Free Ride Day on Topeka Metro buses tomorrow

Tomorrow, Topeka Metro is offering free rides on all its fixed routes in the city, in recognition of the 60th Anniversary of Rosa Parks’ bus protest.


Have you ever wanted to try out the bus? Tomorrow would be a great day for that! Check out the system map and find the route that suits you best – either one that goes close to home or close to work. Metro uses a hub-and-spoke system, so if you need two routes to get to your destination, that might mean transferring at Quincy Street Station downtown.

If you live in city limits, chances are good that you live near a bus route. Almost 75% of Topekans are within a 1/4-mile of a bus route – that’s just a 10-minute walk!


A radically simple solution for the Polk-Quincy Viaduct problem


Topeka, like many cities, is immured in a ring of ailing interstate highways. This network of roads had lofty goals at its onset, but its effects have produced unintended consequences.

The Polk-Quincy Viaduct in Topeka is particularly perplexing. Why, in the 1960s, would the City of Topeka agree to route a highway through the center of its densely-peopled downtown corridor? Surely it wasn’t meant to decimate the core of black-owned businesses east of Kansas Avenue between the river and 6th Street — but that’s what it effectively did.

In the process of Urban Renewal (or Urban Removal), Topeka lost out on property tax revenue for hundreds of acres of land, in the name of un-taxable state right-of-way and the lure of tourism-driven sales-tax dollars.

Political missteps aside, we have an opportunity to discuss. Design standards in the 60s were not as stringent as today’s, and in the last decade, the state Department of Transportation has determined that the Polk-Quincy Viaduct section of I-70 is one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the country.

What’s proposed by KDOT is a redesign.

What’s proposed here is abandonment.


Could this be the New Topeka?

Take another glance at the map. What is achieved by I-70 that is not achieved by I-470? Here’s a list: convoluted access to US-75, induced demand and excessive congestion between downtown and West Topeka (frequently bottle-necking at MacVicar), and a whole lot of expensive highway roads to maintain all year and in all weather indefinitely into the future.

If we want to make the highway safer, reduce our burden of infrastructure maintenance, and improve the ability to collect sustainable property taxes, let’s close I-70 from K-4 highway to US-75 highway.

We’ll route through-traffic to the smoother and newer I-470 south of town. We’ll reclaim a ton of territory for our strong central neighborhoods and the steadily-growing downtown corridor. We’ll improve property values along the whole route. And Kansas can free up part of its $1 billion highway budget to tackle a few of the 347 substandard bridges in the state.

There’s a lot of value in the study produced by KDOT and the Metropolitan Topeka Planning Organization. It discusses the purpose and need for a change along the route, as well as some alternatives. But the underlying assumption of the study is that the highway is needed. That’s the idea we’re challenging.


Page 11 from the PQVS shows an aerial view of the highway cutting downtown in two halves, and a detailed map of the study area.

There are great, low-cost alternatives to bulldozing the disused highway bridges and below-grade sections. How about a raised public park, like the Highline in New York City, or the 606 in Chicago?


Highline Park in New York City. Photo Credit: h-bomb via Compfight. cc

And for the below-grade sections through downtown, how about a downtown riverwalk and canal?


Bricktown canal and Bricktown Water Taxi in Oklahoma City. Photo Credit: KB35 via Compfight. cc

This sounds like a radical solution, but it is not made in jest. Our highways are expensive. It has been decades since the gas tax fully replenished the Highway Trust Fund. All roads are heavily subsidized. Highways simply don’t pay for themselves.

Knowing that, why would we propose to spend $200 million to correct a design error on a 50-year-old highway and further displace downtown residents and businesses, rather than look for creative, time-tested, and less-expensive solutions? It sounds a lot more radical to fix the old highway than to look for a proven alternative.

Topeka Bikeways update


The City of Topeka has completed 9 miles of the Bikeways Masterplan (red), will complete 32 miles during Phase I this fall and next spring (yellow/black), and will complete another 13 miles of bikeways facilities in 2017 (blue). Download a hi-res PDF here. On-street infrastructure includes street signs, bike lanes, sharrows, trail/link improvements, and sidepaths.


Glenda Taylor Memorial Ride tonight

6:30-8pm, June 15, 2015
Mulvane Art Museum, Washburn University
10-mile round trip

Glenda Taylor was a beloved cyclist, artist, and community advocate in Topeka. She was hit by a car and killed last Sunday, June 7, during a warmup ride as part of a time trials series in Crawford County.

