall building, diagonal parking along the whole distance. That option does not work very well. And as a result of that we have rejected that. But one that does work is a four-lane option eastbound and a five-lane option with left-turn lane westbound. And it does work successfully at, and still gets us about five to six more parking stalls and diagonal parking along the south side of Johnson Drive. So, that really is a more viable option than the one that we originally looked at.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Can you elaborate on some of the differences [inaudible; talking off mic] the five-lane westbound.
MR. SHUKERT: The traffic works. The traffic -- yeah. It goes to a poor level of service if we eliminated that westbound to southbound left turn.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
MR. SHUKERT: But we still get a lot of the benefit by going to four lanes on the west leg of that intersection. There are a lot of examples around the area and around the country of how lane diets work. And we know that you don’t want to jump into something without knowing that there are comparable examples around the country.
[“Road Diet” Examples – Grandview, Missouri]
This one is Main Street in Grandview, Missouri which was a project that BHC Rhodes did. There was opposition to it. But as a lane dieted street with volumes and land uses that are very similar to ours on Nieman Road, the traffic flow works very well as we would expect it would.
[Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa]
This is another interesting one that we were involved with. And this is Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa. Ingersoll is a mixed use street. It has a combination of auto-oriented businesses, residential areas, more main street buildings that are built out to the property line. So, there are some real similarities. It’s outside of downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Its average daily traffic is very similar to Nieman Road as well. So, it went to a three-lane section with bike lanes and parallel parking because it’s a relatively wide street. And there were people who were very opposed to it, thought it would put them out of business. And, in fact, what it’s done has actually made the business environment considerably better along Ingersoll and encouraged a good deal of new development as well. Again, people can’t quite see how you can do fewer lanes and increase -- improve traffic flow. But, in fact, by moving the main conflict, the main turbulence out of the main stream it does, in fact, work better.
[North Avenue, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin]
This is North Avenue in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, which is a project that we did a development plan for.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Sir. Can we break in for a question?
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I’m sorry. Before we get too far ahead, real quick here. Several slides back, I should say several, four or five, you showed, and I was sort of thinking about this as you were going. You showed the three lanes on Nieman, three lanes with side path. And something that caught my mind is you said bringing the west in 12 feet.
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: So, why west versus east? What was the reason behind bringing the west instead of the east line 12 feet?
MR. SHUKERT: We had relatively -- a couple of reasons. We had a relatively easier number of driveways and driveway cuts to deal with on that side and could basically line that up with a widened sidewalk on the west side at the Dodge City Beef building. We had a point that we could bring the crossing, the connection from 60th Street that might eventually move northwest out a little bit more easily and link up with the pool and the historical village and many of those other destinations with a spur off to downtown. And importantly, we had the opportunity of improving sight lines for traffic, particularly at 60th where right now the building is very close up against the street. By moving the sidewalk on that particular side we really kind of eliminated what people told us and what we observed was the biggest sideline problem for street -- for traffic moving from a side street onto the Nieman Road corridor.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, and my only thought with it is what I see on the east side of Nieman is a form of potential redevelopment and probably the type of development we’re looking for. We have vacant ground and we have a large strip center that’s probably destined for redevelopment in the years to come.
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: So, I kind of see that path blending in more with redevelopment. And then also when we’re talking about a bike path, which would be, you know, hopefully would be traveled a lot more, putting more traffic on that. You have Donovan’s on that side of the street, which if I heard everybody correctly, we don’t want to take away his access that he has.
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: You really can’t. Then we’re running that traffic in and out of a service center right onto a bike path potentially stopping a car and blocking a bike path with bike traffic. So, just kind of when you said west, I understand there’s some advantages to it, but I also think there’s some disadvantages, some advantages to the east. So, that would be interesting to look at a little bit more on the east side as well.
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah. We did propose as well a side path on the east side at the redevelopment site. So, in that location it really actually exists on both sides because that does make sense. And so effectively, we are showing a side path or side path option on both sides south of 60th or 61st.
The other issue again was the issue of alignment once we got up to Johnson, that it kind of made things line up better than using the east side option.
Let’s see. So, Ingersoll. This was a case of an old road diet from four lanes to three lanes with a kind of odd chicane left turn. We proposed something a little bit different from that and that was actually going to two lanes with improved bike lanes, which actually has worked very well. This context really does not have a lot of mid-block interruptions. So, the left turns all take place at side street intersections and there are a couple of selected points where a left turn pocket can be provided. So, those are the various things that we’ve looked at.
As people will see at the open house, we have these gigantic strip maps that they’ll really be able to get into and look at impact and possibilities on individual sites and really get a good sense of how things could work. And we suspect that we will find some things that will cause us to change some of these concepts and refine them and combine them in a lot of ways when we get to the public open house next week.
So, any questions?
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. Thank you. Brandon.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. Can you clarify again where the pedestrian crossing across Nieman is going to be? I thought I saw it on one of the early renderings. And is there just one, is that correct?
