Wichita City Council to vote on Douglas transit, walkability study

The Wichita City Council will be asked Tuesday to approve an agreement to hire a Denver consulting firm to study bus transportation for the downtown stretch of Douglas Avenue and how to make it more walkable.

It's part of the downtown revitalization plan, which the council approved last year.

Denver's Design Workshop has been recommended by the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to do the study.

The study will cost $125,000. The Metropolitan Planning Organization will provide a state-funded grant of $86,500, with the remaining $38,500 coming from Wichita Transit. Eighty percent of Wichita Transit's contribution will come from a federal grant, said Scott Knebel, downtown revitalization manager for the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Last month, the City Council approved the Metropolitan Planning Organization's application for the state grant.

The study will look at a number of ways transit service can be increased, including routes and times of service. But making Douglas more walkable will also be a part of it.

"They go hand in hand," Knebel said. "It's about how to improve Douglas as the city's postcard avenue, one people will want to walk up and down."

Economic development is the end goal for improving bus transportation and walkability, Knebel said.

The Douglas stretch being studied is from McLean Boulevard to Washington.

If the council approves the consultant, state and federal agencies must sign off on the agreement. Those approvals are expected because the state has already reviewed the plans, Knebel said.

The deadline for completing the study is Dec. 8.