CITY OF SHAWNEE
COUNCIL COMMITTEE MEETING
February 7, 2017
|Councilmembers Present ||Staff Present|
|Councilmember Neighbor||City Manager Gonzales|
|Councilmember Jenkins||Deputy City Manager Charlesworth|
|Councilmember Kemmling||Assistant City Manager Sunderman|
|Councilmember Meyer||City Clerk Powell|
|Councilmember Sandifer||City Attorney Rainey|
|Councilmember Kenig||Finance Director Rogers|
|Public Works Director Whitacre|
|Councilmembers Absent||IT Director Bunting|
|Councilmember Pflumm||Development Services Dir. Wesselschmidt|
|Councilmember Vaught||Police Chief Moser|
|Fire Chief Mattox|
|Parks and Recreation Director Holman|
|Management Analyst Schmitz|
|Deputy Planning Director Allmon|
(Shawnee Council Committee Meeting Called to Order at 7:01 p.m.)
A. ROLL CALL
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Good evening and welcome to tonight’s Council Committee meeting. My name is Brandon Kenig. I’m a Councilmember from Ward IV and I’m the chair of this committee. Besides myself the committee members here tonight are Jim Neighbor of Ward I; Eric Jenkins, Ward II; Mike Kemmling, Ward II; Stephanie Meyer, Ward III; and Mickey Sandifer, Ward IV. Councilmembers Dan Pflumm and Jeff Vaught are absent.
Before we begin our agenda I’d like to explain the 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 will ask that you state your name and address for the record, then you may offer comments. So that members of the audience can hear your comments, 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 that we have an accurate record of your name and address.
1. DISCUSS THE LINKING HISTORIC SHAWNEE TURKEY CREEK TRAIL PROPOSAL.
There are two items on tonight’s agenda. The first item is discussing the Linking History Shawnee Turkey Creek Trail Proposal. On September 6, 2016, the Council Committee discussed a proposed trail connection between Nieman Road and the Turkey Creek Trail in Merriam related to the Linking Historic Shawnee study. Planning staff facilitated a neighborhood meeting on January 10, 2017, with 26 residents attending to discuss alternative trail routes. Doug Allmon, Deputy Planning Director, will make a presentation regarding the ideas that were generated at the meeting. The item is for informational purposes. If grant opportunities become available in the near future, staff will bring this issue back to the Governing Body to get direction at that time.
MR. ALLMON: Good evening. I appreciate you having me here this evening. As you remember in September, we went into the details of the plan quite a bit. The consultant was here. So, rather than go back and regenerate all of that, I’m just basically going to kind of talk about where we started and where we are today.
Linking Historic Shawnee Multi-Modal Connectivity Plan
[Project Overview slide]
In terms of our task, the Project Overview was basically to, and it stems back to the Community Connections Study that we did back in 2013. And one of the things that came out of this was this idea of connectivity from the Trail Springs area to the commercial areas of Nieman Road. And some form that we were tasked with attempting to get a connectivity plan from Nieman Road over to Turkey Creek Trail in the City of Merriam. It made sense to link up with Campbell Park because there are parking improvements there and improved sidewalks in that section of Merriam.
[Advisory Committee slide]
The first thing that we did in terms of getting the project underway was we formed an advisory committee. That committee was made up of residents of the Trail Springs area. It was made up of various board members from committees in the city. It was made up of some staff members, and also there was representation from the City of Merriam on that advisory committee.
[Project Goals slide]
And that advisory committee came up with specific goals for the project. Basically the three C’s of Connectivity, Consistency, and a Cost-Effective plan in creating this trail from Nieman Road over to Turkey Creek.
[Advisory Committee Alternatives slide]
The advisory committee initially met up at the Civic Centre in December 2015, and they actually went over several initial alignment alternatives. You can see that in the map at the top. They discussed those in detail and basically narrowed it down to three alternatives that were going to be then presented to the public.
[Community Meeting slide]
After those three alternatives had been vetted by the advisory committee a public meeting was held. We had 35 attendees at that meeting. There was a discussion of the three alternatives. There was an online survey opportunity for the city at large. And from that the northern alignment was decided to be studied in detail. And that’s the direction then that the study went, including detailed survey information and those sort of things to iron out potential alignment along that north route.
[Committee Meeting Public Commentary slide]
In September, as we said, 2016, we did talk about this and there was quite a bit of feedback from the public at that meeting. There was both negative and positive feedback.
Some of the positive things that came out from that northern route was that it was centrally located so that it might more readily serve the entire Trail Springs neighborhood, and the tie-in point to Nieman was at 60th Street, which was kind of in the middle of the commercial portion of Nieman. The north route included both on-street and off-street trail and sidewalk segments. And that was a desire of the community respondents and the steering committee. The north route also called for replacement of a damaged crossing at Melrose and provided defined improvement connection at Stearns to the existing sidewalk in the City of Merriam.
Negative impacts of that trail were the utility, tree and driveway conflicts in the right-of-way. The need to acquire property for its connection at the Ballentine section where 60th Street would have gone through a gentleman’s -- basically his yard or even potentially his house. A negative aspect of that plan was the steepness of 60th Street where it connected into Nieman Road. And also just the overall negative perception expressed by the neighborhood. When we brought this forward to the actual neighborhood residents, the northern alignment, it became very apparent that several people who lived on the trail route were not thrilled, especially with the Merriam and 60th Street extensions.
