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Archive for Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Residents want slower traffic on Harvard

May 8, 2001

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When Mark Desetti arrived home from work April 6, he saw a group of people huddled around a boy lying in the street. The boy's bicycle was nearby.

Desetti and his neighbors along Harvard Road between Monterey Way and Wakarusa Drive had worried for years that a speeding motorist would injure a child walking or riding along the road.

Monday night, they told the Lawrence Traffic Safety Commission that it's time to slow down the traffic on their road.

"I can tell you if you had elementary-aged children living in that block, you'd be scared to death to have them play in the yard," said Mike McKenzie, who lives in the 3600 block of Harvard Road.

Commissioners kicked into high gear, tentatively scheduling a meeting between city traffic engineer David Woosley and the residents on Wednesday, May 16, at City Hall to discuss possible solutions.

They also voted to send a letter to the police department, suggesting more monitoring of the 30 mph speed limit there.

"We need to do something immediately or somebody's going to get hurt out there," Commissioner Scott Henderson said.

Possible solutions include stop signs, decreased speed limits and traffic-calming devices such as roundabouts.

"It's going to take looking at the area," Woosley said. "There are no rubber-stamp solutions."

Desetti, who lives in the 4600 block of Harvard, said police clocked one driver at 62 mph. He said 190 children live north of Harvard, and cross the road to attend Quail Run School.

"Our kids are at risk every time they cross the street, every time they play basketball," he said. "You can shrug off the accident of April 6, but we said this was going to happen. There are kids who don't stop, look and listen. Those are the kids who wash their hands and floss every night. Kids don't always do what they're supposed to."

"People don't want to hear about studies," he added. "People don't want to hear, 'Well, you're a connector street. Too bad.' We want a solution now."

Stu Nowlin, who lives in the 4600 block of Harvard, blamed many of the speeding on high school students and shoppers eager to get to the Sixth and Wakarusa area.

"We need to act soon," he said, "or the traffic patterns will be set and Harvard will be another Kasold.

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