News & Updates
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City Wins Funding for Bikeways Master Plan Phase II
TOPEKA, Kan. – Phase II of the City of Topeka’s Bikeways Master Plan will be implemented with reimbursements from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). The City was notified on Tuesday (7/15) that its Transportation Enhancement (TE) application was selected for funding and will be included as part of the KDOT TE Program. The City was awarded $223,075 to implement phase II of the bikeways plan, in addition to the $1,400,000 KDOT awarded the City last June to implement phase I.
Phase II will result in 13 additional miles of sharrows, bike lanes, intersections, and sidepath construction. Phase II builds upon the work done in Phase I, increasing the overall connectedness of the network. All parts of the City will be served with the completion of phase II. The phase includes nine routes and two links, with total of 13.2 miles. Phases I and II account for 27-percent of the entire bikeways network as set forth in the plan.
“We are excited to continue moving forward with our Bikeways Master Plan, and excited to see more implementation on City streets,” multi-modal planner Julie Anderson said. “This will increase connections and give residents more transportation options. It also shows the support of KDOT in Topeka’s efforts to be more bike-friendly.”
The latest award from KDOT accounts for 80-percent of the total project cost for phase II. Private funding will be used to cover the remaining 20-percent.
Phase I is currently at KDOT for final design approval; it is set to be completed in 2015.
Phase One: completed in 2015
Phase Two: 2015-2017
Phase Three: 2018-2020
Phase Four: 2021-2023
Phase Five: 2024-2026
For more information on the City’s efforts to be more bicycle-friendly, current projects and bicycle safety tips, visit us online at http://www.topeka.org/bikeways.
New Property Maintenance Code Reminders
TOPEKA, Kan. – A clearer, more understandable and enforceable property maintenance code went into effect in the Topeka City limits on July 1, 2014. The purpose of the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare in existing residential and non-residential structures, and on existing premises.
In order to help educate residents, we further explain specific changes below.
Section 303.1 and 303.2 – Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs
One new feature adopted under the IPMC is the health and safety concern of swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas.
The new code requires that pools, hot tubs, and spas be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition, and in good repair, in order to prevent stagnant water becoming an insect-attracting health hazard.
In addition, pools, hot tubs, and spas that contain more than 24-inches of water must be enclosed. To increase safety, these pools must be completely surrounded by a fence or barrier that is at least 48 inches in height from the ground level. Any gates or doors must be self-closing and self-latching, and must latch when released from an open position of 6 inches. If the self-latching mechanism is fewer than 54-inches, it must be on the interior side of the gate. If a hot tub or spa has a cover with a key or combination lock that fastens to the hot tub or spa, and if the cover can support a minimum weight, it is exempt from a required barrier.
In 2011, 11 children drowned in swimming pools in Kansas, according to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. Safeguarding these water attractions and supervising children will help increase public safety.
Section 302.8 – Motor Vehicles
While City ordinance previously contained conditions in which motor vehicles on private property were considered a nuisance, the new IPMC has expanded on those issues.
Vehicles which are inoperative or unlicensed shall not be parked, kept, or stored on any premises, nor shall they at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. Painting of vehicles is prohibited unless conducted inside an approved spray booth.
Improper storage of inoperable vehicles can be a serious problem for neighborhoods. Vehicles are unsightly, they provide harborage for rodents, and are an attractive nuisance for children. The property owner is responsible for removing of inoperative or unlicensed vehicles.
The IPMC also addresses neighborhood mechanics who attempt to operate vehicle repair businesses from home without complying with applicable zoning or license requirements.
Topeka Zoo Says Goodbye to Jesse
TOPEKA, Kan. – Jesse, the 24-year-old male reticulated giraffe at the Topeka Zoo, was euthanized this Wednesday morning, July 16th.
Jesse suffered from Laminitis, a disease that causes tenderness and inflammation in the hooves. The condition had further limited his mobility over the last week and was causing increasing pain.
Zoo Director Brendan Wiley says the decision to euthanize an animal is not an easy one. “We carefully consider all our options and ultimately do what is in the best interest of the animal,” Wiley said. “In Jesse’s case, we saw no opportunity for improvement and his condition was greatly affecting his quality of life.”
Jesse was a favorite of many zoo visitors. His size alone could have been intimidating to many, but he was a gentle soul.
“It was always fun to watch children get eye to eye with Jesse and squeal in delight as they fed him lettuce during the zoo’s giraffe feeding sessions,” Wiley said. “Not only did the children enjoy it, but Jesse did, too.”
During his time at the Topeka Zoo, Jesse fathered seven other giraffe and had one granddaughter born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
His legacy will continue in Topeka through his daughter, Hope, who turned four years old on July 11, 2014. Hope has been paired with Sgt. Peppers who was transferred from the Oklahoma City Zoo to the Topeka Zoo in October 2013.
“This is a hard time,” Wiley said. “Jesse is special not only to the staff here, but to many people in our community as well. People grew up with him. We will miss him very much.”
Memorial donations can be made to the zoo’s Giraffe Conservation Fund, in care of the Topeka Zoo, 635 Gage Boulevard, Topeka, Kansas 66606.
Weight: 1800 pounds
Height: Over 16 feet
Favorite Food: Apples
Favorite Pastime: Searching for hidden treats in his habitat, warm summer days, keeping watch over his family