On Monday, Shawnee City Commissioners heard a presentation from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) about the award of its Community Challenge grant, which is funding the installation of a mini traffic circle — also known as a roundabout — at the intersection of Burns Street and Chapman Avenue.

On Monday, Shawnee City Commissioners heard a presentation from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) about the award of its Community Challenge grant, which is funding the installation of a mini traffic circle — also known as a roundabout — at the intersection of Burns Street and Chapman Avenue.

“The City of Shawnee has been selected to receive grant funding in the amount of $9,936 from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) through the AARP Community Challenge,” City Manager Justin Erickson said.

The grant selection process was a highly competitive, with more than 1,200 applications for the first-ever AARP Community Challenge, he said.

“Of the 88 winners chosen from across the nation, we were the only ones selected from Oklahoma,” Erickson said.

AARP State Director Sean Voskuhl said what's important about the project is that AARP was looking to find some community innovation grants and opportunities where people could put these projects into use within a couple months — a stipulation of the award is that it's got to be done by Nov. 1.

Having access in little communities for pedestrians, bicyclists and other vehicles, we think the mini circle is a great way to make an impact in Shawnee — and hopefully it's one of many to come, Voskuhl said.

“Thank you for your support on this,” he said to commissioners. “We're excited to be a part of this with you. You've been great partners and we look forward to a continuing partnership with Shawnee and Pottawatomie County for years to come.”

The grant will be used to replace stop signs at the intersection of Burns Street and Chapman Avenue, with one of the city’s first residential mini-circles.

Mini-circles are raised circular islands constructed in the center of residential street intersections. They reduce vehicle speeds by forcing motorists to maneuver around them and are typically used instead of stop signs.

“They are traffic calming devices that have been found to reduce motor vehicle crashes, and when properly designed can greatly benefit the safety of pedestrians and cyclists,” the agenda memo reads.

According to the agenda, City Planner Justin DeBruin said staff selected this intersection keeping several factors in mind:

• Located between Kickapoo St. and Shawnee High School, Burns is highly trafficked by students and residents on a daily basis. A common safety complaint made the city on this intersection is vehicular traffic disregarding stop signs.

• As a well-established residential neighborhood, Jefferson Terrace is ideally located with many existing amenities that foster an atmosphere of walkability. It is adjacent to Shawnee High School, Jefferson Elementary School, Community Renewal Headquarters, Kickapoo Street (the city's major commercial corridor), and perhaps most uniquely, two pocket parks located north and south of the subject intersection.

• The area reflects great diversity in population age. The historic housing stock, alongside the abundance of amenities in a short proximity, citizens from all walks of life serve to benefit from improved safety and accessibility to basic, local services.

City staff plans to design the project in-house and select a qualified contractor to implement the work.