Sunday, January 17, 2010

WAMPO meetings and WDDC doings

First, the WAMPO meetings: The next two will be on Tuesday, January 19th, at 1:00 pm., and Monday, January 25, at 1:30 p.m. Both will be held in the Large Conference Room on the 10th floor of City Hall. The initial list of projects to be discussed at these meetings is here (.pdf file). (Bike and pedestrian projects are on the first two pages; some of the bridge and road projects include bike and pedestrian accommodations as well, so be sure to look through the whole document.) I cannot say with certainty that all these are still being considered, but some of them are.

I will make the meeting on the 19th, but duties call on the 25th; I hope those of you with work schedules that permit such things will be able to attend. It's my understanding that warm bodies, there, being warm on behalf of these projects, count for a great deal. I would just make the quick observation that, yes, many of the road projects designed to expand capacity for cars will include 10-foot-wide multi-use paths, but it seems that the Powers That Be would save a great deal of money by building narrower sidewalks and making narrower lanes for cars that would then permit the addition of bike lanes on these streets. Assuming the same number of lanes for motorists and a modest amount of bike traffic, you'd actually increase the roads' capacity and save on construction costs as well. But maybe in these days of budget shortfalls, I'm deluded into thinking that more efficient use of transportation monies is a better idea than it in fact is. In any case, I plan to speak up on behalf of some bike lanes on the 19th, and I hope those of you in attendance will as well.

Now on to Wichita's downtown development. The overview for the downtown master plan--really more like a statement of principles and the justification for them--is here: as you can see in the presentation, the consultants the city has hired value walkability, which is, in the abstract, good news for us livable-city types. The next big public events will be on Thursday, February 25th from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Temple, at which Jim Cloar will talk about the movement from planning to reality; and a charrette all day on Saturday, February 27th at the Wichita Art Museum. The gathering on the 27th sounds like it could be really fun. Thursday's, not so much, admittedly, but it's the people planting themselves in hard plastic chairs that get heard at these things. I'll actually be able to attend both of these, so I hope some of you will be there, too.

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