Downtown Topeka Inc. seeks feedback on ideas for space under Polk-Quincy Viaduct

13 News at Six
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:17 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Polk-Quincy Viaduct project will be complete in 2025 and Downtown Topeka Inc. (DTI) is already brainstorming ways to utilize the space underneath. They launched a survey seeking feedback on ideas for the area that runs from South Kansas Ave. to SW Topeka Boulevard.

Dist. 1 Topeka City Councilwoman, Karen Hiller said, “It is exciting to have lots of people on board dreaming and imagining. We have got these two bridges coming over and, on the one hand, if we don’t put any thought into it they can be a barrier between downtown and the river.”

Several ideas are on the table for the space under the Polk-Quincy Viaduct in Downtown Topeka.

“Once the Polk-Quincy Viaduct bridge is reconstructed there will be a space underneath that we are looking to activate for the community,” said DTI President, Rhiannon Friedman. “We do not want the space to just sit there, we hope it can be utilized in some kind of creative way to be a space the whole community can share.”

The online survey allows community members the chance to pick their top three favorite themes and share any other ideas that may not be included.

Friedman said, “This is not your average survey, it is very visual. There is roughly 16 images that you can go and click through that show different concepts. Everything from a dog park, to a skate park, an urban eatery, places for bike trails and pathways.

She hopes after the survey is complete, it will give them a good understanding of what the community wants to see in the space for years to come.

Friedman also said the ideas that are listed were chosen based on what would be safe and realistic. “Working with the Federal Highway Administration was really key because there are only so many allowable uses you can put underneath a bridge for safety purposes.”

However, Hiller said that does not mean residents cannot get creative with their own ideas.

“To imagine it as sort of this clean slate, then these two bridges going overhead, and this space in between...what would make it come alive? Send those ideas in because they genuinely want to hear them,” she said.

In a statement, city spokesperson Gretchen Spiker said, “The City of Topeka is a proud partner in the Polk-Quincy Viaduct project, and celebrates the innovative ideas surrounding the project. The City encourages community members to participate in the Greater Topeka Partnership’s survey, and to provide ideas on how to bring the space under the bridge to life.”

The survey is open until the end of August.

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