Leawood residents could request crosswalks at certain intersections under draft policy

The intersection of 93rd Street and Lee Boulevard, where residents have asked for a crosswalk in recent months. Image via Google Maps.

Leawood officials are reviewing the initial draft of what would be the city’s first-ever crosswalk policy, a conversation that was sparked by concerns raised by residents about the intersection at 93rd Street and Lee Boulevard.

What the draft says: If ultimately approved by the Leawood City Council, the new policy, which was reviewed this week by the council’s Public Works Committee, would allow residents to provide a written request to the city engineer for a crosswalk on non-arterial roads within city limits

  • Upon receiving the request, city staff would then collect information about the site, such as the pedestrian count, sight distance and its distance from other crosswalks.
  • In order for a crosswalk to be approved at a given intersection, the draft policy requires a minimum of 20 pedestrians to travel through the proposed crosswalk area in an hour.
  • If the site does not meet the minimum requirements and is denied, residents could then appeal to the city administrator.

Background: Discussion around creating a crosswalk policy for Leawood began back in May after several residents who live near Lee and 93rd petitioned for a crosswalk at that intersection.

  • In October, the 6-year-old son of Leawood resident Leah Maugans was hit by a car during the family’s usual evening walk in the area.
  • Maugans’s son survived, but she said the incident highlighted why a crosswalk is desperately needed at the intersection.

Feedback: While many on the committee agreed the first draft of the policy was a good start, there were some concerns expressed about its logistics, specifically trying to calculate an intersection’s need for a crosswalk with the 20 pedestrians-per-hour rule.

  • “If you just sit out there with a counter clicking, it could be you hit the wrong day,” Councilmember Andrew Osman said. “You could have parents say, ‘Let’s go for ice cream’ and have 20 kids cross in one hour and then not have something for two or three days.”
  • Osman suggested city staff try to find alternative ways to calculate the likelihood of a resident crossing the street, such as looking at street speed and resident connectivity.

What’s next: Now that the public works committee has heard the first draft of the policy, staff will go back and revise it based on their feedback.

  • The updated crosswalk policy will then be presented at committee’s meeting next month to potentially be voted upon.
  • Once approved by the committee, the policy would then ultimately need to be approved by the city council to go into effect.