City eyes 13th St. upgrade
By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT
The city of Hays hosted a public meeting Wednesday to discuss possible changes to 13th Street.
The reconstruction, which is not expected to begin until 2015, is budgeted to cost $1.5 million, said John Braun, the city's assistant director of public works. Improvements would focus on fixing the pavement on the four-block stretch between Main to Milner.
Stormwater infrastructure and water services/meters along the route also need upgrading. If approved, they would be paid for separately through their respective funds. The work could reduce flooding in the area.
Bulb outs, or curb extensions, might be installed at the intersections of Allen, Oak and Main. They would help identify street side parking and allow pedestrians waiting to cross to be seen.
The work aims to provide drivers a "beautiful corridor" into downtown Hays, Braun said.
"It gives them a road that's comfortable to drive on," he said. "A road that'll last another 50 years."
"It'll give them an entry into the downtown which is pleasant to look at, attractive and inviting to people who visit Hays and are going to downtown," Braun said.
Buck Driggs, project manager for Driggs Design Group, said his contracting group studied wrecks from the past three years to determine if any part of the streets needed adjustments. Approximately 8,000 vehicles use 13th daily.
The bike path proposed for the street might share the road with vehicles, or a sidewalk extension on both sides of the street could be designated for bicycle use.
Mark F. Pfeifer, Hays, attended the meeting and suggested the city consider installing a median on 13th with flowers or shrubbery. He said he thought there was one on the street when he was younger.
The Hays City Commission will discuss the proposed changes at its March 20 work session. The project was listed as No. 6 on the 2011 Pavement Condition Assessment.