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah. I think what they’re -- it’s looking like, and these are a couple of different formations of those. It looks like the easiest place to put one is 61st Street, is in the 61st Street area. The reason for that is that it’s one of those relatively rare areas where nobody needs the lane to make a left turn. So, that becomes a convenient place to do it. You’ll notice here we also propose something that may or may not be able to happen. But it was intriguing and people at an earlier -- at the charrette workshop really liked at, and that was relocating Roger Road to line up with 61st Street, which then allows the pizza restaurant to have a, if they acquired this house, to have a contiguous parking lot as opposed to having that split by a street. The whole scheme still works if Roger Road stays on its current alignment because there is an opportunity to trade out an existing, well, actually to use the existing curb cut and not move it. But the other place where this opportunity exists is a little bit north of 57th Street. So, there’s another similar kind of crossing that’s pedestrian only in that area. And all of these involve the use of a refuge median. Not necessarily signalized, but a place that you could cross one lane, stop, and then cross the other lane.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: So, actually have groups of people?
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: And is the other one, would that be situated similar to this one? I mean, I like how this is away from the major entrances and the major intersection.
MR. SHUKERT: Major intersection.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: So, that one is the same?
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah. Exactly. The same thing.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay.
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah. Yeah. That’s where we wanted to locate these is where they wouldn’t get in the way of left-turning traffic, but they would be clear zones.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: There used to be one at 57th Street for many years.
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah. And that is a spot that works.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
MR. SHUKERT: Yeah. I mean, I think there are, you know, that’s one of the beauties of the three-lane because where that center left-turn lane is not needed, it becomes a logical place to put a refuge median.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: We’ll have to look at that area and see if that works out [inaudible; talking off mic].
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Any other questions from the Committee? All right.
MS. KILLEN: I have kind of a wrap-up slide for the --
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Oh, sure.
MR. SHUKERT: Yes. Next steps, that’s right. There it is.
[Next Steps slide]
MS. KILLEN: So, as we’ve stated several times this evening there will be an open house next Tuesday. It is over at Shawnee Town and it will last from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. There will be a brief presentation at 6:30, but the format is mostly different stations where people can go and kind of get more in-depth answers to their questions about access management, traffic, and then these options as well. And we’ll also have a table where the other two projects will have information if people want to know about it.
Following that, there will be a survey out for the two following weeks. And we’re going to utilize Spring Starts Here to have a flyer that has the information on how to take that survey. So, when people are down here in the downtown area they’ll hear more about it as well.
And then finally, as Randy pointed out, this is not final design construction documents. These are field check documents. And the next steps, as pointed out in the packet, there is funding to do a re-striping kind of test on that three-lane. And then there is a capital improvement project that is part of the CIP that does have CARS funding that was approved to be on our CARS request list at your last Council meeting. So, just kind of next steps and how those build on each other in the future.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Excuse me.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I’d just like to weigh in. I don’t know that if we decide to go with an off-street kind of walk and bike trail, a little more safer for the kids and that kind of thing, I don’t know that I would go along with re-striping it to three lanes and side bike lanes in the time being. So, you know, I don’t know what kind of money we save, but I don’t know that I would spend it and then come back and redo it right away. I’m just throwing that out there.
MS. KILLEN: And certainly that striping option will be available and then they will also have the final report. And then at that time when you’re getting the final report and those field check documents, I think that’s a time that the Council could have that conversation.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: All right.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: [Inaudible; talking off mic]. One of the things that I brought up in the past, and so kind of what’s our -- what are our thoughts on going forward? I know that funds are going to be an issue on how much we do and when. So, what’s our idea as to -- piecemeal or -- because what I’ve always said is I don’t like the idea of piece mealing this over five years. I think we completely lose the impact of what we’re doing. So, kind of where are we at on that?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: The budget you’ll be seeing in the next few weeks is programmed in the forecast in the Economic Development Fund for $6.5 million Nieman Road project. The CARS project Katie talked about with CARS funding also. As we will tell you throughout the next few weeks, too, the Economic Development Fund is getting pretty programmed out because we’re building streets with it. But also streets that are driving economic development, so that will be something we can talk about more as we’re going through the budget process. Right now we have that identified. We also have funding identified and we’ve applied for another grant for a design with the trail. And then I think we even squeezed in a little bit later the trail construction and then the south creek section is plugged into Parks and Pipes with the additional increment amount to move the creek coming from the Economic Development Fund.