Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Ordinance

Effective today, pedestrian activity at certain intersections will be limited to simply crossing the street. The goal of the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety ordinance is to improve public safety by reducing crashes related to distracted driving caused by pedestrians.
This ordinance applies to all pedestrians within the Topeka city limits at only those intersections identified in the ordinance.
Pedestrians are increasingly using highways and roadways in a manner for which the roads were not designed or intended. These uses include approaching vehicles when stopped or in use, or staying upon medians and in the public right-of-way for purposes other than crossing the highway or roadway. This type of activity distracts drivers, which makes automobile accidents more likely and creates safety hazards for pedestrians.
The following intersections were identified in the MTPO Metropolitan Transportation Safety Plan as ranking high across all emphasis areas (intersections; speed; distracted driving; pedestrian & bicyclist):
 SE 15th Street and SE Adams
 SE 21st Street and SE Adams Street
 SW 6th Avenue and SW Gage Boulevard
 SW 21st Street and SW Gage Boulevard
 SW 29th Street and SW Gage Boulevard
 SW Huntoon Street and SW Gage Boulevard
 SW Huntoon Street and SW Fairlawn Road
 SW 21st Street and SW Fairlawn Road
 SW 29th Street and SW Fairlawn Road
 SW 12th Street and SW Jackson Street

 SW 10th Avenue and SW Lane Street
 SW 6th Avenue and SW Orchard Street
 SW 5th Street and SW Topeka Boulevard
 SW 6th Avenue and SW Topeka Boulevard
 SW 8th Avenue and SW Topeka Boulevard
 SW 10thAvenue and SW Topeka Boulevard
 SW 21st Street and SW Topeka Boulevard
 SW 29th Street and SW Topeka Boulevard
 SW 21st Street and SW Wanamaker Road
 SW 17th Street and SW Wanamaker Road
 SW 21st Street and SW Washburn Avenue
 SW 29th Street and SW Wanamaker Road
 SW 17th Street and SW Westover Road and SW Oakley Street
Due to the high number of reported crashes involving pedestrians at these intersections, and the prevalence of distracted driving as a contributing factor in these crashes, certain activities will be restricted, as specified in section 10.80.030 of the ordinance.

Stream Advisory 1/10/2020

The City of Topeka Utility Department is advising Topeka area residents to avoid contact with Butcher Creek from SE 29th St to SE 21st & Lakewood and Shunganunga Creek from 21st & Lakewood to the point of confluence with the Kansas River, as well as a tributary flowing west from 29th & Freemont to Butcher Creek.

Field crews discovered a sanitary sewer overflow in a heavily wooded area stemming from a blocked sewer main.  The overflow discharged to a local tributary and eventually into Butcher Creek. The blockage has been removed to stop the overflow, but bacteria levels in the water bodies could remain high.

As a precaution residents are advised to avoid contact with the impacted waterways and to keep pets out of the streams.

Topeka staff will continue to monitor the impacted water bodies and provide notification when the advisory can be lifted.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been notified.

Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center Post-Holiday Tree Recycling Program

Contact for further information: Molly Hadfield, Director of Media Relations 785-368-0991, mhadfield@topeka.org
Thursday, December 26, 2019

TOPEKA, KS – The Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center will be accepting used live Christmas trees this year beginning as early as December 26. It is as easy as dropping the tree off at the same location as last year, on the south east side of Gage Park, just east of the horseshoe court parking lot inside Gage Park.
 
When entering Gage Park from the 10th St. entrance, take your first right on Munn Memorial Drive heading north west. Look for the orange snow fence and place your tree in the grass, behind the
“trees here sign”. “There is no need to make an appointment,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “We’ll find them and get them to the animals that can use them.”
 
For the safety of the animals, in order for the trees to be able to be used by the zoo animals, the trees need to be free of ornaments, hooks, tinsel, tree stands and not in plastic bags.
“This allows the trees to be used beyond the holiday season,” said Wiley. “Animals that benefit from them include lions, tigers, owls, mountain lions, giraffes, black bears, painted dogs and many others.”
 
Once the animals have had plenty of fun with the varieties of conifers donated, they will be ground up through a chipper and made into mulch for continued reuse. The zoo will accept the trees through Jan. 8th 2020.
 
Have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year from the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center.

