Following a collaborative meeting between representatives of the City of Atchison and USD 409, consensus emerges regarding the importance of slowing vehicle traffic and making continued investments in pedestrian infrastructure surrounding Atchison Middle School and the rest of downtown Atchison.
City Manager, Becky Berger and USD 409 Superintendent, Susan Myers, emerged from the meeting optimistic about the shared vision and offered the following summary of the agreed upon strategy:
All-way stops adjacent to Atchison Middle School expected to become permanent
The all-way stops trial period that began on January 1, 2018 for two intersections immediately adjacent to Atchison Middle School (AMS) is coming to a close. City Commissioners are expected to approve an ordinance at their meeting on August 6th that would create permanent all-way stops at the 5th & Santa Fe and 6th & Santa Fe intersections. The trial period saw a robust community conversation including a public survey that saw nearly 300 responses, numerous discussions and public participation at City Commission meetings, and frequent talks between City Commissioners, 409 School Board Members, and staff of both organizations.
“Safety is the most important thing, especially in the vicinity of schools, ” said Susan Myers, Superintendent of USD 409. “We know that the stop signs on Santa Fe have lowered speeds, which is safer for both vehicles and pedestrians traveling through those intersections.”
Speed limit reductions adjacent to AMS
Concurrent with the approval of the all-way stops on Santa Fe, the City Commission is also expected to adopt an ordinance officially lowering the speed limits on 5th and 6th Streets from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour in the vicinity of AMS.
“I think we’re all trying to achieve the same thing here,” said Allen Reavis, Mayor of Atchison. “We’re committed to making it more safe for kids to walk to school and the speed limit reduction is a big part of that strategy.”
Sidewalk investments leveraged by grant funding
Beginning with the Downtown West ADA Project (2016), the City of Atchison has undertaken a multi-year strategy to upgrade pedestrian facilities, focusing on downtown and the immediately adjacent residential neighborhoods. The AMS West Sidewalks Project, which begins construction this month, the Safe Routes to Schools: South 5th Sidewalks Project and the 2nd Street Corridor Project, both of which are expected to be constructed in 2019, are all examples of major investments in pedestrian infrastructure. The City and USD 409 both desire to continue leveraging grant funds to improve sidewalk conditions and connectivity, especially in the neighborhoods surrounding Atchison Middle School.
“I’m glad to see some consensus emerge,” said Becky Berger, City Manager. “Improving pedestrian infrastructure is something we’ve focused on the last few years and thanks to repeated success with several grant programs, it’s something we expect to focus on in the future as well.”
The map below showcases recent and upcoming major capital projects investing in pedestrian facilities in downtown and the adjacent neighborhoods.
- Downtown West ADA Project ($169,000 CDBG Grant) – Yellow
- 2017-2018 Street Improvement Project – Blue
- AMS West Sidewalks Project ($250,000 CDBG Grant) – Orange
- Safe Routes to Schools: South 5th Sidewalks Project ($400,000 Transportation Alt. Grant) – Purple
- 2nd Street Corridor Project ($525,000 Transportation Alt. Grant) – Grey