Steve Evans, retired architect and member of the City’s Multi-Modal Transportation Committee, introduced a proposal for a new pedestrian/cyclist bridge crossing over the Kansas River. Steve, an avid cyclist and resident of North Lawrence, has long had concerns about pedestrian and cyclist safety on the bridges crossing the river. He and other people who shared his concerns formed a work group called RiverFront & Center to discuss the issue.
Steve explained how the present walkways on the bridges are narrow and congested. The southern end of both bridges are particularly hazardous for pedestrian and cyclist traffic. The work group developed a new bridge proposal that not only could solve congestion and safety issues but also serve as an aesthetic asset for the river front area.
Kent Williams, an artist, architect, and urban aesthetics collaborator, presented several illustrations and details on three possible bridge designs. Kent spoke of the historical importance of the riverfront area and of the great potential for making it a focus of development and activities as many other communities have done. All of the proposed designs would be ADA accessible and connect with the Lawrence Loop trail, the downtown, City Hall, green space and parks, and other cultural amenities.
Also in attendance in support of the new bridge concept was Sujoy Dhar, an architect and urban designer, and City Commissioner Courtney Shipley. The City Commission will hear a presentation on the Kaw River Commons bridge concept on September 21st.