Congratulations to the city's traffic planners for rejecting the premise that roundabouts are the best solution for every problem intersection in Lawrence.
Going against a consultant's recommendation, Public Works Director Chuck Soules advised Lawrence city commissioners not to pursue a roundabout at the intersection of 19th and Louisiana streets. Instead he recommended less drastic and less expensive measures to deal with heavy traffic flow at the site. Commissioners agreed Tuesday night to seek input from neighbors and school district officials before moving forward on a plan for the intersection adjacent to Lawrence High School.
Soules told commissioners that a two-lane roundabout would be needed to handle traffic at the intersection. In addition to being confusing for drivers, such a roundabout would cost between $2 million and $3 million by the time the city bought the necessary property. Instead, Soules recommended a plan that would cost about $550,000 and would attack the problem intersection by extending left-turn lanes, adjusting traffic lights and adding a turnout lane on Louisiana Street to accommodate school buses.
This practical and reasonable approach bucks the previous lockstep march toward roundabouts and other expensive and complex traffic-calming devices.
It's a move that should draw applause from grateful Lawrence taxpayers - and drivers.