Archive for Wednesday, April 29, 1998


April 29, 1998


City officials need to look at all options to help traffic move more quickly and smoothly on West 23rd Street.

It's old news, but something needs to be done to relieve the traffic situation on West 23rd Street.

This past Saturday, it took motorists close to 15 minutes to travel east from Iowa Street to Louisiana Street. There were no special events dumping traffic onto the street, but cars, vans and trucks were jammed in an almost solid line from around 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Motorists caught in this traffic crush became angry and frustrated as evidenced by the behavior of some behind the wheels of their vehicles.

The situation is not going to get better, only worse, and any remedial efforts are only a temporary fix for a severe problem. Until the South Lawrence Trafficway is completed to provide some relief, traffic counts on 23rd Street will continue to grow.

Perhaps there are several actions, however, that could ease the situation. City traffic officials should give far more study to coordinating traffic signals so motorists could pass through several intersections rather than the current situation that allows only a few vehicles to advance through a traffic light when traffic is heavy.

Another consideration would be to eliminate left turns on the busy street. Motorists attempting to make left turns into one of the many fast-food outlets or retailers frequently cause long delays the traffic flow.

City planners should look at the current situation on 23rd Street and remember the pleas a number of years ago to make it a wider street or require a substantial setback for all buildings along the road. This would have allowed the street to be widened to accommodate more traffic as the city grew.

These suggestions were ignored by city officials. Think how nice it would be today to have two additional lanes of traffic on this crowded street.

Lawrence is going to continue to grow, and city planners should be calling for wider streets or wider rights-of way on routes that are sure to carry more traffic as the city grows. At the same time, efforts should continue to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway just as soon as possible.

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