City Responds to 13th Street Restriping (VIDEO)

Depiction of restriping done to 13th St.

Depiction of restriping done to 13th St.

The restriping on 13th Street is nearing completion.  Hays Public Works told Hays Post that a few final areas of striping and some repair work have to be completed, and the traffic lights at the intersections of 13th & Vine and 13th & Canterbury need to be updated.  The goal is to have all road work finished today and the traffic lights updated tomorrow, weather permitting.

In response to a deluge of questions and feedback, the City of Hays has posted a “13th Street Frequently Asked Questions” tab on their website.  13th Street changed from 2 driving lanes in each direction to one car lane and one bike lane in each direction and a center turning lane.  The change is referred to as a “road diet” on the website.  The city’s FAQs are listed below.

Mayor Kent Steward had a plea for Hays residents regarding the changes to 13th Street during his closing comments at the City Commission Meeting last Thursday.


FAQs from

Why has 13th Street changed?
13th street had excess capacity and allowed vehicles to travel at higher speeds. Reconstruction allowed for a traffic design change, called a Road Diet.  This conversion matches 13th at Milner and provides constant flow throughout 13th street.  Not all arterials are candidates for road diets but 13th street contained characteristics suitable for this conversion.

What is a road diet?
A road diet is a lane reduction.  The 13th street reconfiguration reduces the street from four lanes to three lanes. Specifically the lanes are condensed from two in each direction to one travel lane in each direction. A left turning lane in the center and bicycle lanes are included.  See the diagram noted above.

What are the advantages of a road diet?
A road diet improves vehicular, pedestrian, and bicyclist’s safety.  Decreasing the number of lanes reduces the ability to jockey for position and creates a more uniform speed.  Traffic flow is more efficient with a designated left turning lane. Road diets are generally successful on roads that carry fewer than 19,000 vehicles per day.

Are there national studies or best management practices that prove road diets are safer?
The Federal Highway Administration claims the addition of road diets and other uses such as bike lanes makes streets safer and can reduce accidents by as much as 29%. Reducing vehicular space on the road creates a calming effect which slows traffic and increases safety by giving motorists and bicyclists segregated lanes.  As streets are consumed with various transportation uses, the available space for travel is safely reduced which ultimately slows traffic.

What are the disadvantages of a road diet?
The original four‐lane configuration allowed faster speeds with excess capacity.

Are there similar streets in Hays?
A lane conversion occurred on 27th street from Hall to Willow.  This street realizes 11,000 vehicles a day.
Hall Street from 27th to 13th has a similar configuration and has 8,500 vehicles a day.
The section of 13th from Vine to Canterbury has 9,000 vehicles a day.

Why bike lanes now?
The lane reduction allows space for bike lanes. The mobilization of the 13th Street contractor granted an opportunity to construct the lanes. They connect east neighborhoods/commercial districts to the vine and downtown areas. The lanes are an essential part of the Bike Hays system.

Where does the need/desire for a bike system come from?
Since the 1990’s there has been a recorded community desire for a bicycle system. The 1996 Community Strategic Plan, developed by a public process, identifies many quality of life goals.  A specific objective was the development of hike and bike trails throughout much of Hays. The construction of a bike system never came to fruition.

In the 2000’s a 32‐mile multipurpose concrete path system was proposed and estimated to cost $11 million or $350,000 a mile. The plan never came to fruition because of the cost.

In 2011 over a hundred citizens submitted signed petitions requesting a bike lane system throughout Hays.

The 2012 comprehensive plan process had approximately 35 public meetings with hundreds of participants representing multiple interests. There was an overwhelming desire for a bike system to improve the quality of life with secondary economic and health benefits.

Why bicycle lanes instead of bike paths?
Bicycle lanes utilize current infrastructure with limited investment. An on street system is a fraction of the cost of a separate multipurpose path system.
On average a mile of multipurpose bike paths costs $350,000.
On average a mile of bicycle lanes costs $20,000 or less

What is the Hays Bike Plan?
The proposed Bike Hays plan will utilize current street infrastructure to construct 26.5 miles of bike facilities. Bicycle lanes will comprise 25 miles and 1.5 miles will be a levy multipurpose path trail segment.  The project construction is estimated at $811,000.

Where do the funds come from to pay for this project?
The city budgeted $400,000 for this project. A majority of the funds come from a special alcohol tax.  These funds can only be used for quality of life amenities and generated by alcohol consumed in Hays.  No SALES TAX and No PROPERTY TAXES are proposed for the initial construction of the system. Transportation Enhancement funds were awarded to assist with the remaining construction costs.