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, and just so everybody understands why I bring this up, and I’ve said it before, is when you look at a project like this, if we, you know, if we do a little bit here and there over a long period of time, by the time we’re done there is going to be no impact to the changes. It’s going to be kind of we evolve into it and all of a sudden all these changes happen over a period of time and we don’t get any bang for the buck. So, my perception is if we’re going to do this we need to go all in, do as much as we can at once so that we can market this, it has maximum impact of what we’ve done, which hopefully opens some eyes to some developers and property owners that there’s a multi-million dollar investment on the road. Everything is changing. Let’s all get on board and let’s make something happen. I think if we just do a little bit, little bit, little bit, I don’t know, my fear is by the time we’re done we see no impact. We see no economic impact because I just don’t think the public awareness is going to be there, nor is there going to be the motivation on the property owners or developers to go, I mean, you know, what’s going on here. So, I don’t know what everybody else’s thought is on that, but I think on this one we definitely go big or, you know, all at once, or I think we’re just going be throwing money away.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I think, you know, what we were talking about for quite a while was re-striping the road to see what effect it made on the public coming through the City there and to see if that’s what we actually wanted. You know, we’re looking at diagrams. We’re looking at pictures. This is an awful lot of money and we have the money to re-strip just to see if it -- see what the effects are going to be and that’s the cheapest way out at this moment. And it’s not like we’re making some major changes and tearing up the curbs and sidewalks and street as of a re-striping to see where we’re at with it, I think that’s what we discussed before and I -- before we go all out and spend several million dollars I would rather see what the impact is first and see what it does, see if it makes a difference.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I would agree with Mickey. I think I like the idea of re-striping for a period of time because we can sit and talk about it and conjecture until the cows come home, but until we actually do it we’re not going to know. And this would give us some solid data, either positive or negative for us to go forward with. And I would think, you know, again going forward I would think it would be good information to have because it’s practical, sort of a test flight if you will.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: You know, 20 years ago I’d say yeah. But we just saw some pretty interesting computer models. I mean, welcome to the brave new world. We don’t really need to go re-stripe to see how it’s going to happen. You’ve got computer modeling. You’ve got traffic flow studies. You’ve got other cities that have done it. You’ve got, I mean, we have test models all over the country that have done with the same thing with the same traffic flows. So, let’s be realistic. We live in Shawnee. And we know what happens when we do stuff. So, we could go and re-stripe this and a whole bunch of people get together and say they don’t like it and they’re going to come up here and they’re going to stand up here during a meeting and they’re going to tell everybody how bad it is and everybody up here, half the people are going to cave and say, okay, well, forget it, we’re not going to do this project, we’re not going to change anything because you don’t like it. Because all they saw was a re-stripe of the road. And maybe it slowed them down from getting from 55th Street to Shawnee Mission Parkway and they don’t see any added benefits other than a re-striped road. And I know there’s a bunch of people that’ll cave when public pressure pushes on them that, well, we don’t like this. So, if we’re not changing the scenery and we’re not changing the corridor other than re-striping -- I love the idea of re-striping. But if we just re-stripe, I don’t know what the effect is going to be. I think we need to go in and do this and get the public -- get the maximum impact from doing a project where we draw people’s attention to it. Otherwise, we’re starting, I believe we could start off -- start the project on a negative versus a positive.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: And I’m going to write this down on my calendar, Jeff, that I don’t agree with you very often, but tonight I kind of do because if we put those bike lanes, I don’t believe -- we’re going to have -- we’ll probably put it out on a billboard out front. But if we put those bike lanes on the street and we want kids to be running their bikes up and down there, I mean, that puts them inches away from cars and you spread them out and you put them on both sides of the road as opposed to one big bike lane on one side of the road away with the median or grass in between them, I think it’s a lot safer. And that’s -- if we’re trying to make a walking/riding kind of community where they can, you know, maybe go down to one of these shops, and hopefully we have more shops, I think that’s what we got to do. And I don’t necessarily, I’ll throw it out there again, I don’t think we should spend the money on re-striping it and then come back and redo it. So, that’s my opinion.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You know, on the bike lane part of this, all over our city we have the bike lanes set up just like what we were talking about striping it. And so you’re talking about making a difference and putting them on a sidewalk and now, you know, you’re making them think because they’re going to have to figure out is this a bike lane here or do I ride on the sidewalk. You know, we have the bike lanes all over the city just like what we’re talking about striping it. Why would we -- why would it be less safe here on Nieman than it would be every -- on all the other streets that we put them? The safety issue is going to be the same on any street. That’s my --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Can I chime in on that?