Topeka Zoo Mourns the Loss of Cup Cake the Sun Bear

Cupcake the sun bearVeterinary staff at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center made the difficult decision to euthanize a thirty year old Malayan Sun Bear named Cup Cake Monday morning. “We knew this day would come,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “She was already beyond her normal life span when she arrived here two years ago but that doesn’t make it emotionally easier.”
Cup Cake and Ho Ho came to the Topeka Zoo in November of 2017 when their former zoo had to close their previous exhibit for construction reasons. “We talked about it for a long time,” said Wiley. “They were really old but it seemed like the right and fitting thing to do.”
Cup Cake and Ho Ho moved into the exhibit formerly occupied by Tiffany the gorilla. “The keepers in the area had become specialized in working with geriatric animals. We simply thought that if the two bears needed our home and our care to live out their remaining years, we were well equipped to care for them,” said Wiley.
Caring for geriatric animals isn’t unlike caring for geriatric people. “You need a comprehensive view of the animal’s health status,” said staff veterinarian Dr. Shirley Llizo. “In Cup Cake’s case, we dealt with advanced arthritis, severe dental issues and anemia.”
With an established medication regimen paired with a training program, Cup Cake thrived. “One of her favorite things to do was to watch her keepers and train with them,” said Animal Care Supervisor Shanna Simpson.
This past Saturday, Cup Cake was noticed to be limping. By Sunday, a neurological condition had rendered her hind legs useless. Throughout the weekend, additional medications were tried but did not produce noticeable results. Because of the positive relationship between the bear and her keepers, medications were able to be administered by injection and in Strawberry Newtons. Early Monday mornings as the condition progressed with head tremors, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her.

Ho Ho, Cup Cake’s mate (although the two never produced offspring), was allowed to be with her just
before she passed. The two bears were very tightly bonded. Ho Ho’s keepers will be keeping a close eye
on him and giving him a lot of extra love and attention.

Blaisdell Pool to offer Overflow Parking for Boo at the Zoo

If you haven’t been by the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center in a while, you may not realize that there is significant construction occurring near the entrance to the zoo. “Tomorrow is typically the busiest day of the year for the zoo,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley, “the weather forecast looks ideal for the event.”
Boo at the Zoo is the community’s longest running Halloween tradition. When the weather is right, the event can see over 7,000 participants in a single day. This year’s event will feature more than 32 outside vendors participating to make the event successful for the thousands of children that attend.
New this year include participants like Papa Johns Pizza and a “Fun House.” (There is an additional fee of $2.00 per person for entry into the Fun House.)
With the nice weather, zoo officials are expecting a large crowd and want to offer parking advice for those planning to attend. “A new parking lot has been installed just South of the Helen Hocker Theatre,” said Wiley. “Also, the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Department has been very supportive during our construction work. Boo at the Zoo attendees can park at the Blaisdell Pool Parking Lot and walk through Animal Land to gain access to the Zoo.”

Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant Teams with Topeka Zoo for Special Birthday

Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species. It’s estimated that there are only as many as 750 Sumatran tigers left in the world, with somewhere between 400 to 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. 242 Sumatran tigers are being managed in zoo conservation programs across the world. Of the 74 in North American Zoos, the Topeka Zoo’s Jingga, has given birth to seven of them. “It’s a little bizarre to realize that for this critically endangered species, over 10% of the North American population has been born or lived at our zoo,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley.

The Sumatran Tiger program at the Topeka Zoo is the Zoo’s most successful conservation program. It has a strong on-site education program, an active reproductive program contributing to managed healthy genetic diversity and an in-situ component. “It’s our in-situ component, the armed ranger that our community funds, that is on the ground in Sumatra protecting and saving tigers that we are most proud of,” said Wiley. “That is what makes this so real.”

The Sumatran tiger conservation program from the Topeka Zoo help the Wildlife Conservation Society to employ a ranger named Bajar Johan in Sumatra for a boots on the ground effort to protect Sumatran tigers. Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant is essential to helping provide funds to the Sumatran tiger conservation program by brewing a beer called Tiger Bite IPA. For every draw they sell, they donate a quarter to the Topeka Zoo’s Conservation Fund. That Fund transfers those proceeds to the Tiger Species Survival Plan operated through the Minnesota Zoo. The Tiger SSP transfers the funding to the New York based Wildlife Conservation Society who has a field office on the island of Sumatra. WCS uses the funds generated by beer drinkers in Topeka to employ Badar, which leads to Topekan beer drinkers supporting and funding the active ground conservation efforts for an endangered species half a world away. “Who knew conservation work could be as satisfying as simply ordering the right beer at a local Topeka establishment,” said Wiley.