[Trail Springs Neighborhood Feedback slide]
And so from that we were then tasked by you -- at the time your body, you tabled it and basically said can we get back with the residents and see if there’s any alternatives or compromises that could be done. And so we did that. We made this room available. David facilitated -- David Morris facilitated a meeting with 26 neighbors. I thought it was a very positive meeting. I thought the feedback was good. And they actually came out with some recommendations that they felt would have the least impact on the neighborhood, but at the same time provide some sort of connectivity through their neighborhood to Nieman Road.
[Potential Stearns Connection as Proposed by Both Alternatives slide]
And what came out of that meeting, it was kind of a group effort. They did decide that something that paralleled with the north route was that the connection to Stearns through that drainage area, through City right-of-way was something that they felt was a win for the neighborhood and that they were actually in favor of that from what we could -- what we understood the conversation to be. That is also something that was expressed through that northern route and through the Linking History Shawnee study as being a very good opportunity for connectivity.
[Neighborhood Recommended Improvements slide]
In specifics, the neighborhood recommendations were that we install a trail, including a bridge, from the existing sidewalk at 61st and Stearns to the end of the paved portion of 61st Street east of Melrose. So, basically going down through the ravine either bridging or in some way getting across that drainage area and then extending a path up to the asphalt that makes up the street.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You’re going to have to put a bridge in?
MR. ALLMON: Either a bridge or what I would call a whistle with a path over the top of it. There would be some sort of bridge.
Their second recommendation was leave the portion of 61st Street from the east end of the street to Ballentine as-is with no improvements. Residents would use the existing street for walking and biking.
They also expressed an interest in improving Ballentine from 61st to 62nd Street with curbs, gutters, stormwater collection system and a five-foot wide sidewalk on the east side of that street.
And then they also talked about the benefits of improving 62nd Street from Ballentine to Goddard with curbs, gutters, stormwater collection system and a five-foot sidewalk on the south side of the road. If you’re familiar on the south side of 62nd Street right now there are some street improvements being done with the drainage project that we’re doing in that area. What they’re talking about with that last sentence is to extend that further to the east over to Goddard where there are sidewalks on the east side of Goddard today.
[Neighborhood Proposal - Positive aspects to this alternative alignment include: slide]
The positive aspects of that alignment, their recommended proposal is that a sidewalk connection between Ballentine and Goddard will provide a pedestrian route from 61st Street and Ballentine to existing and redeveloping commercial areas along Shawnee Mission Parkway. As you’re all familiar we have some new restaurants and things going in on the north side off of Goddard. The neighborhoods proposed southern alignment would also provide connectivity to the bridge and trail to Nieman that is being constructed as part of the ongoing storm drainage improvements in the area. That’s the area down behind the post office that’s being outfitted with a bridge and trail that will connect to Nieman Road. And also another positive aspect of their proposal is that the trail connection and the bridge at Stearns would possibly mitigate some soil and erosion problems that we’ve had in the area, and will allow movement from the neighborhood to the adjacent Merriam Park School and ultimately Turkey Creek Trail. Again, that was part of that recommendation of the Linking History Shawnee study that was presented in September.
[Neighborhood Proposal – Negative aspects of this proposal include: slide]
Not all things can have just total positives. There are some negatives with this proposal in that leaving the segment along 61st Street and Ballentine to the potential trail connection to Turkey Creek would again require pedestrian and bicycles to be in the road. It is a low probably volume travel road by vehicles. But again, it’s often not a good time -- thing to encourage pedestrians to walk in the street. The southern route that is being talked about is not necessarily centrally located and may not adequately connect the entire neighborhood. Proposed sidewalk improvements on the east side of Ballentine would have some impact on some existing driveways on that side of that road. But that would be true with probably any sidewalk construction that you do in that neighborhood. And the last slightly negative is that it is -- it lacks the constancy and continuity which was the stated goal established by the steering committee. And because it would be a phased and fragmented plan, it would likely be difficult to get grant money to build it if we were to do this a bit at a time. More than likely it would be city dollars that would be needed to fund this.
That completes my little brief discussion. I think that there are some folks from the neighborhood that would like to talk tonight. So, I would just open it up to discussion and any questions that might be brought forward.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Thank you, Doug. Any discussion from the Council? Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I just had a question for Doug real quick. I’m a little confused on that piece where you’re actually going to have a share the road thing for pedestrians and everybody. What’s the distance on that? How long of a stretch is that?
MR. ALLMON: It would be from Melrose to Ballentine, so it would be a full block.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: A full block.
MR. ALLMON: That would be the unimproved. Their recommendation was no curb, no gutter, no changes to that section of road.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Anybody else? Okay. Is there anyone in the audience who would like to speak to this item?