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I think Jeff and then Dan and then Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I would just say there’s a difference with it. This is a continuation of a bike path. So, this isn’t a bike lane down Johnson Drive or a bike lane down Woodland.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: It’s start and stop. This is more of a start and stop kind of place where a kids is going to go a block and he’s not going 36 miles on a bike mission.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, we’re coming off a bike trail. It’s a continuation of a bike trail into a commercial area versus Big D racing, getting on their bikes and going 30 miles an hour down Johnson Drive on, you know, or whatever street out there with a group of cyclists, which typically you don’t see kids doing that. This is no different than Mill Creek Trail. You wouldn’t take Mill Creek Trail where you have a lot of families and kids on bikes and then dump that onto a bike lane on a street and go a few miles or a mile and then go back onto a trail. You just don’t do it. Once you’re on that trail, if you’re going to have family, kids, I think on a trail you’re going to want some sort of continuation of a trail off the road or you’re going to have people afraid to bring their kids. They’re going to hit Nieman and they’re going to stop and go, you know. And I know it because I’ve got little kids. And I know when my kid first started to ride a bike he wanted to go ride the trails. He’s fine on the trails. I’m not going to put him on a road when he’s going all over the place and weaving out in traffic. So, I think as a concern if we want people -- if we want to keep people from hitting Nieman and turning around and going back down into Merriam on that trail, then we’ve got to provide them something safer for them to ride on on their bike because the whole idea is to get that trail traffic and get them into downtown.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: And we do have it on Blackfish Parkway and it’s much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than two bike lanes on each side of the road. So, I think it works really well on Blackfish. And, you know, and that’s more of a residential area. And so there are people that bike 30 miles, you know what I mean? And that’s one of the trails they use. But anyway, I just think it would be that much safer for people walking and people riding if you move them off the street a little bit.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric and then Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes. I’m looking at this project. It looks like a good project. I think a lot of people want it, but I have a little bit of an issue just with one simple little thing that’s called money. There’s not a lot of money floating around for this project, and I remember telling John Mattox one night after one of these meetings that I’d be really in favor of a new fire station up in northwest Shawnee because we’ve got an 11-minute response times and so on. And that’s a need. And I really get kind of confused sometimes between the presentations we get on which ones are needs and which ones are wants. And this is nice, but it’s a want and we have to frame it correctly as a want. A fire station is a need. That’s public safety. That’s people’s lives and property at risk. And if you think something encourages development having a fire station up there encourages development as well because people have that added security of knowing they’ve got somebody there to get to their locations and protect them from the hazards of fire in an expeditious manner. So, you know, we’re kicking all these things around. I think they’re great ideas and I’m not trying to squash any ideas, but I would really -- don’t want to lose focus on the fact that we’ve got some serious needs and I would like to put some serious attention on those. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Yeah. And I was going to ride back on the bike lane part of this again on Blackfish as you said. And that brings up what Jeff had talked about how you wouldn’t want a bike trail for say dumping onto a street with bike lanes and that’s what Midland does. Blackfish turns into Midland and it goes straight to bike lanes off of that trail you’re talking about. And it’s -- we’ve never had an issue over there. The only issue we’ve had is further down.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, how many children do you see on Midland? You don’t.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I see a lot. I live over there.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: You don’t see a lot of kids on Midland.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You live out west.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I ride it all the time.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I see them.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I just wanted to respond to what Eric said. You know, I live out there. I’d love to see a fire station. I don’t think we’re talking about an either-or. And unfortunately what we’ve seen on downtown Shawnee over the years is a decline in property values. We’re turning into a rental village. We have a strip center with bars on the windows. We have very poorly maintained properties. There’s no incentive. And I think we have the economic concern as we have a neighborhood revitalization district. We have a lot of things, but it’s not working. And if we don’t change something drastically downtown we’re going to get past the point of no return. And we don’t want that to happen. This is our downtown. This is, you know, when we talk about being proud of our city and, you know, when we talk about being one of the fastest growing cities in Kansas and in Johnson County that growth ain’t happening down here. That growth is happening west of 435. Down here it’s suffering. And, you know, I’ve got a building for lease up the street. There’s a building two spaces for lease across the street from me, and there’s a few other spaces for lease up and down. I’m telling you what, guys, I don’t get the calls. I show my property and the comments I get kind of embarrassing. And it’s just people kind of go, so what’s going on with your downtown. How do you answer that? You know, well, there’s nothing going on with our downtown because we’re not investing in our downtown as a city. I agree. We need to build a fire station, but it can’t be an either-or. I mean, we can’t kind of look at this and say we’re going to starve government and we’re only going to fund our necessities and these items like this that are perceived wants are going to go away because to me this isn’t a want. This is a necessity and this is in your ward. And it’s a necessity. This is unacceptable, our downtown. We just can’t go on like this.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: And then we have Mickey and then Brandon.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Carol, how many million dollars was it going to be to change the road and to do the project?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: The Nieman Road?
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Yes.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Well, given that plans are very, very, very conceptual --
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Right. Agreed.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: -- I believe the number we have plugged in the forecast right now is $6.5 million.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: That’s what I was thinking, 6½ million. Now, my statement here is, the individual that you’re talking about that has bars on his windows, I don’t believe if we put $6.5 million in the roads that he’s going to take the bars off his windows. I don’t think that he’ll do anything to his building to be honest with you. And he’s not going to sell it. He’ll appreciate it if you can get more traffic to where somebody might rent it real cheap. But I don’t believe spending $6.5 million that he’s going to do any changes to that building myself.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Brandon.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. So, a couple points to follow on some of the statement that have been made here. I think the goal with this is to make downtown a destination. We don’t have a destination downtown right now. So, right now the businesses downtown as it functions, people come it for a specific purpose and leave. You don’t have people that congregate, that walk, that it’s not, you know, livable downtown in that aspect. It’s not a community-based downtown. And so there is many other types of businesses you would attract with redevelopment that promotes walking, biking, and congregation spaces. So, I feel that that is a requirement with any redevelopment we look at for downtown. Second, I don’t know if it’s been discussed, is there a ball park figure, and this would be a question for staff, in terms of how much the re-striping would cost? And then have we looked at how long that field test would be before we would move on to final plan and design after that?
