Council to vote on Douglas Design District

By 2020, Douglas Avenue east of downtown could have bike lanes, new lighting, public art, buried power lines and 30-mph speed-limit signs.

That's all called for in the Douglas Design District Streetscape Improvement Plan that Wichita City Council members will vote to endorse today.

The vote doesn't trigger any spending, but would give conceptual approval to improvements that would total nearly $10 million.

A little more than half of that would come from city taxpayer dollars. The rest would come from federal grants and special assessments paid for by property owners on Douglas.

Improvements would be added between Washington and a block east of Oliver.

The plan has been discussed for months with residents, business owners and city officials.

City officials say there's broad consensus on the basics, but that homeowners worry about traffic congestion if the city converts Douglas into a three-lane street — one in each direction with a center turn lane — east of I-135, as is called for in the plan.

More traffic analysis will be done before the council would vote on that move.

Council members have already shown support for the project.

The span of East Douglas the nonprofit Douglas Design District group aims to remake has a variety of businesses, including design firms, car dealers, musical instrument shops, bars and restaurants.

Design District members' vision is to give it an economic boost that improves life for residents by making it more inviting to walk and bike along.