OPINION

Great Plains Wonderings: Join virtual transportation meeting on Thursday

Brandon Case
Pratt Tribune
A long-distance bicycle rider passes through Pratt at night during a cross-country race in 2019.

Over the past week and a half, representatives from the Kansas Department of Transportation have been hosting online public meetings for the various regions of the state prior to creating an active transportation plan.

Active transportation refers to use of the state’s transportation infrastructure by wheelchair users, pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, kickbikers, and the like.

Interested persons may still participate in the final general/virtual public meeting, which is set for Thursday, February 25 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. To find the link for the meeting, type a phrase such as “Kansas Active Transportation Plan online public meetings” into your favorite search engine.

Public meetings have been providing an opportunity for participants to brainstorm and share ideas about how to improve the state’s infrastructure for the user groups mentioned above.

Some of the initial, draft goals that participants considered included the following:

1) Safety: Reduce the rate and severity of crashes involving pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable users.

2) Equity: Invest in communities and populations that rely on active transportation and transit.

3) Mobility: Increase the regular use of walking, bicycling, and other transportation and transit.

4) Connectivity: Eliminate gaps and barrier to create comfortable, legible networks for active transportation.

5) Health: Increase physical activity and promote the benefits of active transportation and recreation to Kansans’ overall wellness.

6) Community vibrancy: Leverage transportation investments to support economic development, placemaking, and quality of life.

7) Sustainability: Increase the use of carbon-neutral transportation, maintain existing infrastructure, and invest in transportation that moves all Kansans safely and comfortably, regardless of travel mode.

Input from the online public meetings will be used to shape the final Kansas active transportation plan, which is tentatively set for implementation in October 2021. This will be a ten year plan.

It is the first such plan the state has developed in 25 years.