May Flame Newsletter is Online

In this issue:

  • Wetlands Open for Recreational Use
  • Common Ground Community Gardens
  • May is Bicycle Safety Month
  • Help Improve the City Website
  • City-University Cooperate to Complete Lighted Path
Boardwalk

Wetlands Open for Recreational Use

Just south of the city limits sits several hundred acres of wetlands that is a bird-watchers paradise. The Baker University Wetlands has been open to visitors for over 30 years and remains open to the public on a daily basis and is a welcome respite for those looking for a bit of nature, without having to leave Douglas County.

The wetlands offer more than six miles of trails for walking, biking or jogging. An elevated boardwalk allows for access across the low-level water channels and swales. It is one of the most diverse habitats in Douglas County and home to many birds, flowers, plants and insects. The western tract has been restored by the University to bring water and wildlife back into the natural habitat. Since restoration was completed on this 150 acres just 3 years ago, biologists have noted that 64 species of wetland plants sprang to life in the restored tract; this is far greater than the species that can be found in the original tract, the 573 acres that was restored in the early 1990’s.

Dr. Roger Boyd, and his son Jon Boyd, manage the wetlands project for Baker University. Dr. Boyd is always surprised when visitors ask him about the wetlands and the impact of future development – the visitors are always shocked he’s very supportive of the South Lawrence Trafficway development.

“People seem to think that ‘restoration’ is not as good as just maintaining a piece of land that has always been a wetland,” said Dr. Boyd. “However, that is not true. We’ve shown that our restoration here is just as good, if not better, than natural land. We’ve created an environment where birds, plants and animals can thrive and live in a natural habitat.”

Dr. Boyd commented that one of the most common misconceptions that people have about the wetlands is that they will be destroyed if the SLT is completed.

“That is simply not true,” said Dr. Boyd. “We’ve worked closely with KDOT on this project. The SLT will remove about 56 acres of the wetlands for construction, however, as the project is planned now, the wetlands will gain over 380 acres and be quieter, offer more access for hiking and biking, and there will be a Visitor’s Center for educational purposes.”

For more information on the Baker Wetlands, visit bakeru.edu/baker-wetlands.

Common Ground Community Gardens

Gardeners, get your shovels ready! The city’s Common Ground is underway for the 2012 growing season. Common Ground is an urban agriculture and community garden program for Lawrence residents and uses city-owned properties that were once vacant or under-utilized. Community groups and nonprofit organizations will use these sites for growing fruits and vegetables for donation or sale.

Common Ground Logo

The Common Ground Program will feature five sites for 2012, with projects ranging from community orchards to student-run farms. The locations of these projects are:

  • John Taylor Park – Community and Kids’ Discovery Garden
  • Burroughs Creek (830 Garfield) - Burroughs Creek Trail Community Orchard by the Lawrence Fruit Tree Project
  • 815 Oak St. – Student farm for Johnson County Community College students and the Community Mercantile Education Foundation
  • 1315 & 1306 Pennsylvania – Two community gardens managed by the Sustainability Action Network

Three of the projects are community gardens with plots open for rent by community members. To learn more, visit lawrenceks.org/common_ground.

May is Bicycle Safety Month

FOR A FREE LAWRENCE BICYCLE RIDEABILITY MAP:

Rules & Tips

BICYCLIST

  • Obey all traffic rules, signals and stop signs.
  • Use head and tail lights at night and always wear your helmet!
  • Do not ride on downtown sidewalks.
  • Never ride more than two abreast.
  • Always ride with the flow of traffic and use hand signals when turning.
  • Do not ride using headphones.

MOTORIST

  • Yield to pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Never pass and turn across the path of a moving bicyclist. Slow down and turn behind the cyclist.
  • Allow at least three feet of passing space between you and the bicycle.
  • Do not blast your horn when approaching a bicyclist - you may startle him/her.
  • Do not accelerate to pass a cyclist when approaching a stop sign.
  • Officials from the city, Student Senate and University of Kansas officially dedicated the Oread Lighted Path on March 29, 2012.

Help Improve the City Website

The city is currently evaluating all aspects (design, navigation, etc.) of the website and needs your help.

We want to know what you like about the website and what you would like to see changed. If you could change three things, what would they be? What do you find the most helpful?

In order to make the website better, we need your feedback. Please fill out the form atlawrenceks.org/improve in as great as detail as possible.

Lighted path dedication

City-University Cooperate to Complete Lighted Path

Looking for a great way to get downtown? Try the Oread Neighborhood Lighted Path! The newly completed concrete path begins at 12th Street and Louisiana and slopes eastward to South Park, then to downtown Lawrence. The lighted pathway was a collaborative effort between the city and the University of Kansas. The project’s main goal was to improve the safety of the area with lights and lessen hazards to pedestrians travelling from campus to downtown Lawrence.

Through this project, the city either repaired or installed new sidewalks and installed traffic signals at 12th Street and Tennessee and 12th Street and Kentucky. The traffic signals are only active when a pedestrian activates the signal when needing to cross the street. The entire pathway is lit with period lighting and is ADA-compliant. The LED lights remain dim until activated by movement along the path.

The project was paid for using KU Student Safety funds and Community Development Block Grant funds from the City of Lawrence.