Feedback gathered by the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization shows that temporary improvements made at a busy Junction City intersection yielded positive results.
The Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Jared Tremblay presented findings of a recent pilot project to Junction City commissioners during Tuesday night’s meeting. The organization partnered with the city and Live Well Geary County to install temporary street improvements at the intersection of Seventh and Jefferson streets June 14-16. The project aimed to show how minor changes in traffic markings can increase safety through the installation of curb extensions and pedestrian islands.
“This was a low cost, temporary way to test ideas, try to improve safety, and we used reusable materials,” Tremblay said. “We’re doing it across the region. We added curb extensions on either side in white. It narrowed the road from 30 feet per lane to 17. It had a big impact with the way people interacted with the street.”
During the two-day period, project organizers collected 22 pledge cards from people who supported the project, Tremblay said. They also asked residents about their opinions on the temporary improvements, and recorded those results. From that group of people, Tremblay said 47 people strongly supported them, 19 were indifferent and four had a negative attitude toward the temporary improvements.
“It improved pedestrian visibility, safety and slowed most vehicles down,” Tremblay said. “We feel this went very well. We’d like to do more projects in the city.”
City Manager Allen Dinkel said he felt the number of positive responses to the project could have increased if project organizers would have talked to city staff.
“I think if you would’ve come in and talked to city staff, your numbers would have been even higher for the positive,” Dinkel said. “For those of us who walk across the street all the time, from parking lots to and from the court building.”
Dinkel asked if Tremblay was aware of any funding sources for permanent improvements.
“Not through the MPO,” Tremblay said. “We are only allowed to do planning level improvements.”
The organization could inquire about funding options through Live Well Geary County, however, Tremblay said.
Commissioners did not make any decisions on whether to conduct future projects.