12th Street Reconstruction – Gage Blvd. to Kansas Ave.

A map of the roadway to be repaired.
 

See an animated fly thru of the SW 12th – Gage Blvd. to Kansas Ave.

 

If you have any questions, please email David Bevens.

Project Background

The SW 12th – SW Gage to S Kansas Ave. Project is a countywide sales tax project approved by voters with the expectation that the street be reconstructed. Because this is an important roadway for public transit, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike, pedestrian and bicycle facilities – currently non-existent for bicycles and half without sidewalks – will be constructed per policies and designs identified in City master plans approved by Council. The project also reflects the Governing Body’s budget priorities of investing in infrastructure and quality of life, and the Momentum 2022 strategy of creating attractive and vibrant places.
The project will:

  • Fully reconstruct and “right-size” the roadway to fit the neighborhood.
  • Create a designated through lane for vehicles and an auxiliary lane for parking, bus pullouts, deliveries, and a bike lane in some locations
  • Upgrade curb and gutter
  • Relocate utilities as needed
  • Improve transit and pedestrian accessibility and safety
  • Improve intersections where possible
  • Provide a bike facility along the corridor

Public Outreach

The project concept was introduced to the public on May 6 at the first of two large public meetings sponsored by the City of Topeka. From then until the last large public open house in November, design staff have held 20 additional group or individual meetings with more than 450 people.

They attended several Neighborhood Improvement Association meetings and discussed the project one on one with several individuals, businesses and organizations located both on and near the 12th Street corridor. The city also conducted a survey and received a lot of valuable input that has been incorporated into the 12th Street project.

Public Participation Outcomes

During the robust public engagement process, several changes were made to the project including:

  • Constructing 6-foot wide sidewalks on both sides of the road between MacVicar and Gage instead of a 10-foot wide shared use path on one side, reducing the concern that the wider sidewalk would encroach on their homes.
  • Adding a slightly raised and wider crossing zone on 12th at Blue Cross and Blue Shield between their campus and the parking lots on the other side of 12th for added safety through a clearer delineation of the crossing zone.
  • Created a combination of shared use paths and on street bike lanes for cyclists rather than one or the other
  • Adding turning lanes at Gage, MacVicar, Lane, Washburn and Topeka, which provides two travel lanes on 20 percent of the corridor thus improving traffic flow, especially during rush hour.
  • Removing stop signs on 12th St. at both the MacVicar and Oakley intersections. Staff considered the suggestion to remove them to improve traffic flow. The signs are no longer warranted per national traffic standards and the suggestion adopted into the plan.

Facts About Traffic Counts On 12th Street

With regards to concerns about a one-through lane design, the 12th St. plan takes into consideration current and future traffic capacities. Many of the intersections include the current two vehicle lanes for through traffic and turning movements. The segments between these intersections reflect one through lane and an auxiliary lane for other uses such as parking, bus stops, and delivery vehicles.

The maximum capacity of one travel lane is conservatively 900 vehicles per hour. Currently, the highest traffic volume on 12th Street is just over 500 cars per hour during the 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. hour. One lane can easily accommodate this volume and allow for future growth. The current volume and the 2040 traffic capacity model support the proposed one through-lane street.

SW 12Th St. and Huntoon St. – S. Kansas to SW Gage – 1 lane scenario
SW 12Th Street and Huntoon St. – S. Kansas to SW Gage – 2 lane scenario

With current and future traffic volumes that only require one travel lane affords the project the ability to improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities without acquiring additional right-of-way throughout the corridor.

Safety is a driving design principle in the SW 12th Street design. The recently completed Traffic Safety Plan for Topeka documented that between 2010 and 2016 (seven years), there were a total of 23,591 crashes in the Topeka / Shawnee County region including 5,545 injury crashes and 68 crashes that resulted in fatalities.

Complete Streets is a guideline the city uses to make sure streets are safer and easily accessible for all of our citizens including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. The 12th street project will make the street safer for everyone that uses the corridor.

The City of Topeka values and encourages everyone to know the facts about this project. Additional and more in-depth information can be found on the 12th Street Project FAQ page. Also, read the Center for Disease Control analysis regarding Topeka’s adoption of Complete Streets principles.

Next Steps

The design layout is complete. Staff has shared the City’s roadway and utility plans with private utility companies (gas, electric and communications) to coordinate relocation of their infrastructure in advance of the project. Private utility relocations for Phase I (S. Kansas Ave. to SW Washburn Ave.) will begin shortly after March 1, 2020. These utilities need to relocate in advance of City utility and street work.

City utilities will advertise for construction by November 30, 2020. Construction will begin in early 2021 immediately before roadway reconstruction begins from S. Kansas to SW Washburn. This cycle will repeat for the remaining two phases along the corridor. Phase II (Washburn through SW Oakley) construction will take place in 2022 and Phase III (Oakley to SW Gage) construction will occur in 2023.

Additional localized public meetings will occur as we near the start of each road reconstruction phase. These meetings will be to discuss the anticipated construction schedule and access during construction.