The transportation plan should start with an introduction of what people need and how they currently use the transportation system - behavior-wise. There also should be a description of overall goal or purpose such as future planning for a more dense city (infill) or upgrading existing infrastructure and improvements or whatever. The purpose should link to the city's mission and goals. The last draft I read was merely a technical document that promised more of the same. The only plan I have read so far that has a clear purpose is the Parks and Recreation plan.
There needs to be a discussion of major arterials in urban areas and connectivity in the county, both within urban areas and between urban areas. While the maps are impressive, simple line drawings might clarify network needs better.
Discussion within urban areas should include land use, function, purpose, and potential. For example, if Kasold had had an existing street plan, there would have been less controversy. The plan would have been vetted, no surprises. The plan to continue the bike lanes/paths would obviously be part of the street's overall plan. Pedestrian crossings would not be incidental. The purpose of the street would have been identified. It would have had a "complete street" plan.
-23rd Street was recently vacated by the state. It is no longer a highway. It is a street with many needs and no plan.
-19th Street is being developed with no plan to address the integrity of abutting land uses. If there is an overall plan for the entire length of 19th Street, I have not read it. The plan seems to be an unspoken dread of more street development and its consequences.
From the draft of the new Comprehensive Plan:
"Connectivity in neighborhoods, as well as surrounding neighborhoods, is critical. Grid designs create an interconnected street system offering pedestrians and vehicles many choices in navigating through their neighborhood. Neighborhoods with limited connections force traffic onto collectors causing jams and access problems. Curvilinear streets should be avoided." - p33
Is this statement in the new Transportation Plan? I question the wisdom here. Collector streets collect local/residential traffic, last I knew. Are there really traffic jams on collector streets? On the contrary, collector streets in Lawrence that are straight and have connectivity become arterials through use. Louisiana Street, Harvard Road, 27th Street, all have difficulty trying to function as collectors by design while supporting the competing function of an arterial street. A total grid system might be ideal, but in Lawrence, through streets in neighborhoods are a problem. Chicago is known for its grid system. In Chicago, even streets parallel to busy streets with lots of traffics lights, have very little traffic and no speeding. That's not what happens here.
Our approach to transportation planning varies from a watch-what-happened to a wonder-what-happened. We never plan ahead. Doing only what is required is minimally passing, "D" work. I'd like to see our city earn a "B". That requires more thinking outside of the box of requirements. If we stretch a little bit in the plan, we will have more future-seeking goals. We may not achieve some of them, but we would have a strong sense of direction. The transportation plan is reviewed every five years. That gives us a chance to adjust our direction.
How about decreasing parking requirements while increasing bus service?
How about designing streets to reduce speed?
Design intersections that are safer for pedestrians?
Requiring pedestrian-safe parking lot design/layouts?
Create a new definition of "traffic flow" to include all forms of transportation.
Literally create school zones (areas) within .25 or .5 mile radius?
How well does T2040 sync with the draft comprehensive plan's chapter on transportation? Are any of the concepts contradictory? Do the transportation vision statements fit within the vision for the city?