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Archive for Tuesday, March 3, 1998

CITY MAY PUT STOP TO KASOLD STOP SIGN

March 3, 1998

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The city's Traffic Safety Commission will consider a request to remove stop signs on Kasold Drive at Eighth Street.

More than 13,000 cars, vans and trucks must come to a complete stop each day on Kasold Drive at Eighth Street, and it shouldn't be that way, the city's traffic engineer said.

David Woosley recommends removing two stop signs from Kasold at Eighth, as requested by Lawrence resident Mike Douthat. Woosley's recommendation will be taken up next week by the city's Traffic Safety Commission (TSC).

Woosley and Douthat agree that there's not enough traffic using Eighth Street to justify stop signs on Kasold.

``I ... do not see a problem with just waiting for a break in traffic to enter onto Kasold either direction,'' Douthat said in a letter to city officials.

The change, if ultimately approved by the Lawrence City Commission, would repeal traffic controls in place since 1981, when 7-year-old Benjamin Bjorge was struck by a car and killed as he crossed that intersection.

After conducting traffic counts for the intersection in January, Woosley determined that only 2,032 vehicles a day used Eighth Street to connect with Kasold, compared with the 13,500 that used Kasold at Eighth.

When the numbers are plugged into formulas found in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices -- the foundation for a traffic engineer's decisions -- Woosley's recommendation becomes clear.

``Inasmuch as this intersection does not meet any of the requirements for a `multiway stop' installation, it is recommended the stop signs on Kasold Drive be removed,'' Woosley said in his report to the TSC.

TSC members are scheduled to consider the recommendation during their 7:30 p.m. Monday meeting at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

Less than three years ago, TSC members reviewed a similar request from Jeff Hatfield, 2713 Princeton, who wanted the signs removed. Staffers agreed that the signs should go.

But TSC members didn't see it that way and recommended that Hatfield's request be rejected. City commissioners soon agreed, on a 3-2 vote, and the signs remained in place.

A similar request suffered the same fate in 1992.

It's no wonder that such requests continue to surface and then get rejected, said Marci Francisco, who was mayor when the signs were installed back in 1981.

``It's a political decision,'' she said.

When her commission agreed to put in the signs, Francisco said, a lot of the talk focused on pedestrian needs.

People need safe places to cross the street, and expecting walkers to cross Kasold only at Sixth or 15th streets -- where traffic signals are in place -- remains unrealistic, Francisco said.

``I believe it makes sense to err on the side of being accommodating to the individual that is making the greatest effort,'' she said. ``Somebody that is already in a car can stop a lot easier than someone who needs to walk out of their way three blocks.

``We responded to a vehicle-pedestrian situation, not a vehicle-vehicle situation.''

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is fagan@ljworld.com.

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