What is the intent of the Bike Plan system?
Currently there are no designated routes in Hays.  Streets with segregated or defined routes are safer for vehicles and bicycles. The proposed system connects nearly every park, neighborhood, school, and commercial district with a safe designated route for a fraction of the cost of a multipurpose path system. Bike lanes offer an alternative healthy mode of transportation for our community.

What organizations support the Bike Plan?
There are many community organizations who have endorsed the City’s Bike Hays plan. These include City of Hays, USD 489, Ellis County, Fort Hays State University, Hays Area Children Center, Hays Med, and Hays Recreation Commission.

When will the Hays Bike Plan be complete?
A copy of the Draft Map can be viewed here.  For Plan details click here.  Engineering is under way with the expected implementation in 2014.

  • Guests

    All stop lights on Vine need to be updated. They are all mess up.

    • Chief59

      Other than the farthest North stop light that seems to choose at random who gets the green light, I haven’t had very many problems with lights on Vine, or anywhere else in town. Possibly the one at Hall and 27th, as it sometimes doesn’t seem to recognize a single car waiting when it is dark out, but other than those two SMALL issues, I’ve been trouble free.

    • redneck idiot

      I remember in the 80’s if one drive 32 mph you would get nothing but green from one end of vine to the other, it was sweet

      • Guests

        I remember those days. I go though a lot of red lights at 500 in the morning maybe they need to throw those senors away they are worth nothing. The only car out there and you get the red light something wrong there.

  • Guests

    Lets mess all the 4 lanes up with bike trails.

  • gomer

    the desires of the few take priority over the needs of the many – typical liberal progressive thinking

    • Chris

      Yea darn that typical liberal progressive thinking! The needs of the few over the many. Darn those liberals and helping out the minority. Civil Rights?! Suffrage?! Who needs that?

      • Jeff

        If your comparing bike lanes to civil rights, you might need to do some soul searching!

    • Guest

      kind of like when they paved roads for cars

    • Chief59

      I’m guessing you’re one of those people who thinks food stamps are a waste because they go to “lazy moochers who don’t want to work”. Typical conservative backwards thinking.

      • Taxed out

        What….every single job in the entire city is taken……oh my gosh! The problem with handouts like food stamps are that people start to like the freebies way too much. If someone is down on their luck, help them out for a month. I’m against long term handouts. Tell them to swallow their pride, buck up and find a job. There are plenty of openings at the job service center and in the classifieds. It may not be sitting behind the desk making $50,000 a year and playing on facebook for half your shift, but you can sure get off your backside and mow a lawn, paint a house, or something so that we could have less of a tax burden.

        • alexander

          “There are plenty of openings at the job service center and in the classifieds”
          Somebody hasn’t actually looked at the local classifieds in a decade or more.

          • Taxed out

            I counted about 30 ‘help wanted ads’ in the Hays Daily from this Sunday. I have no idea how many listed at the job service center. I’d guess a plenty. As long as there is even 1 opening, someone on government assistance that isn’t totally unable to work can & should be required to apply.

        • Chief59

          Wow, thanks for completely making my point. I appreciate it.

          The fact is, 80% of SNAP (food stamp) recipients are over the age of 60, and 73% of these live alone. Since when are elderly widows considered freeloaders who need to go down to the job service center to get a job? Also, SNAP usage has been shown to directly coincide with people getting out of poverty. It actually brings people up to a livable level.

          Yes, there are losers who take advantage of the system, but it is a very small percentage. However, it’s people like you that think people who are unable to help themselves are moochers or freeloaders that are the bigger losers.

          • Taxed out

            And why should my tax money go towards long term support of this? There are charities, churches, donations, food banks, etc. My issue is forced taxation for a program like this. The words ‘government’ and ‘helping the people’ should never be used in the same sentence. Just ask the survivors from different disasters where all the money is that was funneled in to the government from well wishers. How’s that good old social security we’ve been paying into coming along? Let’s not forget the postal system…a real winner if you consider red ink in the books. Trillions of dollars in debt and yet another federal shutdown. Billions spent on wars and aid to other countries while we have our own homeless citizens. Should I go on?

          • Ummmm

            The postal service receives exactly zero dollars in taxpayer support. ZERO.

