By Roxie Hammill
The Nall Avenue border between Prairie Village and Overland Park may have a “road diet” in its future. Public works officials in both those cities are setting up to reduce the four-lane section from 67th Street to 75th Street to three lanes with a dedicated turning lane in the middle.
The change is still a ways in the future. Prairie Village, which is in charge of the joint project, is scheduling a traffic study with Overland Park for 2020. If the study confirms the change is practical – and given the amount number of cars on that road, Prairie Village Keith Bredehoeft believes it is – construction would begin in 2022.
The lane changes are a continuation of an effort that dates back to 2011, when Prairie Village and Mission changed Nall to three lanes north of 67th Street, Bredehoeft said. The new section of road would also have bike lanes, pending approval of the Prairie Village bike plan, he said.
Road diets became a trend in the past five years after the U.S. Department of Transportation began touting them as a way to reduce accidents and increase bike and pedestrian access. According to the department’s studies, the reconfiguration of four-lanes into three-lanes can reduce accidents significantly because of the reduction in conflict points. It also reduces the overall speed by limiting the lanes for people to pass when driving over the limit.
Road diets are also among the recommendations of the “Complete Streets” handbook by the Mid-America Regional Council. One of the most high-profile road diets in Johnson County recently was Nieman Road in downtown Shawnee.
The next phase of the Nall Avenue project is expected to cost $2.75 million. Half of the construction cost would be paid by the county’s road program. The other half would be paid by Prairie Village and Overland Park, with Prairie Village paying 60 percent.
Prairie Village recently implemented a road diet along Mission Road in the run up to the Village Shops from SM East.