MR. MORRIS: Good evening. My name is David Morris. I live at (Address Omitted), Shawnee. I apologize. My throat is a little scratchy tonight. Thank you, Council Committee for hearing discussion on this. As was stated, we did have a meeting with the neighborhood. It did go well. A lot of conversation back and forth, a lot of listening, a lot of explaining sort of some of the details of what the thoughts were of the Trail Springs board and what the discussion was with many people in the neighborhood. You know, as you guys know lots of times you have to come up with a compromise. And some of this is not all people like it, not all people dislike it. But I think the consensus was that it was a reasonable approach to a solution to help with getting pedestrians and bicyclists from the Merriam side over and through the business section of Shawnee.
Can we bring up that one map?
MR. ALLMON: The map that had your proposed?
MR. MORRIS: So, the consultants and the steering committee proposed a different route, but it did have a lot of concerns with the people in the neighborhood. I know in the Trail Springs newsletter it talked about that there was perceived negative effects to the Trail Springs neighborhood. It really, I don’t know if we can switch to this or not. Actually there was more than perceived. There was a lot of damage that was going to be done to the neighborhood, a lot of old trees taken out. On 60th, essentially this would be approximately the area where the sidewalk was proposed, which would take out a lot of driveway space on a number of the areas in there in this particular house. It would come -- basically take out their whole front yard. They barely have room to park a car there right now. And taking that out would cause damage. So, these are also along 60th, more according to the consultants, more trees were going to be taken out. Part of the charm and the beauty of the neighborhood is in those things. So, that’s why we wanted to sort of look at alternatives. I’ll go to the section that’s lined in blue here is 61st Street from basically the Merriam line where the arrow is, which is Stearns and over to Ballentine. And the reason that we made the recommendation of leaving that partially was because of the houses that you saw it would encroach way into their yards and basically not give them any parking whatsoever. And also this area is virtually flat. There’s no ditches basically on that whole road, it’s flat. So, if there is a car coming someone can easily get off to the side onto the grass, not break a leg, not go into a 18 or two-foot deep ditch and struggle. The recommendation for Ballentine, to improve Ballentine, Ballentine has the most traffic. It has the most water and flood issues. It has the most pedestrian traffic on it. It has the most bicycle traffic on it. And it has the most kids and people walking their dogs on it. That area is a real issue from both from 62nd Street clear up to Johnson Drive. Literally there’s a lady that lives at 58th and Ballentine that has two young kids that she holds both their hands and walks them to school, walks them to the corner of 61st and Ballentine to catch the school bus. And this time of year it’s dark. It’s very dangerous. In fact, I bought her -- I don’t know her very well, but I was so concerned that I bought her reflective vests for her two kids. I mean it’s very dangerous. And whether they’re coming home or going to school this time of year it’s dark out. And there is two, three-foot deep ditches along there. So, that whole area, so, that was one of -- if you take a look right now as we know Merriam has said that they will not do any improvements on their end of things for this connection, but they do have -- they already have curbs and gutters and sidewalks. In fact, they have curbs and gutters and sidewalks on every road in Merriam that buts up to Shawnee, whereas, the Shawnee side does not. But where 62nd Street meets Stearns, Stearns is Shawnee, that actually is curbed and guttered and sidewalked all the way to Johnson Drive, and Johnson Drive to downtown. So, you sort of have the northern route there. I know there has been discussion also about -- that there truly is a direct path from the Turkey Creek Trail to downtown via Johnson Drive. And I know that there has been discussion about the dangers and high traffic on that, which is true. But I believe it’s Hocker Grove and some of the other schools take their track teams and they walk and run that whole distance clear into Merriam, across the railroad bridges and so on. The kids from Hocker Grove use that street all the time. What we’re proposing is more of a southern route so that it actually goes down south on 62nd Street, so it connects with the new businesses that we hope will be coming along where the post office is currently and that whole section where there will be improvements. Also connecting the sidewalk so it doesn’t dead-end at Ballentine, connecting it down to Goddard. Hopefully there will be some restaurants and other amenities at the corner of Goddard and Shawnee Mission Parkway and that frontage road there. That again will connect that. So again, we’re trying to connect to those businesses through the neighborhood. So, you both have sort of a -- you have a couple of northern routes. This would be the southern route. The central route has I think does too much -- I think the neighborhood feels like it does too much damage to the neighborhood for the benefit and has a lot of issues on that. I encourage staff and Council to approve this. It’s a plan that’s a compromise that the neighborhood has gotten behind and really likes the compromise of it. But it also sort of achieves many of the same things that were required for the other. So, that is sort of where we stand on that.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. Thank you. Is there anyone else in the audience who like to speak to this item? Seeing none, I will move on and just sort of -- oh, I’m sorry. Yes.
