New Sidewalk Provides Safe Route to School for Kansas City, KS Kids

Posted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 by
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For Kansas City, KS students, Carl B. Bruce Middle School and Bertram Caruthers Elementary School were challenging to reach on foot. The sidewalks were older, missing, and broken in many places. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City wanted to create a safe, continuous path for residents.

They selected Affinis for their Safe Route to School Phase G project. The site was bordered to the west by the middle school and to the east by the elementary school. The goal was to design and install sidewalks on at least one side of Waverly, Cleveland, 18th, 13th, and 11th streets. This would allow pedestrians to easily reach either school from the neighborhood. It also provided connectivity to the nearby trails and park system.

The site is characterized by steep slopes, which posed several design challenges. Many houses had stairs running from the porch to the roadway, and those needed to be tied into the new path. In addition, there were a number of retaining walls in the area, which couldn’t be impacted by our plans. We also encountered driveways, which were connected to one another, although they were different heights. These had to be smoothly tied into the sidewalk as well.

The area had some existing sidewalk. We needed to make sure it, as well as any new sidewalk, was ADA compliant. The established area made this challenging. For example, some homes had drains integrated into the driveways. We leveraged our stormwater team’s expertise to rework the lids. They also relocated inlets at 15th and Cleveland to maintain a unified pathway.

In addition to designing these improvements, our firm also oversaw construction. Because our co-workers had created the plans, we had a direct line of communication with the engineering team. We also began the project with a comprehensive understanding of our client’s goals and needs, which improved our collaboration with the contractor.

Now that construction is complete, these improvements are moving the area forward. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City has created the safe, continuous pathway for residents they intended. Local students are using the new sidewalks to safely reach their schools, while area homeowners can easily access the nearby park and trails system.

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