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Archive for Thursday, March 14, 2002

report offers few recommendations for traffic-congested area, officials say

March 14, 2002

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Traffic is so bad on 23rd Street that even consultants who have studied the road for more than two years aren't sure what to do about it.

Bill Ahrens, the city's transportation planner, told the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission on Wednesday that TranSystems' report on 23rd Street  originally due later this month  contains little to remedy problems between Iowa and Louisiana streets.

"They felt they weren't able to come up with any recommendations, because development is so intense in there," Ahrens said.

Instead, he said, the report will suggest a passive approach of waiting for land along that stretch of 23rd Street to change hands, then telling the new owners they must give up direct access to the street and share access with neighboring businesses when they redevelop the properties.

The consultants also are recommending coordinating traffic signals along that section of 23rd Street.

TranSystems was paid $187,000 to do the report.

"That's not very proactive," Commissioner Myles Schacter said of the consultants' "passive" recommendation.

"That's the comment KDOT made," Ahrens said. "We've asked them (TranSystems) to go back and take a look at it."

Commission Chairman Ron Durflinger said a master plan would be advisable, to let owners know what to expect when redeveloping 23rd Street properties.

TranSystems had more definitive ideas for other stretches of 23rd Street, including construction of medians, sidewalks and interchanges at various points along the road. The stretch from Iowa to Louisiana streets, however, received the most attention from commissioners.

"This is where everybody cringes when they think of 23rd," Ahrens said.

Ahrens said a public meeting to discuss the report, originally scheduled for March 28, would be delayed to allow consultants time to make more definitive recommendations.

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