MR. WATSON: John Watson, (Address Omitted). I just have a short question. Rather than -- if we don’t have the money or we don’t have funding for the entire project, I wonder if there’s a possibility that that sidewalk between Ballentine and Goddard on the south side of the street, I think have a cost in there of $100,000. We already have a contractor on site. They’re pouring curb and gutter. In fact, they were out there pouring concrete today. It seemed like since we already have a contractor on site that would be a pretty easy project to take care of. And that would connect that trail that goes along -- well, I understand there’s going to be a trail along that drainage structure that they’re putting in at Turkey Creek. And then it’ll have a sidewalk on 62nd. That’ll connect with the bridge. And just that one block will connect with Panera’s to Scooters and give access to the -- well, now where the Trek Bicycle shop is and all that area in through there. And it seemed like this would be a good opportunity to take care of that. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Councilmember Meyer.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. If there are no other audience comments, I didn’t want to jump ahead of them.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. Any other comments from the audience? Anybody else who would like to speak to this item? Okay. Councilmember Meyer.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. Thank you. I guess I just overall I appreciate the neighborhood coming together with a compromise plan, but I kind of come back to something that my ward-mate Councilmember Vaught said the last time we brought this up that, you know, it seems like we’re working really hard to accommodate a neighborhood that doesn’t really want us to do these upgrades. And we have so many other parts of town who are begging us to do bike paths and do the things that are basically being pushed off here that it seems like we might be better served to listen to the neighborhood who is saying we don’t want this project and put our funding towards a neighborhood that would be frankly appreciative of it. And I think the initial project was a great one. I would love to have a bike path going through my back yard, front yard, whatever. I think it’s too bad for the residents who would really use this amenity and I think it is a nice one. But again, I think we’re fighting an uphill battle. The proposed plan isn’t -- it doesn’t really come together in such a way that it would even lend itself to grant funding. So, if we don’t have grant funding, then the question becomes where does it come from from City dollars, and we don’t have those dollars. So, it seems like it’s a bit of a moot point and we’re fighting a fight that doesn’t really have an outcome if that makes sense.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Any other comments, final comments from the Council? Oh, I’m sorry. Ma’am, if you would like to come up and give you name and address as well, please.
MS. MARTIN: My name is Debra Martin. I live at (Address Omitted). I’m a little confused that if the City of Shawnee is able to get grant money to do the stormwater projects in stages, why this can’t be done for the neighborhood. Thank you.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Or I can if you’d like.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Or, yeah, Carol.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: The challenge with this plan is that it’s not a true trail. And you can only apply for a grant that is specific -- the grants are very specific. And so if there is grants for a trail they’re going to want to see a trail from start to finish, not kind of a piecemeal sidewalk here, walking the street here. So, we just don’t anticipate there would be grant money for this specific plan. It would be part of, and I think Mr. Watson’s comments are very well-taken. As we do other projects to look at pieces of it, filling it in. But as far as a grant -- the SMAC program for stormwater is specifically for stormwater, for flooding. It’s a got a very defined purpose. So, that grants are -- you’ve got to really meet exactly what they’re looking for in order to be eligible. So, if that helps.
MS. MARTIN: Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. Ma’am, if you’d like to come up and please give your name and address for the record.
MS. DUGAN: Lindsey Dugan. I am currently at (Address Omitted), but I am a former Trail Springs resident and was part of the neighborhood when we kind of started all this. I’d like to clarify something for you, Councilman Meyer. I don’t think that it’s the neighborhood that doesn’t want any improvements. I think that the plan was heavy-handed and superfluous to the improvements that we need. It was taking out a gentleman’s yard, a little more than one gentleman’s yard, possibly a home. And it was taking out many of our trees. When we have a very heavily traveled street, as David pointed out, with ditches on either side that we do like to walk on. And I don’t live there anymore, but I still get to see my neighbors and I still walk the neighborhood quite a bit. That particular road is dangerous. 61st Street, not dangerous. You can get off that street very easily. It’s also a pretty wide road. Melrose, not dangerous. There’s like four people that go down that a day. Also we have curbs and it’s easy to get off the road. It wasn’t that we didn’t want improvements. It was just in the wrong place and the wrong kind of improvements. There’s a big difference between, you know, drainage and erosion control and an eight-foot bike trail. It just wasn’t we needed the help.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Thank you. Anybody else? Okay. Oh, yes, Councilman Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Just a couple comments. First I’d like to thank David Morris and the folks from Trail Springs. I think we do need some public input on this. I think that kind of helped focus the input from the residents there, Dave, by taking some leads there and trying to garner those comments and come up with some sort of consensus as to what the folks that live there feel would be a workable solution. Unfortunately we run into a situation where the workable solution doesn’t qualify for grants. So, you get this Catch-22 kind of situation we’re in where, you know, it’s either a no-go or the City is going to pay for it kind of. And I don’t think the City has the funds to do it either. So, it looks to me the reality just kind of makes the project look like it can’t move forward really. And I’m not so sure there would be a lot of tears shed over that by a lot of folks in the neighborhood. There’s some other improvements they would like to see in there, some curbs and gutters and things like that. But the trail just doesn’t seem to work out here. I think it’s a -- I think some of the pictures you showed too were some -- the front yards are basically removed. There is no place to even -- for the homeowner that lives there to event be able to utilize his property in the way it was designed to be used. So, there’s a lot issues here. And I think I agree with a lot of comments that were made by fellow Councilmembers and so I would just leave it at that. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I’d echo what Eric said. Thank you for everybody, staff and the neighborhood that worked hard on this. A lot of good ideas. We have a plan and compromise here that if sometime down the road it becomes to fruition we don’t have to go through that exercise again. I hope that -- I myself am very optimistic about the Nieman project. And I would think that as we go forward and deal with the SIP money as far as it would seem a logical time to maybe revisit this when you finally get to Ballentine as far as curbs and gutters, but that’s a ways down the road. But it’s good preliminary work and it will be on the shelf when we can get to it.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. Yes. Podium.
