Shawnee to consider reducing lanes on Johnson Drive to improve safety


SHAWNEE, Kan. — In an effort to reduce speeding and improve pedestrian safety, Shawnee city leaders are suggesting a few changes to Johnson Drive.

On Thursday, city staff will present a traffic calming proposal to members of the Downtown Shawnee Partnership. 

The project would reduce the number of lanes from four to three between Goddard and Flint streets. There would be a single lane of westbound traffic, a single lane of eastbound traffic and a continuous center turn lane. 

The proposed pilot project would also re-stripe a portion of Johnson Drive to include on-street, angled parking.

If there’s support for the proposal, it will advance to the City Council committee meeting in July.

Dr. Kile Kaspar, who owns Back in Motion near the corner of Johnson Drive and Nieman Road, said she worries cutting lanes of traffic would lead to more congestion.

“Traffic is crazy. It’s all day long, back and forth. We see a lot of wrecks. We see some crazy activity going on up and down the street. It’s really hard to get out onto the street from this parking lot,” Kaspar said. “It seems like it [the proposal] will make it a lot worse. There would be very little opportunity, I would assume, for any of the businesses to exit onto Johnson safely.”

Kaspar said she’s concerned about crossing the street now and doesn’t feel reducing the lanes of traffic would make it better. 

“It’s a little bit like Frogger going across the street anytime of the day. I would always walk down to the stoplight to cross at the crosswalk,” Kaspar said. “If they are going to reduce it down to one, I don’t see that there will be much opportunity for people to walk across the street safely.” 

If the proposal is approved by the city council, re-striping would begin in September with the viability test expected for approximately three months. After the three-month pilot period ends, the council would vote on making the change permanent. 

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