          • Taxed out

            That may be true, but it has borrowed 15 billion from us taxpayers to cover their losses for the last few years. Let me know when, if ever, that will be paid back.

          • Chief59

            What do the words “of the people, by the people, and for the people” mean to you? The government is there to protect its citizens. Charities, churches donations, food banks, etc. can’t come anywhere close to covering the demand. You know why? People are selfish. They are selfish and don’t every donate a damned thing.

            What money was “funneled into the government from well wishers”? Almost any donations are to private organizations. FEMA is significantly under-funded, due to the same thinking you have, as in, government shouldn’t help people, so let’s cut the FEMA budget.

            As for your examples of government failure, social security is currently projected to have money to last for another 20 years. Yes, there is a shortfall coming. Remember though, this program has lasted for over 80 years so far. Part of the problem with it is that half of Congress would love to see it gone. As for the Postal Service, that is a poor example. The USPS is an independent agency that does not receive any tax dollars. I’m assuming you are a big “free market” kind of guy. The state of the USPS is a result of the free market and the fact that people don’t mail letters anymore.

            I fully agree with you on wasting money on wars and aid to other countries. It’s stupid that we have to be the ones charging into every conflict when other nations are perfectly capable of doing the same thing. I guess we need something to justify the world’s largest amount spent on defense. Maybe that is where you should focus. If we quit spending a ridiculous and non-essential amount on defense, then we could cut back on taxes AND still be able to help out the less fortunate here at home. Too bad it will never happen.

      • Whatever

        McDonalds is always hiring. Dont tell me there aren’t jobs. There is just a misplaced sense of pride. Many would rather be on welfare than to work something they consider demeaning instead of realizing working hard is less demeaning than mooching off the working class.

        • Chief59

          Where in my post did I mention anything about jobs? I didn’t. You know why? It’s because the vast majority of people on food stamps HAVE JOBS! Most of the people who receive food stamps and don’t have jobs are one of two people, either the elderly or veterans.

          Nobody is mooching. A large portion of people receiving benefits have MORE THAN ONE JOB. That is called being a hard worker and doing everything to try to make ends meet. Sometimes that still isn’t enough though, so the government steps in.

          Why do people like you make SNAP and WIC into bad things? They have been proven to lift people OUT of poverty. Not only that, it’s a very small portion of what this country spends money on. The fact is, you have your preconceived notions that anyone on food stamps in a moocher without a job. You could not be more wrong. You are simply a selfish person who repeats ignorant talking points.

    • Bill

      I’m sure this attitude has been around for a while, but the time I can recall it really getting started in Hays is when they tried to rename the University. Now it’s popping up again, bike lanes along with the dog park. I’d put money on it that many of these ideas are coming out of the College. I give the dog park supporters credit for raising the initial funds but once that’s over, it will be handed over to the taxpayer.

  • idiots…

    so basically everyone needs to continue complaining about the bike paths and making a big deal about it and it will change. Kent said so himself that he will admit he was wrong so keep up the complaints.

  • FHSU’73

    I can understand the safety benefit of reducing speed competition with 2 lanes, but I foresee frustration/anger with long lines of cars behind a “granny” driver in the lead…especially after an activity at the high school.

    • Chief59

      That is the one drawback I foresee from this plan. However, I think the turn lane is a big benefit.

  • Anony Mouse

    I travel this road multiple times a day, so I was furious when the 4 lane was changed to 2+turn. However, I decided to keep an open mind about it and I’m finding the changes have not been a problem at all. In fact, I really like that the dedicated turning lane allows cars to get out of the flow of traffic to make their turn. We’ll see how it goes in the long run, but so far so good.

    • Chief59

      This is exactly right. I have only driven said street twice since the change, but I haven’t been inconvenienced. Wish more people were open-minded like you. Most here will never have a problem on the street itself, but that won’t change their knee jerk preconceived notions.

    • Jeff

      Here is the deal, with 4 lanes if you were heading west and had no need to turn right, you could get in the left lane and never have to slow down for someone in front of you taking a right. If heading east, with no need to turn left you could drive unimpeded in the right lane. There are only a few blocks on the East part of 13th where this doesn’t apply. Common sense wins and therefore no need for a turning lane.

      • Chief59

        Heading East I can’t see much use for two lanes. Most of the south side of the street is empty. I can see two lanes on the North side making sense. However, you just gave one of the reasons why they are making the change. People regularly do 40-45 mph down that street because they can do so unimpeded.