MR. MORRIS: David Morris, (Address Omitted). I did fail to thank staff and Paul Chaffee especially for bringing this together. He worked hard to get this together and get the neighborhood together. And so it was very much appreciated. I would make one other comment sort of related to this, but not. Last year, and I’m guessing that this year that there is quite a bit of curb and gutter and sidewalk improvement areas that were bad and damaged, replaced, those kinds of things, which is good, which is wonderful. Unfortunately, the areas that do not have curb and gutter and sidewalk do not benefit from that. We don’t get anything. We don’t have any improvements. We don’t get our culverts cleaned out. We don’t get out ditches looked at and improved. I would ask the Council at some point in time to sort of reassess that, to benefit all the city with its improvements. I mean, we have issues with the ditch section roads also. So, I would ask that you look at that. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Thank you. Councilmember Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Yes. Didn’t we have an eighth cent on the sales tax that was going towards new curbs and gutters or some of the side streets and it just has to work its way that way.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Right.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You know, but we do have that in place right now for the older parts of town. We’re trying, but thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. If there is not any more discussion, we will go ahead and move forward. As stated earlier this is for informational purposes only so no action will be taken.
2. DISCUSS THE NIEMAN NOW! PROJECT
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: The final item tonight is to discuss the Nieman Now! Project. The 2017 to 2022 Capital Improvement Plan includes four drainage projects and two street projects that comprise the Nieman Now Improvements along Nieman Road. Staff is seeking direction on two trail location issues. Matthew Schmitz, Management Analyst, will provide additional information.
MR. SCHMITZ: Thanks for having me. Again, Matthew Schmitz, Management Analyst for Development Services. We have a couple items for the Committee to look at, and so we’ll get right into those.
[What is Nieman Now!? slide]
The first slide we have up is kind of just an overview of what all the Nieman Now Projects include. We wanted to make sure that anybody that was here that wasn’t familiar with it had a little bit of background on what all is in this when we talk about Nieman Now as a whole.
So, there’s four stormwater projects and then the Nieman Road between Shawnee Mission Parkway and 55th Street to address flooding issues, opportunities for the corridor, et cetera.
With that the road portion would be a reconfiguration of the corridor to reduce it from four to three lanes with the center lane being a dedicated left turn. It would also include realigning the intersection at Johnson Drive and Nieman in order to more directly align those lanes. The realignment of that at that intersection would be result in the traffic signal that’s there right now operates on a split phase where, you know, southbound goes and then northbound goes. With those lanes aligned, both of those would be able to go as far as the turning portion of it at the same time. So, it decreases a little bit of the wait time there.
So, the background on the project, Nieman Road has been focused since 2012 when we started the grant projects to outline the future of the road and also Shawnee Mission Parkway. The community has been invited throughout this project to participate with walking tours, storefront studio sessions, workshops, surveys, meetings, et cetera.
[Nieman Road Objectives slides]
The objectives that the study outlined or resulted in, which was the Community Connections Study, generated seven objectives, and they’re listed here. The main points of each of these objectives is what’s bolded on here, the safety, convenience and comfort, choices, pedestrian connectivity, the economic value, reintroduction of natural features to create a gateway to downtown and to celebrate the historical and cultural significance for the area.
[Nieman Now! Acceleration slide]
During the 2016/2017R budget process the Council accelerated the process for these projects. They did this in order to utilize outside funding from Johnson County Stormwater Advisory Council as well as Johnson County Assistance Road System (CARS). Four of these projects have already been awarded for design. Nieman South, of course, which is also under construction right now; Nieman Middle and Nieman North, which were awarded to Olsson Associates; 6200 Nieman which was awarded to George Butler Associates, and Nieman Road, which was awarded to BHC Rhodes.
[Nieman Now! Discussion Items slide]
The discussion items that we’re bringing forth here tonight, two of the three on here are for discussion. The first one is the road street improvements, the location of that trail. Staff is recommending, as the study did, that the trail location be on the east side of Nieman. And we’ll get into each of these a little more.
[Nieman Road Trail Location slide]
This is just an overall slide to outline what we’re asking or what we wanted to talk about this evening.
[Nieman Road North Trail Options slide]
The second item is the Nieman North project trail location. This is one that we wanted to bring to the Committee to ask what your input was. Staff is recommending the trail location for this one be along the streamway between Flint and Nieman and that the trail be included with the Nieman North project as long as funding allows for that.
[Nieman Road Entryway Landscaping slide]
And then the third item that we want to talk about this evening is the Nieman Road Entryway Landscaping. Staff will provide some information. I will provide some information this evening for the committee to look at to foster discussion about a potential entryway feature to be included at the Nieman Road and Shawnee Mission Parkway intersection.
