To the editor:
Commissioner Bob Johnson has brought up a Taul/Neider plan. That plan is to let Douglas County taxpayers foot the bill for a "super four"-lane 31st street, otherwise known as a defacto SLT, from 1750 Road (Noria) through the Prairie Park neighborhood to Iowa. Commissioners Taul and Nieder were under the impression that removing federal funds from the SLT project would exempt the plan from environmental regulations. Someone still is trying to circumvent the law regarding the wetlands.
Time and money spent looking for loopholes is a waste of tax dollars, a Rees and company specialty. I suggest that all new expensive plans be put before the voters/taxpayers. IF we have extra tax dollars lying around let's assist the Douglas County school districts.
Other thoughts: Finish off the bridge to nowhere with ramps on the other side, remove the traffic lights and let that traffic keep moving. Take a look at the KDOT/KTA Major Corridor Study dated May 1999 and introduce the I-70 connectors which would provide access to south, west, north, east and downtown Lawrence as well as Ottawa, Topeka, Tonganoxie, K-10, Johnson County and KC. This idea keeps peak traffic OFF 23rd. The I-70 connectors go directly to I-70 off K-10 and would be located between Eudora and Desoto according to the study. The expense could be subsidized through tolls.
Forget about 23rd. It's too expensive and may always be a mess as a result of KU traffic. As commercial spots become vacant, purchase the property, close off the curb cuts and create green space.
Also IMPROVE Noria Road to 1100 Road, which also should be improved, to U.S. Highway 59. The Ottawa folks would have another route to and from K-10. Where 1100 Road and U.S. Highway 59 come together is approximately 1- 2 minutes south of the bridge to nowhere.
My suggestion on 31st between Iowa and Louisana is to wait and allow any new retail development to pay at least 50 percent of the total cost as many communities do. Construction equipment will likely damage new asphalt. We don't need to pay twice.