People First Neighborhood Pilot Project
This project is an opportunity for community stakeholders to work with the City to create places that are designed for people first, with:
- Greater quality of life
- Improved safety
- More opportunities for people to interact
Process & Background
On February 5, 2013, the Wichita City Council approved the Wichita Bicycle Master Plan. The Plan is a guide for how the City can make it easier, safer, and more convenient to get around the City on a bicycle through the provision of bicycle-related infrastructure, policies, and programs. Plan Strategy 1 recommends that the City provide on-street and off-street bicycle facilities where recommended.
On November 4, 2014, the Wichita City Council endorsed the Wichita Pedestrian Master Plan as the guide for how the City can improve conditions for walking - with recommendations for City infrastructure, policies, and programs. The Plan Strategy 3 recommends that the City improve safety at intersections.
On October 4, 2016, the Wichita City Council approved a grant application to the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation for funding to undertake the People First Neighborhoods Project. The purpose of the project was to address issues of speeding in and around neighborhoods, while also creating more vibrant spaces for people and communities. The City of Wichita was notified in December of 2016 that the City's application was successful and that $20,000 was being awarded for the project.
In the spring of 2017, the City of Wichita announced that it was accepting applications for the People First Neighborhoods Project. The applications were required to be contained within the following boundaries, due to funding constraints.
- North:21st Street
- East: Hillside Avenue
- South: Mt. Vernon Road
- West: St. Paul Avenue
The instructions for the application indicated that a successful project would likely be targeted at a single intersection or block, and would result in the following activities at that location:
- Community stakeholders working with a consultant (hired by the City using grant funds) and the City of Wichita to design physical improvements to the space
- Installation of low-cost temporary improvements (labor supplied by the community stakeholders with supplies purchased using grant funds)
- Evaluation of the temporary improvements and modifications made as needed over an approximately 3 month long process
- If the temporary improvements are successful, then production of final construction designs by the consultants for permanent improvements
In addition, the City shared information about possible example improvements that might occur from the project (listed below). You can find more information about these examples and other options by visiting the list of countermeasures at Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System and by reviewing the Wichita Pedestrian Master Plan.
- High Visibility Crosswalks
- Protected Bike Lanes/Cycle Tracks
- Public Plazas
- Outdoor Public Seating/Parklets
- On-Street Parking
- Speed Tables
- Improved Bus Stop(s)
- Sidewalk Improvements
The City received two applications - one at the 1600 block of North Park Place and the other at 13th Street and Erie Avenue. The applications were reviewed by a staff committee and a citizen volunteer committee. Both committees recommended that given the amount of funding and the scope of work, the project at 1600 N Park Place should be awarded the funding. The citizen volunteer committee was impressed by the proposed scope of work for the 13th Street and Erie Avenue project, and recommended that the City also award a limited amount of funding to assist with an art initiative in the area. The City Council approved the awards on August 1, 2017.
During the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018, the City worked with community stakeholders for the 1600 North Park Place project to identify concerns with the current design and desired improvements. Stakeholders provided input through community meetings, and community walks. Through these events and discussions, the preferred designs were identified to be roundabouts at the intersections at the 15th Street and 16th Street intersections.
- Roundabouts are one of the Federal Highway Administration's Proven Safety Countermeasures because they can significantly reduce (by 78 to 82%) the number of crashes that result in injuries or fatalities
- Roundabouts reduce traffic speeds
- Roundabouts allow for more efficient movement of traffic in multiple directions
- Temporary roundabouts can be installed using lower cost and temporary treatments (i.e. signage, markings, and posts)
The City contracted with Garver to design the desired traffic calming and NuLine Group to install the features.
In June 2018, mini roundabouts were installed at the intersections of Park Place and 15th Street, and Park Place and 16th Street. The project also added parking lane striping and crosswalks. In July, area residents/volunteers installed two planters and painted dots to indicate non-driving areas.
In July and August 2018, staff and students from KU School of Medicine conducted a pre and post-evaluation of the project. This included stakeholder interviews, an online survey, and a comparison of traffic data.
The temporary project is scheduled to conclude in late August and to be removed.
This project is made possible with generous support from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation.
Comments and input about the project can be submitted through the online survey.