KDOT wants to hear from people on how to improve biking, walking options

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The state is preparing for the future as the way people are choosing to travel is changing.

Walking, biking, skating, or riding a scooter are some of the forms of travel that more people are choosing to use to get where they need to go.

“Couple reasons, one for sport and one for exercise,” said Topekan Jim Edwards about why he likes to ride his bike.

He’s been riding in Topeka for nearly four decades.

The Kansas Department of Transportation wants to hear from him, and others with an interest in more than just driving. The department is creating its active transportation plan.

“We’re trying to develop something here that is extremely adaptable to meet future unknowns in the transportation industry,” said KDOT comprehensive planning manager Matt Messina.

KDOT is asking people to fill out a survey that asks questions about safety and accessibility. Officials want to hear if more bike lanes or sidewalks are necessary, and are trying to make sure people can share the road together.

“A lot of times when people say they don’t belong here,” Messina said about bikes and pedestrians on roads. “Well then help us realize that they belong on a sidewalk or a side path, that way they’re not on the roadway with you.”

The goal is to connect routes and have desirable areas of town be accessible for more than just drivers.

“Creating these very direct routes all over town so that bicyclists, and pedestrians, and all the other modes of transportation that people use more actively, not motorized, can be accommodated,” said Jenny Kramer, the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator at KDOT.

Edwards said he typically stays away from high traffic areas when he’s on his bike, but there are times when he rides on a highway that he thinks could be improved.

“There are places that are better than others, the wide shoulders not only benefit the bicyclists, but they also benefit the cars and trucks,” he said.

He believes riding his bike is a safe activity, but said he wants more people to keep their eyes on the road.

“I think the biggest issues that cyclists encounter, that runners encounter the same, this is possibly when people aren’t paying attention,” Edwards said.

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