Roeland Park council considers preliminary design for Roe Boulevard 2020 project

Roe Boulevard will be getting a major revamp in 2020. 

Roeland Park is one step closer to revamping Roe Boulevard, the major corridor running north through the city.

Councilmembers got a first look at the preliminary design for the $8.2 million project. Engineers from GBA, a Lenexa-based engineering firm, presented the plan to the council during its Monday workshop.

If the preliminary plans get the green light, GBA engineers will begin the final design, coordinating and relocating utilities and finalizing plans, to be completed in fall of 2019. GBA anticipates beginning construction in early spring 2020.

Federal Surface Transportation Program dollars will fund $4.7 million of the project, while Johnson County will provide $1.2 million from its County Assistance Road System program. The city of Roeland Park will fund the remaining $2.3 million of the project.

Project goals include:

“How do we make this a more pedestrian-friendly corridor and creating some buffer between the travel portion of the roadway where the cars are going and the sidewalk or multi-course trail?” said city administrator Keith Moody.

The preliminary design plan calls for removing the traffic signal at the entrance to Lowe’s and Walgreens. To enter the parking lots on either side of Roe Boulevard, motorists will need to use West 50th Terrace/Roe Lane or West 48th Street. Here’s a look at the proposed design for the interchange with Lowe’s on the west and Walgreens on the east:

Roe 2020

Ultimately, the intersections on Roe Boulevard from West 48th Street to West 57th Street will undergo the most noticeable changes, including:

  • Connecting a Roe Boulevard trail to the sidewalk on Linden Street near West 57th Street
  • Replacing radius-type curb ramps with directional ramps at West 55th Street
  • Reconfiguring Rosewood Drive so it intersects with Roe Boulevard at a less acute angle
  • Removing the dedicated right turn lane on southbound Roe Boulevard to turn into the Walmart parking lot; this makes room for the 8-foot trail and green space on the west side of Roe
  • Removing the median on the southern part of Roe intersecting West 51st Street
  • Reconfiguring the intersection at Roe Lane/West 50th Terrace to allow easier access for trucks on the northwest corner
  • Creating more space for a westbound bike lane at Roe Lane/West 50th Terrace, plus bike lane striping
  • Removing the southbound dedicated left turn lane at Roe Lane/West 50th Terrace, as well as removing the retaining wall on Roe Lane

The plan will also consider removing the traffic signal at West 52nd Street. Councilmember Tom Madigan said he thinks residents may disagree with that decision.

“For years, I’ve heard that we’re going to have all these lights time traffic, so it’s going to move faster after 2020,” Madigan said. “The people that we’re going to meet with I think have some idea that the possibility exists that that light will stay. The longer they have that idea, the more it’s going to irritate them that they don’t have any input.”

Councilmembers also suggested adding through-lane lines on Roe and Rosewood.

Permanent easements for sidewalks and traffic signals are required at some intersections along Roe Boulevard. Additionally, temporary easements for construction are necessary along the corridor as well. Moody urged the council to consult with property owners as soon as possible to make the easement-acquisition process run smoothly.

Madigan said he wants to keep residents and property owners informed before the project design becomes “a done deal.”

The council plans to discuss the project and consider approving the preliminary design plan at its Oct. 22 meeting.