Archive for Wednesday, June 15, 2005

City to start constructing roundabout at Clinton Parkway

Lake visitors fear traffic-calmer will create hassle

June 15, 2005


To Donna Johnson's way of thinking, roundabouts are hard enough to navigate in a normal-size car, let alone in a truck pulling a fifth-wheel camper trailer.

Johnson and other campers, boaters and users of Clinton Lake will soon find out whether the task is tough or not. Construction crews are scheduled to begin building the city's newest roundabout at Clinton Parkway and Lake Pointe Drive.

"That is going to be a pain in the you-know-what," said Johnson, who is a clerk at the Clinton Cove Mini-Mart and a regular camper at the lake.

Lake Pointe Drive is toward the western end of Clinton Parkway, where the lane turns from a four lane road into a two-lane road.

But before lake users and others have to learn how to deal with a roundabout, they'll first have to learn how to get by without the western most portion of Clinton Parkway. On Monday, construction crews will close Clinton Parkway from Wakarusa Drive to the South Lawrence Trafficway. The road is expected to be closed through late August while work on the roundabout is completed.

City engineers are recommending that people needing to go west on Clinton Parkway instead take Wakarusa Drive south to the trafficway. Motorists will then be able to use the trafficway to get to the western end of Clinton Parkway, which is where the main entrances to the Clinton Lake State Park, Eagle Bend Golf Course and other amenities are located. The entrance and exit ramps off of the trafficway will not be affected by the construction.

The stretch of road will remain open for westbound motorists needing to access businesses on the east end of the project - such as Sport 2 Sport and Pinnacle Woods Apartments.

Once the road does reopen to traffic, city engineers said they did not expect motorists - even those pulling boats and campers or those driving semi-trailer trucks - to have problems with the roundabout.

"None of that will be a problem," said Chuck Soules, director of public works for the city. "It has been designed with that in mind. We have lots of room out there."

But that doesn't mean that trailer-toting drivers won't have to make any adjustments.

"They're going to have to slow down, but that is one of the things we want them to do," said David Woosley, the city's traffic engineer. "You can't drive through it at 50 miles per hour."

Traffic studies have shown that a roundabout is needed for the intersection to handle traffic that is expected to be generated by future development at the intersection. Greg DiVilbiss, a partner in the Bristol Groupe, is developing a portion of the property at the intersection. He said that there are five-acres of commercial space that likely will be developed with a bank, a neighborhood shopping center, and perhaps a convenience store and restaurant. Up and down Lake Pointe Drive, DiVilbiss estimated there would be about 400 new residential dwellings, with a mix of apartments, townhomes and single-family homes. The entire $421,000 cost for the roundabout and intersection improvements are being paid for by the developers.

Several users at Clinton Lake on Tuesday said they weren't concerned about a roundabout being placed on the route to one of their favorite recreational spots.

"I think it is good if it slows down traffic and makes it safer for a neighborhood," said Lauren Brown. "I think people are getting used to them. They shouldn't be such a problem anymore."


lunacydetector 13 years ago

even if the city made the developer pay for this waste, roundabouts are worthless. nobody knows how to drive through them even now (like yielding!). of course, i forgot, it is all about 'control.'

one thing i'd like to know, who does these 'roundabout traffic studies?' what engineering firm is making out on these deals?

qeely50 13 years ago

I don't understand why people don't like roundabouts. A study of roundabouts by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety & another report by a professor at KSU supports the benefits of these designs. They slow traffic down while moving more traffic than signals or 4-way stops. Also they have significantly reduced the severity of accidents and fatalities at every location that they are installed. People will get better at driving through roundabouts. I personally hate wasting my day sitting at the poorly timed signals in Lawrence. I just hope that one day I will be able to drive through 3 green lights in a row.

dlstrohm 13 years ago

Cost of roundabout: $421,000. Cost of stop sign: $180. In any other city, I couldn't imagine something so costly, wasteful, and inconvenient for everyone. But, this is Lawrence, and we have a history of idiotic traffic control with everything from an incomplete bypass of the city to un-timed traffic lights. Why don't we take the money we're spending on roundabouts and hire someone intelligent enough to plan this city's traffic effectively?

raven 13 years ago

The cost of the roundabout should not be an issue since the developer was responsible for paying the $421,000. Really, the city did not have to pay that.

