Daily Archives: June 14, 2011

Wichita will pay to learn what community wants from bus system

Wichita transit officials will contract with a firm to conduct surveys and outreach to learn more about what Wichitans want from the city bus system.

Wichita City Council members approved an $87,000 contract with Olsson Associates on Tuesday.

The city paid for 20 percent of the contract. Federal grants picked up the rest.

The move comes as the transit system faces deficits and is considering raising fares and eliminating Saturday service.

But transit officials say previous surveys indicate people want better service, and a University of Kansas report recommended more routes and extended hours.

Depending on public input, the city may consider a voter referendum to use a small portion of sales tax money to help improve the bus system.

The report will probably come out in December.

Wichita council approves spending to create bike path master plan

Wichita is on track to create a new master plan for bike paths throughout the city and region.

City Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved spending almost $195,000 in federal grant money to pay the Toole Design Group to create the plan.

The group will examine past plans, proposals and existing trails and come up with options to add more miles of paths and improve connectivity of trail systems.

That will include an analysis of the best ways to keep bikers safe and provide easy travel.

The plan will likely be completed by the end of September 2012.

Wichita Police beef up their arsenal

The Wichita Police department will buy 36 powerful rifles to better equip patrol officers at a time when police say they’re facing more well-armed criminals.

Wichita City Council members this morning voted unanimously to spend about $64,000 in federal grant money on Colt LE6944 rifles, 50,000 rounds of training ammunition, 4,000 rounds of duty ammunition and other accessories.

Police Chief Norman Williams said the city now has rifles that are reserved for the department’s 20 SWAT team members. The SWAT team is comprised of a variety of officers and detectives, and they have their rifles available during their normal daily duties.

Williams told council members that incidents in Wichita and across the country show the rifles can help police in situations where criminals have rifles or are at long ranges where handguns prove inaccurate.