A busy street in Hays is going to look a lot different in the next few weeks. City Manager Toby Dougherty told Hays Post that beginning at Milner and heading East, 13th St will be changed from 4 lanes to 3 lanes. The street will have one lane for driving in each direction and a turning lane in the middle. The road will also be striped to include an on-street bike path in each direction. Dougherty estimates that 13th Street will be completed (including resurfacing) by mid October at the latest, weather permitting.
The striping for the 13th Street bike paths is part of a plan to include on-street bike paths throughout the city. However, Dougherty said that while striping will be done on 13th St, the stencils and signage
designating the lane as a bike path won’t be in place until some time next year.
“I’d like to think that we could go out and just put stencils down. The problem is that we’ve received a grant for a system-wide set of bike paths, and all of those on-street bike lanes have to be designed, engineered and approved as part of the grant award. If we get ahead of that and just go put stencils down, KDOT could come back and say ‘we’re not going to reimburse you for that section of it because you’ve already done it’ so we don’t want to lose the funding for that. That’s the reason. It’ll be next summer some time when the rest of the bike plan is rolled out.”
One concern many people share is that restricting traffic to two driving lanes down from four will be a detriment to the public. Dougherty said that currently, the inside driving lane is also used for turning, which can cause slower traffic flow, jockeying for position, and accidents. He said that the restriping will help the traveling public, not hinder them.
“The reality is when you reconfigure to a three lane with a dedicated turn lane the traffic actually flows better through there. Actually, the average vehicle, from the time they get on 13th to the time they get off 13th will experience less impediment than they would in the 4 lane configuration. And the chance for accidents is significantly decreased.”
Dougherty added that 13th Street is already a 3 lane roadway just east of Main Street, and this restriping project will maintain consistent traffic flow by eliminating the change from 3 to 4 lane traffic further east.