[Nieman Road Trail Location slide]
So, the first item is the Nieman Road Trail location. The study recommended, as we said, that the trail be on the east side of Nieman Road. And there are several advantages to the trail being on the east side, some of which are listed here. And on the next several slides we have some concept pictures from the study to show what it could look like with a pedestrian bicycle trail constructed along the roadway. These are pictures that we’ve shown before. But before we get into that I wanted to touch on some of the things that are on the slide. Having the trail on the east side avoids the trail being in front of Donovan’s garage where there’s quite a few garage doors and significant traffic there. It keeps the trail away from the potential Kansas City Power and Light enclosures that we may have on the west side if we relocate power in that area underground. And then it avoids a high number of driveway crossings for the trail. And then we have the numbers here for what’s currently out there versus what’s proposed with the road project. There’s 27 driveways on the east side currently and there would be 19 with what’s proposed. There’s 35 on the west side currently and there will be 31 with what the design is currently showing. And then having on the east side also provides more direct access to West Flanders Park when you get to 55th Street.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. Matthew, sorry to interrupt. Councilmember Jenkins had a question.
MR. SCHMITZ: Sure.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: While you’re on the portion I wanted to ask a question for clarification. Let’s see. When we looked at this project previously, on the west side there was a lot of discussion about relocating power lines and so on underground and that kind of thing. Would this perhaps reduce the need to be doing that by moving -- by having the sidewalk installed on the east side?
MR. SCHMITZ: It doesn’t affect necessarily whether or not Kansas City Power and Light’s facilities are relocated.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, I think we’re doing some of that for looks weren’t we?
MR. SCHMITZ: Aesthetics, yes.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: If the sidewalk and all the activity is on the east side perhaps that wouldn’t be quite as much impetus to do all that expensive work as far as relocating those lines underground and so on, on the west side, because I think that was, what was it, about a million five or something like that do to that work? I think the estimates were.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: We are still waiting on a final number from Kansas City Power and Light. But it’s probably twice a million five. So, we weren’t ready to discuss that one tonight. We’ll discuss that one at another time in the future.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Right. But I’m just bringing that up now because --
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: I think with --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: -- if the trail is not, you know, if the sidewalks and all the pedestrian traffic and bicycles and all that stuff are on the other side of the street, perhaps that’s not quite as important perhaps. I don’t know. Maybe it still is --
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Well, I think Matthew is saying that it would help Kansas City Power and Light, whether it’s the wires or the enclosures --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: --
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: -- the more those are on the west side. So, that’s one reason we would recommend --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Right.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: -- are recommending the east side.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: And I’m raising that I guess as a positive.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Yeah. Yeah, it is.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: By having them on the other side it may be less expensive.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Right.
MR. SCHMITZ: Right. We’ll still have a sidewalk on the west side with this.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah.
MR. SCHMITZ: But having the trail on the east side reduces the width of right-of-way that’s needed in that area on the west side which allows for Kansas City Power and Light to have more area to work with.
[West side trail drawing slide]
So, we’ll get into a couple of the pictures. This picture is looking north with the trail on the west side. It was from the original study. It was one of the ones that was included in the study to how what it could potentially look like. You can, of course, see the powerlines there above the trail if it was located on the west side.
[East side trail drawing (south of Johnson Drive) slide]
And this is a picture roughly at Old Shawnee Pizza where the trail -- if the trail was on the east side rather than the west. It gives you an idea of what it could potentially look like there as well.
[East side trail drawing (north of Johnson Drive) slide]
And then this picture is farther to the north, approximately in front of Peppermint Patty’s Day Care. That’s north of Johnson Drive to show the three lanes and what the trail could look like if it was on the east side in that area.
So, with that, this item, I’d open up for discussion.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. Any Council discussion on this item? And we will do this after each item as well. Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I like the idea of having it on the east side I think for everything you’ve delineated. And I just think it works better, particularly with all the driveway cuts and particularly with all the houses on north between 55th and whatever the next street is, somewhere down in there, so.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. Yes, Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I’d also be in favor of putting the sidewalk on the east side myself. I think it would be much more constructive for the businesses and save some money on the entrances.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes, Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes. I tend to favor the east side. Dan is not here to defend his west side tonight. But, you know, the preponderance of everything seems to lean toward the east side really if you look at it in total of the total project. And they just seem to make more and more sense to look at the east side.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. It appears there’s a consensus on that. So, I think we can go ahead and move forward. Okay. Matthew.
MR. SCHMITZ: Thank you.
[Nieman Road North Trail Options slide]
So, the next item that we wanted to bring to the Committee this evening was the Nieman Road North Trail Options. There is four options shown on this map. The connection of the trail between Nieman Road and Flint came -- was another thing that came out of the connectivity study that was done. Staff has looked at these options even though they weren’t part of the original Nieman Road plan. We’re still looking at including one of these if budget allows to do that. Three different options are along the 60th Street on the south side here. That would be the red line. Along the streamway itself, which is what staff is recommending, the green line. And then either the north or south side of 61st Street, which would be the blue and purple lines down here along 61st.
[Nieman North Trail Location slide]
So, for the Nieman North Project Trail Location, like I said we’ve been -- we’re recommending that it be along the streamway. There are several advantages to the trail being along the south side of the streamway, several of which are listed here. As we looked at the four options these are some of the pros and cons for each of the options.