Since the inception of this unique partnership, Blind Tiger Brewery has been much more
involved than just a quarter a draw. In the bar area of the local brewery you can find a live
video feed from the tiger habitat at the Topeka Zoo. Coasters at the restaurant speak to the
conservation initiative. Even the bones from the bison that are harvested to make bison burgers
find their way to the Topeka Zoo as enrichment for the Zoo’s tigers.

A year ago, four extremely rare Sumatran tiger cubs were born at the Topeka Zoo. It was fitting
that one of those cubs be named by a Blind Tiger patron. The name that was chosen was Kansa
Raja, loosely translated to be Kansas King. Beginning this Friday, October 11, Blind Tiger
Brewery joins the Zoo in celebrating the four cubs first birthday. Starting Friday October 11th
through October 15 (the true birthday for the cubs) Blind Tiger Brewery will donate to the Zoo’s
Conservation Fund $1 for each of the following items that is ordered:

 Tiger Bite IPA
 Tiger Paws Appetizer
 Tiger Wings Appetizer
 Tiger-Que Combo Platter

“When else do you get the chance to eat, drink and enjoy for such a great cause? Drink a beer
and save a tiger,” said Wiley.

The Zoo’s celebration of the cub’s birthday will be this Saturday, October 12 and will run from
10:00 to 2:30 with the following activities:

 10:00 Special tiger cub enrichment
 10:00 – 12:00 – Tiger Keeper available to talk with guests and Docent Education Station
 2:00 – 2:30 – Tiger Building Behind the Scenes Tours

All zoo activities are included with zoo admission.

Topeka Fire Station #4 Placed On National Register of Historic Places

The City of Topeka was notified by the US National Parks Service on Friday, October 4, 2019, that the City’s nomination of Fire Station No. 4, located at 813 SW Clay St. in the City’s Old Town Neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places had been officially approved. Fire Station No. 4 was constructed in 1927, and was formally opened on Monday, November 12th of that year.

This building replaced an earlier fire station located on the same property that dated to 1892. This new fire station was the product of a public bond, authorized by Topeka’s voters in 1926, specifically for the improvement of the City’s firefighting capabilities, and the construction of new fire stations to accommodate the expansion and development of Topeka’s western suburbs.

Fire Station #4 – 2019

Fire Station #4 – circa 1930

Fire Station No. 4 was designed as a municipal building to stand out from the surrounding mix of residential and commercial uses. Located only one block to the west was the former location of the Governor’s mansion and residence.

It was constructed during a national period of transition in the design and construction of fire houses, a transition both in terms of building materials, and also in the types and technologies of equipment and personnel they were intended to house. The 1st quarter of the 20th Century saw the transition away from the horse and pump-wagon toward the adoption of the newer technology of the internal combustion engine fire truck.

This development meant that the inclusion of a stable to house a team of horses was no longer necessary. The transition away from the horse and wagon furthermore meant that architects could use a much more reliable array of building materials for fire house construction, such as concrete, tile, and brick. These new building materials then lead to significantly cleaner fire stations, especially within the living quarters of full-time fire fighters.

Also coincident with this period was the elevation of the public’s perception of the fire fighter from a neighborhood volunteer to a full-time public hero. This rise in public status meant that additional resources were afforded to the design and construction of new fire houses, resulting in significantly cleaner and more comfortable accommodations for the fire fighters.

Frank C. Squires, the architect for Fire Station No. 4, designed the station with a blend of the architectural styles of Collegiate Gothic, and remains largely intact, retaining all of its architectural features dating to its original construction.

The City of Topeka is also submitting National Register Nominations for 3 additional early 20th Century fire stations, those being Fire Station No. 6 in the Oakland Neighborhood, Fire Station No. 7 near the City’s Westboro Neighborhood, and Fire Station No. 1 in the City’s Historic North Topeka East Neighborhood.