        By removing one lane, it makes the route safer. Many complained after reading the remark that it was intended to slow traffic, but they didn’t understand that it is to slow it to legal levels. Also, with such a wide open street, people tend to glance down or drive less attentively. That posed a real risk with people stopped on the inside lane trying to make a turn. Now traffic will only have to deal primarily with right side turns while traveling West.

        • Jeff

          So I suppose we should cut I-70 down one lane in each direction? This is just another example of where nanny state needs to stop, we don’t need government holding our hands every minute of everyday. Why punish those who enjoy unimpeded traffic while driving 35 because a few drive over the limit?

          • Chief59

            What does a “nanny state” have to do with this? They saw an opportunity where there was wasted lanes and turned it into something else. If it doesn’t work, you can say “I told you so” and the lines can be repainted and back to how it was before. Big deal.

          • Jeff

            As defined by a “nanny state” is defined as “A government perceived as having excessive interest in or control over
            the welfare of its citizens, especially in the enforcement of extensive
            public health and safety regulations”.

            Is slowing traffic not stated as one of the desired effects of reducing lanes, for safety? There is your nanny state!

          • Chief59

            Since when is trying to keep traffic at the legal limit being a nanny state? That’s called enforcing the law. Apparently, according to you, trying to keep citizens safe is a nanny state. Why have speed limits at all? Why require cars to have seatbelts?

          • Jeff

            I said nothing about speed limits. Speed limits are in place to keep traffic at a pace that is deemed safe for the public based on certain criteria, hence school zones. The definition states “excessive interest in or control”. Reducing lanes I believe starts leaning towards the excessive side. If speeding is such an issue maybe running radar and issuing tickets would be a start before making such a drastic change. But lets be honest, safety had nothing to do with their decisions, end game was bike lanes. Nothing more nothing less.

          • Chief59

            If bike lanes were the end game, then it had nothing to do with a nanny state. That’s more of someone pushing an agenda type of deal.

          • Jeff

            Agreed. The nanny state reference was referring to their excuse and your justification in your original post when you stated people do 40-45 because, they can do so unimpeded. The one lane in both directions on I70 was an exaggeration based on your logic for impeding traffic.

          • just some guy

            that is the stupidest thing i have ever read

  • Joe

    It looks like our City could use a tax revenue diet, instead of spending money on projects such as this! I bet the taxpayers would enjoy a little extra money in their pockets too!

  • Joe

    Their logic on a diet for 13th is right up there where they claim the city has an excess of parking. They then used that idea to increase taxes on every property owner in town.

  • late to work

    If I can get “over a hundred” signatures will the city remove the bike lanes

    • Guest

      Where do I sign?

    • Bill

      I asked the question a while back what it would take on the board but never got a reply. I don’t believe the signatures themselves will result in the removal of the lanes but maybe it will force our city officials to give the community a chance to vote on it. I can’t be for sure. They have already wasted money on restriping 13th, but stopping them from going forward onto other streets and paying to have it restriped again has to be much cheaper than their nearly $900,000 project cost.

  • redneck idiot

    saw some jackhole on a motor cycle using the bicycle lane this weekend. holding up traffic because the car drivers were not sure if the guy was going to merge over to the driving lane or stay on the bike lane. And I am that granny driver that purposely drives slow on 13th now

    • Chief59

      The motorcycle driver was a typical Hays driver idiot. By you saying you are going to purposely slow down, you are saying that traffic would be fine if it wasn’t for you being a d#ck, right?

  • Bob

    Why do politics have to be brought up in everything us ignorant Americans discuss? I’ve seen as many bi cyclists on 13th as I have airplanes. But, anything that is done in this world someone is going to complain

    Dumb dumb dumb..

  • For Henry

    That Special Alcohol tax a sales tax and it sure covers a whole bunch of different agencies and other funding according to our honorable Commissioners. I highly suspect their integrity on the numbers of citizens & organizations that desired a bike path/trail. The say organizations they named, FHSU, Hays Children Center, Ellis County, and the 4 others may mean only the heads of these organizations desired to ride their bikes equaling 7 people total…not everybody in Ellis County. This group of Commissioners is a sly bunch! The FAQ’s were obviously meant to mislead.

  • Bobs your uncle

    Looking at the Mayer and the Commissioners in the video, NONE of them ride a bike. I was told by the city manager that he avoids 13th street on the way to work because of the traffic. Maybe he should take a bike.