Tonight, the Kaw Valley Bicycle Club will host a memorial ride in her honor, starting and ending at Washburn University, where she was the chair of the Art department. The ride will convene at the Mulvane Art Museum, just south of 17th Street on Jewell Ave. in Topeka.

Taylor was an accomplished artist and athlete, having won awards for her achievements in both ceramics and cycling.

The driver has been charged, and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash.

Block Party in NOTO – Saturday May 30th 1-4pm

Block-Party-Poster- “Oreos & Nose Rings” is the first in a series of four one-act plays written and produced by the Helen Hocker Youth Players that will be staged outdoors at Portico, 802 N. Kansas Avenue, throughout the afternoon, as part of the Block Party event happening this Saturday, May 30th, from 1-4pm in the NOTO Arts District. The event has an outdoors and healthy living focus, and will feature a number of other events and public demonstrations:

  • Bike Rodeo for kids, led by the Topeka Police Department, the Kaw Valley Bicycle Club, and instructors certified by the League of American Bicyclists. Kids will have the chance to try out a skills course, and learn some of the key tenets of bicycle safety.
  • In conjunction with the Bike Rodeo, Heartland BMX will be demonstrating their fleet of balance bikes. These are small bicycles without pedals, designed to help kids safely learn the balance required to ride a larger bike. They are lighter and easier to maneuver than tricycles or bikes with training wheels. For those interested, there will also be a chance to win one of these bikes – a “Lil Raskal” pushbike from Sun Bicycles, a $64.99 value.
  • The Shawnee County Health Agency will be sharing information on local initiatives, including the Bike for Discounts program. Helmets provided by a grant from Safe Kids Shawnee County will be available, and volunteers will be present to help fit helmets. A third group, Safe Streets, will be promoting their “Lock it, remove it, or lose it” campaign.
  • Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s Adventure Mobile will be stationed in the district, bringing the featured animal of the week, and sharing information about summer reading programs from the Library.
  • Across from the Adventure Mobile, a Topeka Metro fixed-route bus will be on hand, inviting visitors to step aboard and experience a 35-foot city bus firsthand.
  • Businesses and galleries in the NOTO Arts District will be open, and several other vendors and exhibitors will be present during the event.

Download a PDF of the poster here: Block Party – letter-size or Block Party Poster – 11×17

Topeka Bikeways Rules of The Road 2015 – YouTube

▶ Topeka Bikeways Rules of The Road 2015 – YouTube

City of Topeka puts out video to educate public about bicycle rules of the road (CJOnline)

Topeka’s city government announced Thursday it had placed the first of a series of educational videos it had produced explaining bikeways rules and etiquette on the city’s YouTube channel at and also at .

The three-minute video is the first of several the city plans to put out this year, which are intended to educate people about the rules of the road and make bike riding easier and safer for both riders and drivers, the city said in a news release.

The videos will cover such topics as how to interpret bike lanes, sharrows, and parking lanes, as well as explaining proper etiquette and riding practices, the release said.

It added, “With the current and scheduled on-going implementation of the Topeka Bikeways Plan, and the recently launched Topeka Metro Bike Sharing program, it is vital that everyone be aware and cautious of the emerging presence of bicycles on Topeka roadways.”

The news release noted that May is National Bicycle Month, and said the release of the city’s video is among activities planned to observe that month. A complete listing of activities for May can be viewed at

Original story:

Jobst Brandt leaves behind memories to last a lifetime


Ride In Peace, Jobst Brandt.

Originally posted on Silicon Valley Cyclist:

Jobst Brandt riding up Gavia Pass, Italy. Made into a poster. Jobst Brandt riding up Gavia Pass, Italy. Made into a poster.
Behold the wise Jobst Rider,
Whose unfettered mind
Sees God in dirt
And hears him in the spokes.

(Adapted from a quote by Alexander Pope)

Jobst Brandt, a cyclist who in so many ways influenced the bicycle industry during its glory days of the 1980s, died on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, after a long illness. He was 80.

On his 76th birthday, Jobst crashed his bike at the Sand Hill Road and Whiskey Hill Road intersection near Woodside during an early morning ride in a dense fog. It was his last bike ride. His serious injuries added to the burden of other health liabilities.

Jobst exerted considerable influence over those he knew in the bike industry, but he was not an industry insider. Because he never worked in the bike business, he could offer his opinions about the industry…

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