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Multimodal Transportation Plans Move Forward

The Lawrence Transit System and KU on Wheels have applied for a federal USDOT TIGER grant for a proposed multimodal transfer center and parking garage on KU’s campus.

The center would add new parking and bicycle storage, pedestrian accommodations, as well as act as a new transit transfer center for KU and Lawrence buses.

“KU is the largest employer in the community,”Assistant Director of KU Parking & Transit Danny Kaiser said. “We can help the environment by getting more people to ride the bus…bus service would improve by having the transit center here.”

The plans are in preliminary stages, but the transit hub is proposed to be located on the east side of Lot 90. The center would take up over half of the current parking spots in front of the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center, but those spots will have already been replaced before construction on the new transit hub would even begin.

“The central district parking garage would be completed before any construction on this one ever would start, so the timing is good,” Kaiser said.

Congestion of traffic on Naismith in front of Oliver and Naismith halls, as well as along 19th St. due to construction, is another potential issue. This has some Lawrence residents living in the area concerned.

“I live at University Place neighborhood,” Lawrence resident Pam Burkhead said. “So we’re directly impacted by the way the buses’ route at 19th street and the traffic flow.”

KU Parking is aware of and will take in to consideration all of these concerns, but thinks the long term positives of the new transportation center far outweigh the negatives.

“I think a lot of their concerns are the same ones we would have as well,” Kaiser said. “And we think in the long run, this will be beneficial for the campus and for the community. So buses, cars, bikes, pedestrians, it’ll be an improvement for all – but we also want to be a good neighbor.”

KU on Wheels and the Lawrence Transit System will find out if they receive the federal grant for the project sometime in August or September of this year. Facility design would then be done in 2017 while construction would begin in 2018.