Shawnee Dispatch

Citizen task force approves final plan for recommended street repairs

The Street Improvement Program task force met for the first time Thursday at the Shawnee Civic Centre. Enlarge photo

October 28, 2015

Eleven streets have been identified by a set of criteria established by the Street Improvement Task Force as the most deserving for repaving, curbing and guttering with $9.7 million of the city's new pavement tax.

The criteria, or matrix, established seven key areas such as street width and traffic volume that were weighed proportionally to their importance to create a scale for deciding which street should be addressed first. The matrix will be considered by the city council and potentially adopted into a policy statement at the Nov. 2 council meeting.

The task force, which is made up of 12 Shawnee residents representing each ward in the city, agreed that appropriating the $9.7 million in sales tax revenue over the next 10 years for these streets, which are all in eastern Shawnee, would be fair to the city because the city is addressing more streets in western Shawnee through its mill and overlay projects.

The money comes from a one-eighth-cent sales tax dedicated to the street improvement program. Another two-eighths of a cent of sales tax will be spent on mill and overlay road resurfacing projects chosen by the city and worth more than $25 million over the next 10 years. The task force learned that the $25 million for mill and overlay would address many more lane miles in western Shawnee, about 22 miles, over the 10-year life of the tax, so they unanimously agreed that directing the city to address streets on the eastern side of the city with the $9.7 million would be fair. That $9.7 million will repair about four lane-miles of road.

Bill Bennett, who lives in western Shawnee, agreed with the criteria established by the task force because it takes emotion out of the debate.

"While I would like more out in western Shawnee, we developed the matrix and scale for a reason, which takes out individual opinions and provides the best overall recommendation," Bennett said in a letter to the task force, as he was unable to attend the group's final meeting on Thursday.

The seven criteria established an 80-point scale that will, if adopted by the council, provide a mathematical way to calculate which streets in Shawnee will be repaired using the funds.

The street's traffic volume was given 15 points on the scale. The number of houses per lane mile was given 15 points. A street's distance from a school was given 10 points, the distance from a park was given 10 points, the distance from a street that already has a sidewalk was given 10 points and the distance to any existing sidewalk was given 10 points. The street's width was given a weight of 10 points as well.

Using those scales, city staff looked at 58 candidate lane miles through this project and calculated each road's point value.

The matrix produced 11 streets, all east of Pflumm Road, that scored the highest.

Flint Street from Johnson Drive to 62nd Terrace was the highest rated street with 69 points out of the possible 80. Its estimated cost to repave, sidewalk, curb and gutter is about $2.8 million for .96 miles of road.

Goddard Street from 56th Street to Johnson Drive was the second highest rated street and is estimated to cost $2.9 million to fix its .88 miles of road.

These two projects, however, are also on the city's Capital Improvement Plan, and the city may decide at an upcoming council meeting to address these streets using Capital Improvement Plan funds, meaning more money would be freed up for the remaining nine streets of the Street Improvement Task Force's list.

Those streets are: Monrovia Street from 55th Street to Johnson Drive, 60th Street from Nieman Road to Flint Street, McAnany Drive from Bond Street to Nieman Road, 69th Street from Flint Street to Nieman Road, 57th Street from Niemand Road to Goddard Street, Monrovia Street from 51st Street to 55th Street, 51st Terrace from Cody Street to Nieman Road, Cody Street from 55th Street to 57th Street, and 69th Terrace from Flint Street to Nieman Road.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Sherfy and city engineer Paul Lindstrom said the eleven roads were rated highest because of their proximity to schools and parks and because of consistently high traffic volume rates.

Lindstrom explained that if the criteria and policy statement are adopted by the city council, the city will be able to update the list annually by rerunning the calculations based on the priorities established through the task force.

The entire citizen task force unanimously voiced their support of the recommended list of streets and the criteria set out. Task force member Tanner Banion acknowledged that the list will fluctuate over the 10 years of the tax and that as more and more road repairs are made, other streets will become priorities.

"We're looking at something that's never going to be a finished process," Banion said. "As long as it's flexible and based off some good data, I think this is a good thing."

Originally published at: http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2015/oct/28/citizen-task-force-approves-final-plan-recommended/