Shawnee, Roeland Park receive MARC funds for transportation projects

Roeland Park will receive $80,000 from the Mid-America Regional Council to conceptualize parts of Johnson Drive and Roe Boulevard.

The Mid-America Regional Council has awarded two cities in northeast Johnson County with thousands of dollars in grant funding for transportation infrastructure projects.

Roeland Park and Shawnee are two of 12 cities in Kansas Missouri that were selected to receive grant awards for MARC’s Planning Sustainable Places program this year. Through the program, cities advance sustainable development in the region by developing connectivity and sustainability while facilitating multiple modes of transportation within their community.

Roeland Park focusing on Johnson Drive, Roe Boulevard

Roeland Park will receive $80,000 for a roughly $96,000 project to re-envision two corridors: Roe Boulevard and 48th Street, as well as Johnson Drive between Roe Boulevard and Roeland Drive.

As part of the process, Roeland Park will gather public input and hire a consultant to develop at least three alternative scenarios and design concepts that enhance walkability, connectivity and sustainability.

The project plan for Roe and 48th will focus on enhancing connections for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians from Skyline Drive to city amenities such as the community and aquatic centers as well as Nall Park and the sports dome.

The project for Johnson Drive between Roe and Roeland will focus on creating bicycle and pedestrian connections as well as revamping the corridor for vehicles and facilitating mixed-use urban development and street parking.

Roeland Park city administrator Keith Moody said the scope of the project also seeks to pave the way for potential private development opportunities.

Roeland Park Mayor Mike Kelly said both of the corridors serve as “bookends” to Roeland Park’s portion of Roe Boulevard, a main artery through the city that is going through its own redesign process.

Kelly is especially excited for the Johnson Drive project because of new developments such as Commerce Bank and St. Luke’s, and current work on Mission Gateway on the south side of the road.

“We’re excited to see what that part of Johnson Drive can become, and I think the visioning process will give us a good idea of how we can best move forward,” Kelly said.

Re-imagining 75th Street in Shawnee

Shawnee will receive $48,000 for a $60,000 project to re-imagine 75th Street as a pedestrian, streetscape and amenity corridor.

Doug Allmon, interim community development director for Shawnee, said the 75th Street corridor is part of the Mid-America Regional Council’s regional transportation plan, but it’s also located in an area with a population that can benefit from better transit, redevelopment job growth opportunities.

Ultimately, Shawnee’s study is seeking a common vision and design guidelines for a future multimillion-dollar capital infrastructure project that will be undertaken by the city, Allmon said. Corridor design plans for 75th Street are scheduled for construction in 2020. Like Roeland Park’s project, Shawnee’s guidelines could also facilitate potential private redevelopment.

“The goal is to provide a more inclusive, planned infrastructure system for visitors and residents who live around the corridor to have better access to services, restaurants, community assets and transit stops that currently exist — or will exist — within the defined corridor area,” Allmon said.

Once complete, Shawnee’s study will lay the foundation for a complete street transportation network on 75th Street that promotes safe and convenient travel for vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians and transit riders, Allmon said.