Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

K-10 transit planning should precede growth

September 27, 2007

Public transit on Kansas Highway 10 consists of the current shuttle between the Kansas University in Lawrence and its Edwards Campus in Overland Park. If you see it, wave, because you won't be able to board it locally.

Yes, it's a positive sign that the pilot program is said to be a success. But it is disappointing there is nothing available for most commuters and, at least on the the surface, nothing being discussed.

The lack of movement on this score isn't a snub. The expansion of transits system is not a nationwide priority despite the realities of air pollution, highway construction costs and rising energy costs.

More than one year ago, Johnson County Commissioner John Segale led a group that made a number of transportation proposals. Among them was a recommendation that new Johnson County neighborhoods be designed with the expectation that they would be served by transit.

That seems a very timely and overdue suggestion. It is much easier to make transit work where it is seen as integral rather than to graft it onto a housing and transportation pattern designed around the automobile.

We would think that reasoning could be applied to the K-10 corridor, which despite increasing development on its eastern extreme is still relatively undeveloped. Given the reality of $3 a gallon gas in the summer months, it could well be critical to the future growth of K-10 communities, particularly the bedroom communities of De Soto and Eudora -- to say nothing of Sunflower.

Those two small communities can't be expected to take the kind of planning measures Segale envisioned without the encouragement of a regional effort, the leadership of larger cities on the corridor and a realistic expectation that it would pay off with the existence of an operating transit system in the future. At the very least, the start of discussion of a future transit system and how to coordinate it with future neighbors would be welcome. The current housing slump offers an opportunity to make up some lost time.

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