Archive for Sunday, November 17, 1991


November 17, 1991


ry to cross 15th Street from Engel Road in the morning, or after a Kansas University basketball game.

You'll understand why it gets the title of "Lawrence's Worst Intersection" in a Journal-World poll.

The intersection at 15th and Engel was the top vote-getter when J-W readers called to register their votes Nov. 8 through last Sunday in a J-W Access telephone poll. The intersection received 412 of the 1,200 votes cast for six crossroads that were picked as "worst intersection'' finalists after J-W readers mailed in intersection ballots last month.

Rounding out the six worst intersections in the city were: 15th and Monterey Way, 27th and Iowa, 23rd and Iowa, 23rd and Vermont and Eighth and New Hampshire.

THE WORST of the worst, 15th and Engel, is a gateway to KU's campus from the west and provides access to Iowa Street for students who live in the five KU residence halls along Engel Road on Daisy Hill.

Voters in the poll said it was difficult to cross 15th from Engel, either from the north or south. They also said it's difficult to make a left turn onto 15th from the north or south.

"Students from the dorms, during rush hours, simply can't get out! They drive desperately!" wrote one respondent in the J-W's mail-in poll.

"I think 15th and Engel Road is one of the worst intersections because, for one, there are too many cars," said one voter calling on the J-W Access line. "Also, it's right on the top of the hill and it is hard to see cars coming over. They ought to have a four-way stop sign there."

Other voters also called for a four-way stop sign, such as the one that was temporarily in place at the intersection last summer.

ANOTHER VOTER said the intersection is worse at night: "Something ought to be done especially during basketball season when we leave work at 7 p.m."

Although 15th and Engel was identified as the most frustrating intersection because of the bottleneck it causes, voters more frequently used the term "dangerous" to describe the second-worst intersection in the poll, 15th Street and Monterey Way, a T-shaped intersection.

"It takes fast reflexes to get through this one unscathed," wrote one voter.

Voters say it's difficult to turn left (east) from Monterey Way onto 15th because of poor sight lines and because of heavy traffic along the four-lane 15th Street, which has a 40 mph speed limit. They recommended a three-way stop sign at the intersection.

"VEHICLES on 15th barrel down the street," wrote Janine Demo, 904 Prescott Dr., "and to turn onto 15th is impossible without breaking into a cold sweat."

Another voter described 15th and Monterey as a "blind crossing with hills on either side for the Monterey south exit, with cars going 40 mph with almost no let up during rush hours."

Joseph T. Collins, 1502 Medinah Cir., wrote that the Lawrence City Commission "won't install stop signs until someone dies in an accident at this location."

Some voters said the problem has worsened since 15th became part of the detour for travelers on U.S. Highway 40 to and from Topeka. The detour is expected to last through the spring when West Sixth Street, which is now closed to be widened to four lanes, is reopened to traffic, says Terese Gorman, city engineer.

THE POLL'S third-worst intersection, 27th and Iowa, drew votes because it causes bottlenecks on 27th east and west of Iowa Street. The bottlenecks are partly the result of vehicles going to and from Wal-Mart, 2727 Iowa.

Voters suggested widening the street and adding turning lanes and said a traffic signal to protect cars turning left was needed on 27th Street.

"The lanes don't line up correctly going east and west," wrote one voter. "It is sudden death if you're not extremely careful."

Fourth in the poll was the intersection at 23rd Street and Iowa, which drew complaints for its molasses-pace traffic flow.

"You could grow a beard waiting for the light to change," wrote one voter.

Barbara Joseph, YY104 Dover Sq., wrote there was "too much traffic and the wait is endless, especially for turning left." She wrote it was common, when attempting a left turn, to sit through more than one round of lights.

JACK BAKER, 3113 W. 22nd, wrote that the east and west turn lanes along 23rd should be set up like the north and south left turn lanes.

The "only help would be a bypass," wrote Karen Murphy, 2433 Free State Ct.

The fifth-worst intersection in the city, 23rd and Vermont, causes problems during heavy traffic for drivers who try to turn left from Vermont onto 23rd Street or turn left from 23rd onto Vermont.

One voter said the traffic lights at 23rd and Massachusetts and 23rd and Louisiana should be timed to allow breaks in the traffic.

During the J-W mail survey, 85 different intersections around town were nominated for the "worst" list.

For the downtown, the intersection at Eighth and New Hampshire streets received the most votes. Voters said that intersection was especially bad when parked cars block the view of traffic going east or west on Eighth.

"DRIVERS MUST pull out to the middle of the street to see past parked cars in order to cross (the) street, a ridiculous and very dangerous situation," wrote Troy Lofflin, 1346 Westbrooke.

"A wreck waiting to happen," wrote Claudia Ericson, 129 W. South Park.

Other downtown intersections that were cited by poll respondents included 11th and Massachusetts, Sixth and Massachusetts, 10th and Vermont, 11th and Vermont, Seventh and Kentucky, and Ninth and Kentucky.

HERE ARE some other intersections that got voter responses.

North Lawrence: Second and Lincoln and Third and Locust.

Northern Lawrence: Sixth and Iowa, Sixth and Maine, Second and McDonald Drive, Fourth and McDonald Drive, McDonald Drive and Princeton Boulevard, Trail Road and Lawrence Avenue.

Central Lawrence: Ninth and Emery, 11th and Louisiana, 15th and Iowa, 19th and Louisiana, 21st and Iowa, 21st and Louisiana, 23rd and Tennessee, 23rd and Louisiana, and 23rd and Ousdahl.

East Lawrence: 11th and Oregon, 19th and Haskell, and 23rd and Haskell.

West Lawrence: Kasold Drive and Harvard Road, 15th and Lawrence Avenue, 15th and Stone Meadows Drive, and 15th and Crestline.

South Lawrence: 31st and Louisiana, 31st and Haskell, 25th and Ridge Court.

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