Of course, the south side of the streamway there is no funding identified, but we would gain some economies of scale since we’ll be in there working to construct the streamway anyway with the project. Adding the trail would just be a smaller cost than it would be to construct it on its own. There is no vehicular conflicts having the trail along the streamway. There’s no driveways to cross, nothing of that nature. It’s a more natural setting.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: What’s the last bullet? [Inaudible; talking off mic.]
MR. SCHMITZ: I think it’s both to be perfectly honest. I mean there is --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible; talking off mic.]
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: We haven’t really contacted the property owners because we didn’t know --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible; talking off mic.]
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: So, we don’t know if there would be some against or in favor of. But before getting your all’s direction we just know they will --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I was just wondering if it is quite a bit of encroachment on people’s yards in order to --
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Not a lot.
MR. SCHMITZ: No.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible; talking off mic.] Because any way you can do it’s going to be some of that [Inaudible; talking off mic.] One would think that following the streamline in a natural setting can be really [Inaudible; talking off mic.]
MR. SCHMITZ: If it is constructed along the streamway there would be a fence. We’re required -- we need to put a fence up to separate the trail from the streamway itself. But we would also have a fence on the other side to separate people’s private property from the trail to create that delineation between where private property starts and where the trail is located. So, hopefully that somewhat answers your question.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. There’s another question I have [inaudible; talking off mic] where this -- you do the streamway concept where it turns into [inaudible] Nieman road. Is there going to be a way to get -- a good way to get across to Nieman at that point to the east side where all the [inaudible].
MR. SCHMITZ: I can speak to that. With the Nieman Road project there would be as part of that project the concept shows installing a median basically for a small section of Nieman Road. What would be a left-turn lane would be converted to a median. And that provides a refuge area in the middle of the road.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible; talking off mic.]
MR. SCHMITZ: Correct.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [inaudible]
MR. SCHMITZ: Correct.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Councilmember Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: How far down does the improvements with the Nieman North project with the road there, how far south do the improvements of the roads go as far as sidewalk and --
MR. SCHMITZ: On Nieman Road or --
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: On Goddard. No, on Flint.
MR. SCHMITZ: On Flint, didn’t we use 62nd? Yeah. We’re running all the way to 62nd.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Okay. So, it’s going -- I just think that this -- it seems like to me by doing it along there I would think that area this would be very, very popular. Plus, it gives an excellent way for people from downtown to go to school, swimming pool, all of that.
MR. SCHMITZ: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: It seems like a win-win to me.
MR. SCHMITZ: It provides a lot of connectivity there to get from the Nieman corridor where the commercial businesses are at all the way up to the pool, Wonderscope, et cetera, yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Councilmember Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I think it would be ideal to have it along the streamway. It just -- it would look good, the aesthetics, and it would be a beautiful bike ride right through there. You can just already picture it, you know. And it doesn’t take away from anybody. And it would be cost effective, save money, and that’s what we’re looking for all the way down the line.
MR. SCHMITZ: I’m not going to show the cost slide. We’ll just go on.
So, the next slide is the cost slide. Because the trail is not SMAC eligible, we would have to include it -- we would include it as part of that project. But because it’s not SMAC eligible we would have to fund it ourselves. The current estimate is $69,500. That’s for along the trail or along the streamway itself. If bids for the project exceed our current estimates, then we would have to reconsider whether or not we would add the trail in this area. But these are the costs that would be for the four different options. And the 60th Street option there that’s a little bit less, part of the reason that is less is because that would be constructed with the CDBG project that we were planning to do in 2020, the reconstruction of 60th Street. The thing you have to remember about that is that then pushes this trail connection that we could achieve in basically late ‘17, ‘18 out to 2020. So, it backs it up a couple years.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: [Inaudible; talking off mic.]
MR. SCHMITZ: Right. So, with that, we would ask for -- it sounds like we already have consensus, but the next one would be discussion if there’s any others.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yeah. Any final thoughts from the Council on this item? Okay. I guess I’ll just add that I agree with what’s been said by my fellow Councilmembers on the south side streamway having that set off away from the traffic and congestion. I think that was very well thought out.
[Nieman Road Entryway Landscaping slide]
MR. SCHMITZ: Okay. I’ll move on to the third item, the Nieman Road Entryway Landscaping. The entryway as well wasn’t part of the original project budget for Nieman Road. But as staff has looked at the overall projects in this area as well as the maintenance costs that we’re paying today for the fountain that’s there at Nieman and Shawnee Mission Parkway, we thought this was a good time to examine a potential entryway feature there to delineate the entry or the downtown area long Shawnee Mission Parkway. The potential reconfiguration of the fountain and landscaping features at the intersection was not, as I said, was not originally in the Nieman Road project. I don’t know why I have that on there twice. I’ll have to read this more.
Potential replacement feature could include monument and landscaping on both the east and west side of Nieman Road. And this would serve to truly create an entry to Downtown Shawnee at this intersection. Then on the next slide we’ve got an example of what we could do at this intersection to create an entry feature for the downtown area. But I want to strongly stress that it’s a very early concept and this is just a concept. It’s not by any means what we intend to build. It’s just to show what that intersection could look like.
