City of Lawrence

Public Works Department



Thomas M. Markus, City Manager


Amanda Sahin, Transportation Engineer


June 7, 2018


2018 Bicycle Boulevard Projects



Bicycle boulevard information


Bicycle boulevards are also referred to as neighborhood bikeways or neighborhood greenways. They are low-speed and low-volume roadways where people who bicycle share the street with vehicles.  Bicycle boulevards are more comfortable and welcoming than traditional bike routes, particularly for vulnerable or less confident bicyclists such as children, seniors and families.  Bicycle boulevards also enhance conditions for walking along a street and enhance neighborhood livability.  Bicycle boulevards generally include the following design elements (although no two bicycle boulevards look alike):

·         Signs and Pavement Markings that guide people and are easy to follow

·         Speed Management through vertical and horizontal deflections such as speed humps, chicanes or islands

·         Volume Management by restricting vehicular movement at intersections which may include forced turns or diverters

·         Street Crossing Improvements such as supplemental signs and markings, refuge islands or other geometric improvements


More information on bicycle boulevards can be found on the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) website at  There are also some pictures of several bicycle boulevard elements at the end of this memo.


Recommendation for bicycle boulevards


Several bicycle boulevards were recommended as part of the Pedestrian Bicycle Issues Task Force Report that was completed in 2016.  The Pedestrian Bicycle Issues Task Force was established by the City Commission to study the walking, wheeling and bike-riding environment in Lawrence and to make recommendations in ways to invest in a transportation system that works for everyone.  The Task Force was made up of 11 members who represent the diverse ages, abilities and interests of Lawrence residents who walk, bike or wheel. The Task Force used data collected from previous citizen surveys, utilized the city’s online Lawrence Listens forum, conducted two public meetings, took public comments at all of its meetings, and presented the report to the City Commission at a public meeting.  Several findings are published in the final report, two of them relevant to this discussion - improving the bicycle network and addressing safety concerns relating to pedestrians and bicycles.  The report states: “Safety on 23rd Street should be addressed by directing people to ride on the 21st Street bike route, which should be optimized for bicycle travel through treatments such as traffic calming and traffic reduction, signage and pavement markings, and intersection crossing treatments.”  The report also states that the City should consider developing a community-wide network of bicycle boulevards.


The Task Force report has since been incorporated by reference into the approved T2040 plan and this route has been identified as part of the bikeway network.  Potential pedestrian and bicycle projects have been placed on a list and a prioritization policy was developed to rank the projects in order to assist in project selection.  The Non-Motorized Projects Prioritization Policy was approved by the Transportation Commission in February of 2018.  It lays out a scoring system for 3 classification of projects: ADA ramps, pedestrian gaps, and bikeways.  The bikeways ranking includes three factors:  (1) Adopted Plan Priorities – ranks higher if the project is part of an adopted plan; (2) Bicycle Demand Model – takes into account proximity to high and medium density housing, schools, and distance to existing shared use path or bike lanes: (3) Safety – roads with higher vehicle volumes score higher.     

The City budget includes a line item for sidewalk, bike, pedestrian and ADA ramp improvements. Currently, this line is budgeted for $450,000 per year and it is planned to be increased to $1,000,000 by 2021.  Of the 2017 funds, $300,000 were used to match KDOT grants for the 19th and Iowa ped/bike tunnels and the Safe Routes to School project.  This left $150,000 in 2017 funds and $450,000 in 2018 funds for a total of $600,000.  The Transportation Commission approved the following distribution at the Feb 2018 meeting: $100,000 for ADA ramp construction; $150,000 for pedestrian projects; $350,000 for bicycle projects.  After approval of the fund distribution and the Non-Motorized Prioritization Policy, staff utilized the process laid out in the policy to develop a list of recommended projects. 


The scores from the Prioritization Policy are used as the first step in identifying projects to be considered for improvements.  Many other factors are considered and outlined in the policy.  Two of the recommend bicycle boulevards - 21st St and 13th St - achieved a score of 10.  The only projects that scored higher are the 6th St Shared Use Path between Wisconsin and Monterey and the 9th and Mississippi intersection.  Given the high cost of the two projects that were ranked higher, staff recommended the 21st St bicycle boulevard project to be funded from the designated bicycle funds and the 13th St bicycle boulevard to be funded with the traffic calming funds since it was one of the highest ranked on the approved traffic calming list.  The bicycle boulevard on Lawrence Avenue was also selected because its budget fit within the remaining budgeted funds.  The proposed pedestrian and bicycle projects list was presented to the Transportation Commission at their April 2, 2018 meeting, the board voted to recommend approval of the spending plan.  The spending plan was subsequently approved by City Commission on May 15, 2018. The 13st St bicycle boulevard, as well as other traffic calming projects, was presented to the Transportation Commission at their March 5, 2018 meeting and the board voted to recommend approval of the traffic calming project list.


The Transportation Commission has a voting member from both KU and USD 497, they were both supportive of the 21st St bicycle boulevard.  City staff has also met with representatives of the school district and the engineer who is working on the plans for the renovation at Lawrence High School.  We have begun discussion about how the student traffic can be accommodated. We will continue to coordinate with KU and USD 497 throughout the design process.


Next steps


The next step is to hire a consultant to design the bicycle boulevards.  During the design phase there will be opportunities for public input and engagement with the neighborhoods.  Each bicycle boulevard project is unique and there is no one size fits all answer.  Vehicular access for residents will be considered as well as the safety of pedestrians and bicycles.  Completing these important pieces of the bicycle network allows us to implement the community vision for safer streets. 


Bicycle boulevard pictures


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Example of pavement markings


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Example of volume managemnt, street crossing improvement and signage



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Example of speed management with a chicane


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Example of speed management with a speed hump



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Children riding on a bicycle boulevard