Shawnee infrastructure plan calls for efforts to improve walkability along 71st Street, near new Monticello library

The Shawnee City Council has unanimously approved the city’s 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Plan, including the addition of improvements to sidewalks along 71st Street from Clare Road to Hedge Lane Terrace.

The CIP is a project-funding forecast, and all projected costs are subject to change and must be individually approved by the council, Caitlin Gard, Shawnee’s strategic initiatives manager, said after the council’s May 29 meeting. The 71st Street sidewalk program was added to the CIP presented at the meeting, and the council authorized a $300,000 annual expenditure for it from 2020 through 2024.

The project would add sidewalks and regrade the existing drainage ditch along the north side of 71st Street from Clare Road to Hedge Lane Terrace. The project also would include adding a sidewalk from 71st Street to the existing Erfurt Park sidewalks and would require additional right of way at several locations.

Earlier in May, the council asked city staff to look into installing traffic signals at the intersection of 71st and Pflumm and pedestrian improvements on Shawnee Mission Parkway at Hilltop Drive.

Several councilmembers said at the May 29 meeting that some residents had expressed concerns about putting traffic signals at 71st and Pflumm because of intrusion of the lights on nearby residences. The council will consider possibly increasing the size of the stop signs there or adding lights to the signs, instead of installing traffic signals. The intersection doesn’t meet the threshold for accidents that warrant installing traffic signals.

The City has received several inquiries about the possibility of installing a north/south crosswalk across Shawnee Mission Parkway and Hilltop Drive. To improve walkability across Shawnee Mission Parkway, the project would include a new sidewalk on Hilltop Drive from the Monticello Library to Midland Drive and a crosswalk and necessary ADA improvements at the Shawnee Mission Parkway/ Hilltop Drive and Midland Drive/Hilltop Drive intersections.

Other improvement projects being considered include:

  • Ballentine Street from Johnson drive to 62nd street
  • Clare Road from 55th to 63rd streets
  • Connect Shawnee trail to connect Martindale Road over railroad tracks to Shawnee Mission Park
  • 71st from Hedge Lane Terrace to Mize Road
  • Connect Shawnee trail to connect Martindale Road to Gary Haller Trail
  • Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor landscaping from Switzer to Pflumm

“Shawnee Mission Parkway provides a gateway to the City,” Gard’s memo stated. “A significant second wave of redevelopment along this portion of the road has occurred over the past few years. … The completed streetscape will provide a visually attractive and unique corridor that will enhance the appeal of Shawnee Mission Parkway through the City of Shawnee.”