MS. KILLEN: We currently have $80,000 for the re-striping budgeted. I think it would be a little less than that, but we left some money in there in case we want to test a little bit further on Johnson, or if we need to do some tweaks just to make the traffic signals line up as well with the streets, so we’ve left it at that 80. That’s where we have [inaudible]. Did you have another question? I’m sorry.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yeah. If there’s been any discussion about how long that field test for the re-striping would be.
MS. KILLEN: Right. So, that funding is in 2016, and so we’ve kind of talked about leaving it for a year and then that CIP project is scheduled in 2017.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. Thank you. So, I guess, you know, my comment would be, you know, I feel like there’s value in that type of field test, but also there is an urgency in being able to get underway with this so that the public doesn’t lose site of the value that would come from this. Because if you go a year with just re-striping, for most people it’s going to be a change and it’s going to be an annoyance at first and it’s not one that there is going to be benefit readily attached because it’s not going to be something that they see. So, it’s going to be a year-long annoyance without any of the tangible benefits that will come later. And I guess you could probably promote those all you want, and we can as a city and community, but it’s not real until people see it. So, there is value in looking at the big vision and trying to do as much of it as possible, or at least cut down and maybe do a phase approach with one or two phases. So, you know, I think as far as that goes I think I’m in agreement with Councilmember Vaught and Councilmember Pflumm on that because I think you want to tie that together. But I agree. I think the big issue is being able to make it walkable and being able to do that as soon as possible. And then as far as funding goes, deciding -- we clearly have economic development funds that are segmented into their own fund, so it’s not a matter of directly, you know, taking money from other priorities as it relates to public safety, other than we see how much beyond that we go and how long we want to drag this out. But clearly, I think we should get started. I guess the question is that we’re grappling with is how far we want to go and how fast. And I would say we should probably do as much as possible we can within the resources we have. So, thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I’m not against the redevelopment project. But what I would like to see is the re-striping first and give it a test run and it’ll get people set for kind of an idea of what it’s going to be like. And then when the changes are there it’s not a big deal to them. But I’m not against doing the project. I just think that we ought to do the re-striping first. Any other questions or comments from the Committee? Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Just throwing one thing out. The re-striping, if I’m understanding this correctly, goes along with the mill and overlay, right?
MS. KILLEN: This is actually not milling and overlaying, it’s just taking the paint off and then re-striping it.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Okay.
MS. KILLEN: The mill and overlay would be in the capital improvement project.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Okay.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Any other comments? I didn’t know if you were like mulling over what their --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: No, no, I’m okay. That was my question.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. He looked like he was thinking about it. Any other questions or comments from the Committee? All right. Is there anyone from the audience who would like to speak to this item? All right. Seeing none, the item was for informational purposes only and so no action is required of us right now.
2. DISCUSS KCP&L CHARGING STATIONS.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Moving on. The second item is to discuss the KCP&L Charging Stations. This item was tabled to this meeting at the May 26, 2015 City Council meeting. Caitlin Gard, Assistant Public Works Director, will provide an update. Staff is seeking direction of this item. If the Committee would like to proceed, staff would work with KCP&L on an agreement and bring it forward for consideration by the Governing Body.
MS. GARD: Good evening. This is actually going to be a very short presentation as it’s almost identical to the presentation that I gave you all about a year ago last year.
Many of the stipulations, actually all of the stipulations of the agreement remain the same, nothing has changed. As you guys can remember Kansas City Power & Light approached the City to install electric vehicle charging stations at City-owned facilities in their parking lots. KCP&L’s goal was to install 1,000 across the metro area. I think at this point they’ve reached about 500 to 600. KCP&L, as part of that agreement, would install and maintain all of these electric vehicle charging stations. And then in that condition the City would then pay for the electricity for the first two years of operation. After the first two years of operation, it would then go to a user-based pay system. So, all of that remains the same within the agreement just as we discussed last year.
[Other Municipalities slide]
A few other municipalities or organizations have kind of jumped on board with this agreement. Here is a list of those along with the number of charging stations they have. I did not hear back from the City of Olathe or the City of Kansas City, Missouri. But Johnson County Parks and Recreation does have quite a few, and we did speak with them just a little bit in regarding how much they pay per charging station. And it really ranges anywhere from about $2 or $4 all the way up to about $400 a year depending on the location.
[Current Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locations slide]
This map was just updated today. This is all of the current electric vehicle charging stations that KCP&L has installed across the area. As you can see there are a few in Shawnee already. Remember each -- for one electric vehicle charging station there’s actually two plug-ins, so there are 22 charging stations at 11 facilities. At the Mill Creek Shopping Center, at the Hy-Vee on Pflumm, Walmart on Maurer and then at the Johnson County property at Tomahawk Hills Golf Course on Midland.
