Traffic along that area of K-68 has been complicated since Neosho County Community College opened — bringing welcomed growth, but also its own share of commuters and demands on the well-traveled road. The addition of turn lanes onto Davis Road and onto K-68 makes the roadway safer and offers more space for semi-trailers and other large vehicles to negotiate.
The newly renovated intersection project included new sidewalks too. Though the sidewalks, which are on both the north and south sides of a portion of K-68, might not appear to go anywhere in particular, they are part of a bigger vision by the City of Ottawa to develop a walking corridor from Ottawa’s Main Street to Davis Road. That makes good sense because not everyone can or chooses to drive everywhere they go. Sidewalks ensure the community is working to accommodate all of its residents — including pedestrians and those who aren’t old enough to drive.
It’s good to see the City of Ottawa move away from its former philosophy to not build sidewalks unless they connect to other sidewalks. That was short-sighted and missed good opportunities to construct walkways, albeit possibly piecemeal, but still improving the city’s pedestrian infrastructure.
Today, the city is willing to make improvements incrementally as part of a larger plan to better accommodate and foster increased foot traffic, Wynndee Lee, planning and codes director, said previously. Now constructing sidewalks, regardless of whether they connect with an existing sidewalk system, is routine — especially if they can be paid for using other funds, such as those from the Kansas Department of Transportation, trail grants and other funding sources. This is a fiscally responsible and affordable way to enhance the city’s sidewalks. Communities with pedestrian corridors, such as the one envisioned on K-68, offer improved quality of life for residents and guests alike.
This is the right path for Ottawa and is certain to lead to a healthier, more welcoming and responsive community that aids its major employers’ needs while working to grow the community one footpath at a time.
— Jeanny Sharp,
editor and publisher