Katie Van Blaricum 13 years ago

Roundabouts are the most retarded thing to come to this city ever. If they worked that might be one thing, but people don't understand what a YIELD sign means, and I can see many, many wrecks occuring because no one knows who has the right of way. People try to butt in front of me all the time at these things, esp. the one at 19th & Barker. Whoever says roundabouts aren't dangerous obviously hasn't used them very much. Why don't we spend our money bringing the music programs back in schools??

audvisartist 13 years ago

Working on this area during the summer time? The busiest time of the year for lake traffic? Who's planning these things?

mseybold 13 years ago

Going through 19th and Barker is a lot better now that we have a roundabout. It seems people don't remember how long they had to wait when it was a 4-way stop. Now you have to yield, but that takes a lot less time than before. If development is going to happen at the west end of Clinton Pkwy, I'd rather have the option to yield at the intersection of Lake Pointe and be on my way, than to have to stop completely at a signal.

mcoan 13 years ago

Benefits of roundabouts: 1. They slow traffic down. 2. They dramatically lower accident rates compared to traffic signals. 3. They improve traffic flow compared to both 4-way stops and traffic signals. 4. They reduce pollution. 5. Over time, they are CHEAPER than traffic signals because they require less maintenance and use no power.

The above have been PROVED numerous times in states all over the US and abroad.

Disadvantages of roundabouts: 1. Drivers have to learn how to use them, meaning they have to learn one thing: Yield to traffic already in the circle. Is that such a hard lesson, with the Yield signs posted at all four corners and all? 2. Drivers have to slow down, which they don't want to do.

Among traffic engineers, the debate over roundabouts ended long, long ago. What right do you have to argue with people whose JOBS it is to study this stuff? How could you possibly know more about traffic engineering than a pro? Stand back and let the pros do their jobs. But if you do want to argue with the pros, then do the research...there are dozens of roundabout sites on the 'Net. Study up or shut up.

--Doc Roundabout

tangodown 13 years ago

This roundabout is the stupidest idea I have ever heard. Why doesn't the city get their head out of their you know what and use the money to fix the city's streets that are falling apart. Sounds like to me this city has a bunch of morons making decisions about this town that any dummy of the street could do. Maybe they've given up on trying to fix the streets because they don't know how to fill a pothole. They can't fix it right the first time like it should be. Get a clue you stupid bastards!!!!

lilcutie387 13 years ago

roundabouts are pointless...half the time you can't even see if anyone is on the otherside of the circle because they have stuff growing in the center how are you supposed to watch and yeild to traffic if you can't see them??

raven 13 years ago

Personally, I have no feelings on roundabouts one way or another. But, here is what I do feel: the CITY is NOT paying for this roundabout!!! It is being paid for by the DEVELOPER so they (the city) could not use it for the things being suggested on this board. With the expection of Consumer1 who mentioned the city may have paid for a study and who knows they may have.

mlemiller 13 years ago

If you can't see someone coming in a roundabout, then drive! That's the point. There can be more than one person in a roundabout at a time, and anyone on the other side is going slow enough that you won't be in the way. You yield to a driver who is close enough that there is not time for you to go, but two people can enter at the same time. Four people could enter at the same time if they all approached the roundabout at the same time, at least to my understanding. I think roundabouts are great and I hope more of the country will catch on.

Curtis Lange 13 years ago

Thank you mcoan and mlemiller for understanding the use of roundabouts. I, too, am a full supporter of well constructed roundabouts. After living in Europe for numerous years and seeing how well traffic flows over there, I dont understand why more places dont use these.