[Proposed Locations slide]
Like I said, about a year ago KCP&L approached the City and staff kind of went along with them to look at all of our City facilities to see which locations would possibly would work best, what locations people stay for longer periods of time, kind of items like that are things we looked at. And if the Council would like to proceed with any of these charging stations these are the proposed locations. It doesn’t have to be all of these locations, it can be any of the locations. KCP&L did state that they would like to install at least two charging stations at a minimum at each facility. So, the minimum I guess we’re looking at is two here.
I do have a map of all those locations. We’ve looked at those before, so I can show them to you again if you would like, but here is a list of the locations and the number of charging stations proposed at those locations.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. Thank you, Caitlin.
MS. GARD: Told you it would be short.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you. I would just jump out and start and say I once again don’t think that we need to be doing this. It looks like last year when we had the conversation about letting the private sector sort of fill the void on this that they have begun to do that. So, it seems like that system is working and I think we should let them continue to do that. And, Mickey, I think you’re up.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I was going to echo that thought that, you know, we did bring it up to let the private sector step up because there wasn’t really any place for them to like come into City Hall and hang out. You know, it’s not like we’re selling anything to them. The other thing that I thought also is when we discussed it before that they were going to put one in also that was going to be available for the City not to be, I mean, not to be open more or less to the public in case the City was to get an electric vehicle.
MS. GARD: Yeah. I briefly remember that conversation. I don’t know if we specifically discussed limiting it to solely City vehicles. The City has not looked into electric vehicles any more than we had about a year ago.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Okay.
MS. GARD: It’s just not looking feasible at this point unless we buy a larger fleet, which again is just not something that we can do at this time.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Okay. That kind of reiterates my thought there. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. I think Brandon, Jim, Eric. I don’t know which one went first there. You guys can fight it out.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yeah. I recall this because I think it was one of the first items that I voted on coming onto the Council. And I would say probably my opinion hasn’t changed either. I don’t see it as a priority against kind of everything else we’re looking at. You know, I like that the locations that have been chosen so far are high traffic-high volume locations where I think it makes sense. And again, you know, those haven’t required public monies. And so, you know, with the exception of, you know, perhaps the Civic Centre since, you know, there is a number -- there is the library and the pool and things there where it might make sense, but overall still my opinion on this hasn’t changed.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I echo what everybody else has said. It’s an interesting technology and things, but you tell us it costs $70,000. I just don’t think it’s time yet. There will be time sometime down the road, but I don’t think it’s now.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, everybody is saying the same thing. That’s great. I’m saying the same thing as well. I like the fact that they’ve entered into agreements with these private companies, Walmart and those folks. I think that’s great. That’s exactly the way it should be in my opinion. It should have been that way all along, so I’m very pleased with the way the outcome is working out and we’re not involved in it. Because, you know, it’s more than us just helping subsidize it, we also have to give up parking places. And I know sometimes you get to the like the swimming pool out by the Civic Centre, it can be pretty packed at some, particularly on a hot summer day, and there is three more spaces that have been taken away for this. So, we know it’s not huge, but it’s another drawback if we put these in. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Okay. I’m going to have to be the one on the other side.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: And now for the dissenting opinion.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: So, remind again. If we install these ourselves what do they cost?
MS. GARD: $10,000 each.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I’m sorry?
MS. GARD: $10,000.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: $10,000 each. So, theoretically -- how many are they willing to install?
MS. GARD: Ten.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Ten. $100,000. And you’re talking about the most in electricity per maximum if they were used continuously, 400-500 bucks a year?
MS. GARD: About 400, yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Or 400 times ten. So, if we spent the maximum on each one, for that amount of money we’re going to get $100,000 worth of charging stations at our public facilities that will stay there when the program is over that we can use as a City. And we don’t think this is a good use? Think of it as what if we decided to do this and we just went and bought the units because we wanted to have an electric fleet in the City or what if we wanted to lease them and we’re going to make payments on $100,000, that’s the electricity cost. What am I missing here? We’re going to pay for some electricity to get charging stations for free at our public facilities so that we can get electric vehicles in our fleet that we could use and not have to buy fuel. It’s a green initiative. It looks good. It puts us out in front. And we don’t want to do that because we got to spend -- I mean, god, Mickey, you want to spend 80 grand to stripe a street. $80,000 to stripe a street and then a year later pave over it and do something different, but you don’t want to spend a couple thousand dollars on electricity over a period -- to get $100,000 worth of charging stations. I don’t know. What am I missing? I don’t get it.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: The $10,000 charging stations are the stations that they use right now that they have the pillars and that’s $10,000. They have an extremely much cheaper unit that they put in your house, so you can charge your car at home and it costs under -- somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000 to $1,500 I believe to get it set up to charge your car at home. But we want to spend or have $10,000 each or at such a value -- it’s only a value if you’re selling the electricity in my view. But, you know, you can -- if we were to buy an electric car here we could actually wire it in here to City Hall cheaper. We could even work it off of our generator if the power was out. You know, so that’s the difference that I see in the $10,000 each myself.