Archive for Sunday, October 7, 2001

Commuter Connection eases burden of daily drive

October 7, 2001


Thousands of Douglas County residents each day join a mass exodus of motorists heading to jobs in Kansas City, Topeka and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, people from surrounding communities drive into Lawrence to attend classes at Kansas University or to work at Lawrence businesses.

A poll commissioned by the Lawrence Journal-World showed that 10.2
percent of Lawrence workers commute to Kansas City. Another 6.1
percent work in Topeka, and an additional 7.1 percent work in
Douglas County but outside Lawrence.

A poll commissioned by the Lawrence Journal-World showed that 10.2 percent of Lawrence workers commute to Kansas City. Another 6.1 percent work in Topeka, and an additional 7.1 percent work in Douglas County but outside Lawrence.

Their destinations and professions are as varied as the vehicles they drive. But they share at least one thing in common they're all commuters.

They navigate northeast Kansas highways through nasty weather, construction projects and traffic jams.

To alert commuters to potential traffic tie-ups, lead them to resources that might aid their daily drives and tell the stories of the very mobile lives they lead, the Journal-World introduces Commuter Connection.

Published weekly, the package will provide a map of construction projects and major events that might slow or impede commuters' normal routes. It also will include answers to readers' commuting-related questions.

This information often will be accompanied by a story that addresses commuter issues, such as what a typical day in the life of a commuter is like, important considerations when buying a commuter vehicle, or major roadwork that might hinder traffic flow on a main commuter artery.

Nearly a quarter of Lawrence's residents work outside town, according to an April poll commissioned by the Journal-World.

Part of Lawrence's draw as a so-called "bedroom" community, where many people live but don't work, is its location at the junction of major highways that lead to the nearby Topeka and Kansas City metro areas, said David Darling, a Kansas State University economist.

"That makes Lawrence a very appealing site," he said.

A 1999 survey found that about 9 percent of the Lawrence work force about 5,000 people commuted to jobs in Kansas City in 1998. Another 4 percent about 2,200 people headed the other direction for jobs in Topeka.

As Lawrence has grown, those numbers have more than doubled in some cases, according to the Journal-World's April survey.

It showed that 10.2 percent of Lawrence workers now almost 10,000 people commute to Kansas City. Another 6.1 percent about 6,100 people work in Topeka. An additional 7,100 people 7.1 percent work in Douglas County but outside Lawrence.

The average commute time on a typical day, according to the study, is 23.15 minutes.

And most of those commuters 88.2 percent drive alone.

Another 7.9 percent about 7,900 people carpool, 0.6 percent about 600 people use public transportation, and 3.3 percent about 3,300 people ride a bicycle.

Survey results are based on a simple random sample of Douglas County residents. The telephone survey was conducted from April 9 to April 30 by the Survey Research Center at Kansas University and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

The following city construction projects may affect traffic this week in Lawrence:1. New Hampshire Street, 900 block, closed for Downtown 2000 construction project.2. Riverridge Road, North Iowa to Michigan, closed for street rebuild and upgrade.3. Crossgate Drive, Clinton Parkway to 24th Place, closed for street rebuild and upgrade.4. Clinton Parkway at Hartford Avenue, intermittent lane closing and turning restrictions for turn lane addition and lengthening.5. Indiana Street, Ninth to 12th streets, no parking on west side for waterline installation.The following events and construction projects may affect commuter traffic this week in the region:1. Kansas University football against Oklahoma, 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.2. U.S. Highwya 59, just south of Lawrence in Douglas County, north and southbound traffic reduced to one lane for bridge repair and overlay.3. Kansas Highway 7, near Lone Elm Road in Olathe, road closed for bridge replacement and roadway reconstruction. Detour posted.4. Westbound Kansas Highway 32 at Kaw Drive, restricted to one lane for bridge deck repair.5. Interstate 70, Exit 357B, Danbury Lane, closed until Nov. 15.6. I-70, ramp connecting West I-70 to North U.S. 75 closed for ramp reconstruction and bridge construction. Westbound detours posted.7. U.S. Highway 24, about 1 mile east of junction with U.S. Highway 75, westbound lanes closed for bridge rehabilitation. Eastbound traffic narrowed to one lane as westbound traffic rerouted to eastbound passing lane. Speed reduced to 45 mph in both directions.8. Route D, (Cookingham Road, KCI entrance) between Interstate 29 and Interstate 435, temporary lane closures for miscellaneous construction.For more information regarding roadwork on Kansas highways, call the Kansas Road Condition Hotline at 800.585.ROAD or visit more about Missouri road projects by calling 888.275.6636 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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