Oh wait, yes I do. People in the US tend is disregard traffic laws/signs. Right of way? What's that again... Yield sign? Pfft, I don't have to yield to anybody. That is the way of thinking it seems around here. Those complaining about roundabouts are most likely those same people that dont know how to properly manuever them. If that is the case, do some research like mcoan suggested. Driving through a roundabout is NOT a hard concept to grasp.

Katie Van Blaricum 13 years ago

I would love it if drivers could pay attention to the YIELD sign. But the fact is, they don't. So that's why I hate them. I don't hate them because I am stupid or unintelligent. Plus, firetrucks and ambulances can't get through them. I have heard that the fire department has to take alternate routes because of these things, and obviously, alternate routes mean longer routes. If it takes the firetruck an extra 2 minutes to get to my house when it's on fire, I'll hate these roundabouts even more. They are like a circus. Roundabouts at the lake are the stupidest ever, since there are a huge number of large vehicles/boats that have to get through them. That will be a fiasco.

usetolivehere 13 years ago

I would just like to say that I really hate these new roundabouts. The people responsible for them being installed here are obviously way too ignorant to be in such a position. Forcing them down the throats of the general population, residents, and the taxpayers of this town is not a very intelligent thing to do. I am glad on that account alone to have moved away from this town, although I still have a job here and in the future I will go out of my way to avoid the silly things. I guess common sense just isn't very common any more, is it ?

Curtis Lange 13 years ago

Common sense is being able to understand what the word 'yield' on a yield sign means. It has nothing to do with the roundabout itself.

A majority of European roundabouts are one laners, just like the ones in Lawrence. Another reason I said I'm a full supporter of well constructed roundabouts.

Firetrucks and large vehicles should have no problem whatsoever getting around well constructed ones. I will agree that there are a few places here in Lawrence where we should just have four way stops. The neighborhoods that have those stupid flower boxes in the middle of the street are some of these places. However, look at the roundabout over by Free State High School. That is an example of a well constructed roundabout.

raven 13 years ago

Another well constructed one is on campus.

opinionated 13 years ago

Lawrence does not need any more round a bouts than we already have. The city has kindly provided us with free traffic calming devices. They are called POTHOLES!

Why don;t they take the money they are spending on round a bouts and fix the craters in the road. Or heres an idea give it to the schools who are in a budget crisis so our taxes don't go up more than they already are and our kids will get a good education.

Maybe when we provide our kids with an education they will grow up and take the morons job that thaught round a bouts were a good idea in a college town. Or atleast propose to put them a little better located. Who is the moron that came up with the idea to put one at 19th and Louisiana?

qeely50 13 years ago

In response to consumer1 and his statement that "In Lawrence we tend to take a four way stop, cut some corners off put a round barrier in the middle." Those are not roundabouts, those are traffic circles and I don't know any one who likes them. Please don't confuse the two terms, they are very different designs. Traffic circles = bad idea. They are just a four way stop with junk in the middle of the intersection. Modern roundabouts are designed to allow all vehicles (including emergency vehicles) to drive through them.

tempter1972 13 years ago

Roundabouts can be a good idea in neighborhoods where the traffic is light to moderate. This intersection is going to become the next 6th & wakarusa. it will be a 2 lane street intersecting with a four lane trafficway. The biggest problem with people "learning" to use a roundabout is that every year lawrence experiences an influx of new residents who have their own very special ways of driving. most are not good. these people can barely read, let alone comprehend a sophisticated street sign explaining a merge pattern.

mcoan 13 years ago

Get used to them! Lawrence is just one of several cities in Kansas alone adding more and more roundabouts...Overland Park, Topeka, and Manhattan each have several. The reason is because numerous studies by PROFESSIONAL traffic engineers, show they WORK...they are cheaper and save lives compared to traffic signals, and provide better traffic flow than four-way stops. The reduce pollution, too. What's not to like?

If you spend 30 min. researching roundabouts on the Internet, you too will become a fan. (But I don't expect any of you will actually do's easier to just complain.)

TruthSeeker 13 years ago

I suggest looking at the concepts from "New Urbanization" if you want other natural speed controls and beautification of the community.

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