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I have a couple of other people, I’ll jump in too and just say I think for me it’s maybe even less of a cost issue as much as a philosophical one. I don’t think that local government should be in the business of doing this. So, that’s -- yeah. Brandon and then Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Jim actually had his hand up.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jim, Brandon and then Jeff. I can’t look both ways.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: When everybody gets done talking I would like to make a motion.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Oh, I see. All right. Brandon and then Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yeah. So, I would just answer to that. I understand the argument you’re making. There’s a number of issues I have with this and, yeah, it’s a one-time fixed cost. But again, that’s -- those are dollars that we could direct elsewhere. This isn’t an economic development tool. It promotes sustainability and it does that. And granted, there are positive aspects to it. But, you know, the problem is it’s not an economic development tool and we’re not going to be able to see -- and it’s unclear to me whether we’ll see direct value from it. And then it’s also pure speculation at this point whether or not, you know, those additional stations will result in increased traffic and use of those stations based on the ones that have already been established in that map. You know, and so if we install those and, you know, they may get usage, they may not, but it’s not really tangible what the result will be for the City. And I feel like, you know, this is something if we wanted to revisit it, which I’m not so keen on, but if we did, it’s something we could go back to at any time. There’s not a sense of urgency as far as, you know, we have to do it now or, you know, the roof is going to fall. But it’s not, you know, I fail to see -- I’m a big proponent of economic development, but I don’t see an economic development need here. I do see that, you know, the dollars for this could be reallocated elsewhere with priorities we have, so that’s how I look at it.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Okay. So, $100,000 to charging stations, maximum $4,000 in electricity. Maximum. If we just -- so, realistically probably 1,500 in electricity. One and a half percent of the acquisition cost. We would have to pay 1½ percent of what it would cost us, maybe 2 percent of what it would cost us to acquire them, we’re only going to pay 2 percent of that cost. That’s like somebody coming to you with a $20,000 vehicle and saying you put gas in my car for the next year, I’m going to cap you at four percent of the $20,000 cost and I’ll give you the car at the end of the year just for putting gas in it. Are you going to say no? I’d be all over that deal. It’s the same thing. They’re saying pay for the electricity for a couple years. This is the most it’s going to cost you per year and we’ll give you $100,000 worth of charging stations.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: But we’re not making a dime on it.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: We’re getting $100,000 worth of charging stations. What am I not seeing here?
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: What if it was a million dollars? It’s something that you don’t need.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: But if we want to put in an electric fleet in this City -- this gives us an opportunity to put in an electric fleet -- I mean, right now we’re going, ah, it’s no big deal we don’t have an electric fleet because gas is only $1.99 a gallon. Do you think it’s going to stay there? I mean, we saw, you know, a buck 70, it’s a $1, $2 a gallon now. Do you not think in a few years we’re going to be back up, $3.00, $3.50 a gallon? We all know it’s going to happen. And then it’s all going to be relevant again going, god, our fuel cost has just doubled in the City. You know what would be great, if we had electric vehicles. At some point we need to wrap our heads around this. It’s coming and I’m going -- I just -- I don’t get it. We could be buying electric vehicles and not have to spend a hundred grand on charging stations. And so all these -- the City vehicles are the perfect ones. They’re not out running all over the place. The car sits there. They run out. They go do codes stuff or whatever and they come back and you plug it in. And they unplug it and they go. They‘re not going on 300-mile journeys. They’re not out -- they’re not running the limits of that battery. We’re the perfect scenario for electric vehicles and we could easily replace our fleet and we’re going to get $100,000 worth of free charging stations but we don’t want to spend a few thousand. I mean, I’ve seen this Council disagree to spend crazy money on all kinds of stuff. Oh, yeah, let’s -- but we’re talking about the most -- at the most four grand a year, maybe a couple grand realistically, 1,500. Wow. I mean, the reality is Carol has got the check-writing capacity to just go ahead and do it if she wanted. But we’re making this decision whether we want them in our parking lots or not. Man, crazy.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: I’d move we table this item till the May 2017 Committee meeting.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Oh, god.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: 2027, is that what you said?
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Twenty-seven. That sounds good.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: 2017.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I have motion. Yes, sir. We’ll hold your motion. Would anyone from the audience like to speak to this item? Come on up. Thank you for reminding me.
MR. ERLICHMAN: Ray Erlichman, (Address Omitted). I think I was one of the few citizens last year that voiced the same comments as most of the members of the Council about this. I was looking at the package, and you folks all have copies of this. There was a very interesting expression used in there. It said lily-padding. You know, hop from one to the next. And at Pflumm and Shawnee Mission Parkway you’ve got two set-ups. You’ve got Hy-Vee and you’ve got Mill Creek. Well, first of all to what Ms. Meyer said and a few of the others, charging stations at City Hall and Barton and what have you, I mean, people aren’t going to have enough time to charge their cars. You know, so what are we gaining? You want a lily pad? Go over to Ten Quivira. It’s a mile from Pflumm Road. Pflumm to Quivira is a mile. Approach the people at Ten Quivira. They’ve got approximately 30 stores there now, give or take one or two. And if they had three charging stations, six spots, 400 a year, that’s 1,200, and they could apportion it out and it would be about $30-$40 a year for each merchant. They could write that off as a public relations or an advertising thing. You know, well, you’re not going to get the traffic up here at City Hall.
