Common Questions

Why are you doing this project?


The existing roadway is at the end of its lifecycle. It has deteriorating pavement, inadequate drainage, and missing sidewalks. Reconstruction provides an opportunity not only to fix these things, but to transform the street to better serve the neighborhood and the community. It’s also an opportunity to relocate utility poles, enhance intersections, and add landscaping and street trees. The need for this project was identified many years ago and it was included in the projects identified for funding with the extension of the county-wide half-cent sales tax program approved by voters in November 2014.




What is "Complete Streets" and why is it guiding this project design?


Complete Streets is a set of policies and design principles that strives to balance the needs of all users of the street. One of the guiding principles of the City’s Complete Streets Policy adopted by resolution in 2009, is to “promote a safe network of access for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.” The resolution also states that the City shall adequately fund the implementation of Complete Streets and incorporate pedestrian and bicycle facilities into capital improvement projects.




Will 12th Street having only one lane slow down my drive time?


The design includes one through-lane plus one shared lane for parking, bus loading and deliveries, trash, etc. In other words, you will not be stuck behind these vehicles (unless it is a stopped school bus, as required by law). In addition, turn lanes will be provided to reduce delays at each of the five signalized or stop-controlled intersections. Turn lanes will have adequate length to ensure through traffic can be separated from the major turning movement at the intersection. Additionally, stop signs at 12th and MacVicar and 12th and Oakley will be removed as they are no longer warranted under the MUTCD.




Why did you decide to move to one lane of traffic?


  • Traffic counts and traffic modeling have confirmed current and predicted traffic volumes are too low to justify a two-lane roadway.
  • Overbuilt streets have negative effects. More lanes of travel, when combined with relatively low traffic volumes, can encourage faster driving which negatively impacts other roadway users like pedestrians, cyclists, the young and the elderly.
  • Reducing curb-to-curb width of the street will shorten crossing distances at some locations, help calm traffic and provide space for other amenities. The design creates a street that feels more like it belongs to a neighborhood, as opposed to a speedway through town.




Has the city actually counted cars?


The City of Topeka and Kansas Department of Transportation regularly conduct traffic counts throughout the city. Traffic counts were collected on 12th Street in 2007, 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2019. Additionally, there is an updated KDOT predictive traffic model, so additional traffic counts were captured at intersections specific to this project. Counts show that 12th Street between Topeka and Gage carries 3,000-6,000 vehicles per day, depending upon the location. This number has been decreasing over time and that is expected to continue.




What will be the impact to on-street parking near churches?


All on-street diagonal parking on the south side of the street will remain, and on-street parallel parking will remain. We will ensure parking needs for church services and functions are adequately addressed. Reverse angle parking will be implemented along the south side of the street, east of Washburn Avenue. What is reverse angle parking? Watch this short tutorial video.




Why is an on-street bike lane being considered?


Topeka is a very bicycle-friendly city; 12th Street and Huntoon are important future bike corridors, as indicated in the city's Bikeways Master Plan. There is great interest in using this corridor for bicycling. As part of Topeka's Complete Streets policy, we wanted to explore various options for accommodating cyclists and pedestrians. This also includes a shared use path to be constructed on the north side of 12th Street, from S. Kansas to SW MacVicar. At MacVicar, a transition will be made from the shared use path to an on-street bicycle lane. From SW MacVicar to SW Gage, an on-street bike lane and two 6-foot sidewalks will be constructed because the right-of-way is narrower.




What does one through lane mean?


A through lane is the continuous travel lane for motor vehicles, traveling straight through the intersection. The proposed design for 12th Street will have one through lane, but will also have turn lanes as needed at the signalized and stop-controlled intersections. In addition, there will be a shared use lane for parking, deliveries, buses, emergency vehicles, etc. that runs the full length of the project.




Does the city have plans for residents between 12th and Huntoon to have greater access to their alleyways for parking?


As part of this project, all alley approaches will be reconstructed, and ultimately getting in and out of alleys will become easier.




What is the design layout for sidewalks?


The width of the existing right-of-way is an important consideration. The sidewalk and shared use path widths are as follows:

  • Gage to MacVicar: 6-foot sidewalks on both sides
  • MacVicar to Taylor: 6-foot sidewalk on the south side and a 10-foot shared-use path on the north side.
  • Taylor to Topeka: 10-foot shared-use path on both sides.
  • Topeka to Kansas: Generally, 12-foot shared-use path on both sides.




Has anyone counted the number of bicycles and pedestrians?


Cyclists and pedestrians have been counted in Topeka annually since 2013. Counts are taken each year on the same days and in the same locations to evaluate localized trends. Volunteer counters use a Standardized National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation (NBPD) method developed by the Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE). In 2018 the annualized total count of cyclists and pedestrians at 13th and Randolph, which is the closest counting location, was 13,206.




What is the capacity of a single-lane roadway?


A single-lane roadway has a capacity of at least 900 vehicles per hour. The most recent 12th Street traffic count, in 2019, showed the 5 p.m. hour had the highest volume of 525 vehicles in that hour, but still far below the 900 vehicles-per-hour capacity of a single-lane roadway.




How will this affect bus routes?


Representatives from theMetro have been involved in this project from the beginning. There are 17 existing bus stops on 12th Street, and no impact to the route when construction is completed. Significant improvements are planned at many of these stops, including one new shelter, benches and concrete pads throughout. As a result of this project, public bus service along 12th Street will:

  • Be more accessible because of ADA-compliant sidewalks
  • Enhance connectivity to other parts of the City of Topeka
  • Be more efficient and cost-effective for users




Are you spending more money to relocate the gas lines that were recently installed?


Private utilities including gas, electric, cable, and others are allowed to locate in the public right-of-way with the understanding that if public improvements are needed, the utilities have to relocate at their own expense with no cost to the City. The design team is working with the gas company (and every utility) to minimize the need for relocation work. Sanitary sewer, water and storm sewer improvements will be made in conjunction with the 12th Street Reconstruction Project. The planning, coordination and design of these public utilities is part of the overall utility coordination effort. It will be extensive, yet necessary to replace the existing aged and deteriorated pipes.




Will parking be allowed 24/7 in the parking lane (unlike today)?


Our intent is to provide convenient on-street parking wherever and whenever possible. Factors like turning lanes, bus stops, alley access, trash trucks and emergency vehicles will be considered when determining any potential parking restrictions.




Will 12th Street still be a snow emergency route?


There are no plans to change the current designation of 12th Street as an Emergency Snow Route.




Will the parking spots be dedicated to each home?


There will not be parking spots dedicated to each home. Because 12th Street is a public roadway, all spots will be open to the public on the typical "first-come, first-serve" basis.