Topeka Zoo to Provide Educational Activities at Topeka Pilots Kids Day Game

Over 3,400 elementary and middle school students will be on hand for the inaugural Topeka Pilots Kids Day Game on Thursday, October 3rd at 10:30 am in Landon Arena. Prior to the game, all attendees will be greeted by Topeka Zoo Docents and Educators who will be on the main concourse featuring four different educational displays. “There will be nineteen schools from nine districts in the greater Topeka area that will be represented at the game,” Said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “This is a great opportunity for us to get our message out in a fun environment filled with kids.” The Pilots Kids Day Game is dedicated to children experiencing hockey in an educational atmosphere.
The education displays is just the first part of the Zoo’s involvement in the event. During the first intermission, the Zoo’s education department will take the ice. The intermission program will focus on animal adaptations including the need for some animals to migrate away from cold environments. “The star of the intermission program will be Lilly a rehabilitated but non-releasable Turkey Vulture,” said Wiley. “Vultures feature a lot of special adaptations. Landon Arena will be the largest indoor space she has ever flown in.”
The Topeka Zoo is one of six outside organizations coming together to partner with the Topeka Pilots to engage youth in a fun and educational environment. Other organizations involved include the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E), and the Topeka Police and Fire departments and Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office.
“The Topeka Pilots have really become engaged in family and youth related community activities,” said Wiley. “We’re thrilled to be part of the Pilots Kids Game Day.”
For additional information, contact Brendan Wiley at 785-506-3797 or bwiley@topeka.org.

Food for Fines

The City of Topeka Municipal Court will start a Food for Fines program during the month of October. Any person with a payment due to the Municipal Court between October 1st and October 31st will receive a $25 credit towards their fine with a donation of ten cans of non-perishable canned goods.
All the non-perishable food items that are collected will be donated to Project Topeka.
“I’m pleased that the Topeka Municipal Court is able to help people pay off their fines and help those in need at the same time. The Topeka Community donated over 2,000 pounds of food to Project Topeka last year,” said Municipal Court Judge Lori Dougherty-Bichsel. “We are excited to partner again with Project Topeka, who will distribute the food drive items to food pantries all over our community.”
The food donations allow for a one-time max credit of $25 for each case. The Food for Fines program only allows for credit in cases with payments being made with the court and not in collections. The program cannot be used for court costs, diversion fees, reinstatement fees, restitution or seatbelt tickets.
“Project Topeka is glad that the City of Topeka Municipal Court is working with us to help give back and help the members of our community who need it the most,” said Dan Woodard, President of Project Topeka. “Thirteen percent of people in Shawnee County struggle with food insecurity. Food drives go a long way to help out the 1 in 8 people struggling with hunger in our community.”
Project Topeka is a volunteer organization that distributes non-perishable food items to seven food banks in Topeka and Shawnee County. Since 1986, Project Topeka has collected over 58,000 food items and distributes nearly 200 tons of food annually.
Cans must be taken to the Municipal Court Clerk’s office to receive credit. Dented, rusted, non-labeled, or expired food items will not be accepted. Food must be sealed in its original packaging.
For more information, please call the Municipal Court at (785) 368-3776.

KBS and CAC Free Day at the Topeka Zoo

Topeka, KS- KBS Constructors, Inc. and the Citizen’s Advisory Council will be hosting a free community appreciation day at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center on September 28th from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. There will be free zoo admission, music and family fun to celebrate KBS’s 30th anniversary.

“KBS is excited to celebrate our 30th anniversary with all of Topeka with a free day at the Topeka Zoo,” said KBS President Dan Foltz. “The free day at the zoo is a great opportunity for KBS to give back to the people of Topeka and celebrate the success of our community.”

The Citizen’s Advisory Council has partnered with KBS this year to provide music and games during the day. There will be raffle prizes and other activities for all Topekan’s to participate in.

“The Citizen’s Advisory Council is overjoyed to be able to celebrate our community at the zoo and to get to know its members better, while celebrating all the wonderful things that Topeka has to offer at the  world famous Topeka Zoo,” said Quinton Heights NIA President James Prout.

Admission is free during zoo hours on September 28th. To find out more information on KBS visit www.kbsci.com. For more information on the CAC, visit https://www.topeka.org/government/boards-commissions/citizens-advisory-council/