Now, one thing, and two other things I want to make note of, because I’ve been following this for a while. There were two permits pulled last fall. Stephen. Thank you. There we go. That’s the permit to do the ones at Shawnee Station out there by Hy-Vee, actually by Maurer. And then this one, this permit was a permit that was pulled to do Walmart at 74th and Nieman. And it must have just been an oversight, but on this packet it says installed 11. Well, actually there’s -- that one has been installed also. So, that’s three more. And that’s the Walmart at 74th and Nieman. Pardon me, but I shot it into the sun, but that’s one of them right there. You can see the Dollar General store and the Church’s Fried Chicken. So, that’s another commercial facility in the lily-padding effect. So, I think we should keep it that way. Let’s let the commercial people take care of this instead of putting in at City Hall where we might get one vehicle every six months come in and use it. And the heck with the cost because we’re never going to put them in there.
Now, I’m going to answer a comment that one of the Councilmembers made. I’m going to try to maintain my cool and be respectful. A fleet of electric vehicles? Where? Our fire trucks? Our police vehicles? Excuse me, I can’t go into pursuit, I just ran out of juice. I don’t know how many we have, but I think the quantity is very small as far as sedans that are used by other departments, Codes Administration. I don’t even know if we even have a dozen. It’s probably less. And most of them, correct me if I’m wrong somebody, I think they’re cast-offs from detective vehicles that come, you know, like secondhand clothes come working down. So, I don’t know where we’re going to get a fleet of electric vehicles. I don’t think we have enough vehicles that would fall into that category where we’re going to get a fleet of electric vehicles. But then, I don’t know. There’s a pretty good sized parking lot at a real estate company over here on 57th and Nieman. Maybe the owner of that place would want to put a few up in there at that parking lot. Anyway, that’s my comment.
And I would be against tabling this. I think you guys should just kick it out and call it quits and let’s quit kidding ourselves. Let the commercial businesses take care of it. And that might not be a bad idea for the Nieman Road project. You know, put a couple of them near Johnson Drive and Nieman in some of those stores on Nieman Road and put a few them down towards Shawnee Mission Parkway. Look over where Shawnee Village is, where the Burlington Coat Factory is, look at all of those. And if those developments split it up among their tenants, wow, you telling me Burlington Coat Factory wouldn’t pay $40-$50 a year out of their public relations or advertising funds? No. Please don’t table it. Just kill it, will you? Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you. And if you’d sign the podium form. Thank you. All right. Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Well, I do have to agree. We can bring this thing back at any time. It doesn’t have to be tabled for any reason. It can come back if anybody would -- any Council person wants to bring it back for, you know, for some advancements in here. But we’ve already visited a couple of times and anyway.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Just a second real quick.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff and then Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I would just like to say that you guys are all answering your -- you’re basically, how would I say it, you’re answering your own argument. So, the argument is we could spend all this money on these charging stations, but what you all said is nobody is going to use them. So, what is actually going -- if nobody is going to use them, then what are we going to actually spend in electricity? That maximum number drops to nothing. So, not only do we get $100,000 worth of charging stations, so it’s going to cost us what, $1,000 a year? $500? Because nobody is going to use them. That’s what was just said. That’s what you’ve all said, who’s going to use them. So, we’re not going to really spend anything on electricity and we still don’t want them. I mean, come one. Really? And there are several vehicles, electric vehicles we could put into the fleet. And actually if you would look around at some stuff there are police departments that have been researching electric vehicles as technology grows. It’s becoming a reality. And I think in the years to come we will see that become a reality. I don’t think in the short people of time. But there are some cities that have been testing electric vehicles for law enforcement and for other areas. So, you know, that technology is advancing rapidly. So, this conversation we’re having right now, battery technology could revolutionize in 12 months from now and we could be saying, god, it would be great if we had some charging stations. We need to jump on board and there we are. So, obviously I’m outnumbered here, but I just, wow, I don’t get it.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Yeah. I still believe that we would be wasting parking places and it is no benefit to the City whatsoever. Because even if after the two or three years that we would supposedly own them, we would still have to pay for the electricity if we had an electric car. So, I would just assume not table it also. I would just as soon as go ahead and kill it. If we needed to bring it back up, we can bring it up at any period of time.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, we have to buy the fuel in the cars we own. What’s the difference?
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jim, I believe you have a motion on the floor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: I do with one thing. Number one, MARC doesn’t have anything to buy electric cars. We’re a long ways out. We can visit it sometime forward. I would like to amend my motion that we -- I move that we take no action on this item at this time.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I second that.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Second.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I have a motion and a second. All those in favor say aye.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Opposed nay.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: No.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: We have on nay and it’s Councilmember Vaught. The motion passes.
I certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from the electronic sound recording of the proceedings in the above-entitled matter.
/das May 14, 2016
Deborah A. Sweeney, Recording Secretary
Stephen Powell, City Clerk