So, with that, staff is still working with the designer to come up with a plan that really fits the area. But like I said it shows an idea of what could be. And the idea of having some sort of entry feature on both the east and west side of that intersection to truly delineate that that is the entry to Downtown Shawnee on Nieman Road. And as we’ve moved forward with that progress we will bring additional information including financial information for this back to the committee as well as the Governing Body as part of the preliminary plan approval process when we get ready to bring the plan, the preliminary plans for Nieman Road to the Committee and to the Council.
MR. SCHMITZ: I’ve got one more.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay.
MR. SCHMITZ: One more, but I kind of paused here for a second because I just wanted to see if anybody did have any questions about this.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. Jim and then Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I’d like the idea. As much as we have other places where the monument says Welcome to Shawnee and the Downtown Shawnee thing. But in looking at this, and I understand it’s a preliminary drawing, as one who uses that intersection very, very often I see where the wall is on the northeast corner. There’s a berm there that’s -- where the frontage road comes around there’s a berm. And you -- when you’re making a right turn on red there you’ve got to creep up almost through the pedestrian lanes. So, my suggestion when you go and design it make sure you’ve got visibility. Because oftentimes people are coming down there at speed limit, which is 45, trying to beat the light and you can get surprised.
MR. SCHMITZ: Absolutely. Yeah. Looking at sight distance triangles and traffic design would certainly be part of that when we look at how we’re going to design it.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes. In looking at these it kind of reminds me of something I talked about earlier on in this project. We were talking about putting a crossing over Nieman Road. And I was thinking it would be really neat if we had a bridge and on that bridge there was a way to stream electronically information. Old Shawnee -- remember Old Shawnee Days, you know, duh, duh, duh, dates. And I could see the options of doing that here on one of these, hopefully inexpensively, so you’d make it more a -- rather than just a single purpose of being a monument, Welcome to Shawnee. Say Downtown Shawnee, Old Shawnee Days or whatever the latest thing we got going on, you know, the old autos or whether it’s downtown business day or whatever we’re recognizing. That would be a good way to get some advertising out for it while you’re at it. It would kind of, I don’t know, just plus up the reason for doing it it seems like.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Any other discussion? Okay.
[Project Schedules slide]
MR. SCHMITZ: So, the last slide that I’ve got just shows the overall project schedule for all of the projects that we have going on that are part of the Nieman Now! Corridor. You have design shown in blue on here and green shown in -- or the construction shown in green. We wanted to show you the schedule, the overall schedule for this to show how much coordination and work is going into this corridor. Having these projects run at the same time is -- it’s a lot of work. And we just wanted to point out to you that we have the schedule laid out and we’re working very hard and very diligently to meet that schedule.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: One other question.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes, Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Just one other question. I mean to ask it earlier, but you mentioned there was going to be a savings by removing the fountain. I was just wondering what is the annual operating cost and maintenance projections for that, keeping that thing going.
MR. SCHMITZ: I don’t know if we have savings, you know, an annual maintenance cost for it right now. I don’t necessarily want to Neil on the spot, but he would have that.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: You said we’re saving money, I just, okay, what are we saving?
MR. SCHMITZ: Understood.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Oh, we got Neil.
MR. HOLMAN: Neil Holman, Parks and Recreation Director. Yeah. I don’t have a cost on that right yet. I know the -- it did get hit by a car and so the bowl leaks really bad. The bottom bowl. We’ve repaired the top bowl. And it happened a couple years ago when a car went through the intersection. But it -- oh, I hate to give you a cost on it. I mean I can look it up.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, I was just curious because you put that out there as a benefit. You weren’t going to save the cost of upkeep on that fountain. So, okay, that’s great, what are we saving.
MR. SCHMITZ: When we bring --
MR. HOLMAN: Yeah. Time. People. Staff time going up there, fungicide, cleaning it, flushing it. I mean it’s every other week. So, it’s a good -- it mounts up on that, so. But we can get you cost.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Sure. Thanks, Neil.
MR. SCHMITZ: I would say too when we bring the -- whatever concept we continue to work with on, and when we bring that back as part of the preliminary plans for Nieman Road we can bring those costs at that time, too.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. It’s not critical information at this point. I was just, you know, it just got stuck in my head, I just got curious, you know.
MR. SCHMITZ: Absolutely.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: What’s it cost to keep one of those fountains going.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. Well, if there’s no further discussion, thank you, Matthew. I appreciate you and staff taking the time to compile this and put it together. Do we have any members of the public that wish to offer input on this item? Okay. Seeing none, I believe we have two items we have to take action on with this, or --
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: We just really were looking for consensus.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. And we have that.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: So, I don’t think we need to vote.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Yeah. It seemed like everybody was on the same page, so.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. Well, that concludes our agenda.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Move to adjourn.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Second.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Okay. A motion has been made and seconded on this item. All those in favor say aye.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: All those opposed nay. Motion passes. We are adjourned.
[Therefore, the motion was made by Councilmember Sandifer and seconded by Councilmember Meyer to adjourn. The motion passed 6-0.]
(Shawnee Council Committee Meeting Adjourned at 7:58 p.m.)
I certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from the electronic sound recording of the proceedings in the above-entitled matter.
/das February 18, 2017
Deborah A. Sweeney, Recording Secretary
Stephen Powell, City Clerk