Archive for Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Residents protest roundabout for LHS intersection

Planners say no decisions set for 19th, Louisiana streets

May 17, 2005


No matter what the city of Lawrence might do to improve the intersection of 19th and Louisiana streets, dozens of residents made it clear Monday night that it had better not include a roundabout.

That fact was made clear during a meeting at Lawrence High School attended by about 70 people who wanted to let their views be known to city officials and representatives from B.G. Consultants Inc., a Lawrence engineering, architectural and surveying firm working with the city.

"The problem isn't just here, it's all of 19th Street," said Jan Hurst, one of those attending the meeting. "There are a lot of other intersections that are worse."

Hurst and others said it wouldn't do any good to move traffic through the intersection faster with a roundabout when there are other bottlenecks along the street during certain peak traffic periods.

Over the past several months city commissioners have talked about the possibility of installing a roundabout at the 19th and Louisiana intersection. Some of the commissioner since, however, have had second thoughts about the idea. During a show of raised hands at Monday's meeting, all but a dozen people said they opposed a roundabout.

B.G. representatives Cecil Kingsley and David Hamby said no decision had been made about constructing a roundabout. "I'm not here to sell you on a roundabout," Kingsley said.

Instead, Kingsley and Hamby said they wanted to hear from residents about the problems they were experiencing at the intersection and its effects in the immediate area. They said several options in addition to a roundabout would be considered, including expanding the intersection and building multiple turn lanes.

Some of the residents said the problems stemmed from inadequate parking space at Lawrence High School and its proximity to the intersection. It causes an overflow of cars to park in nearby neighborhoods. Other complaints stemmed from a lack of off-street parking for school buses that line up at the school.

"If the buses weren't parked in the middle of Louisiana Street some of these problems would go away," said Centennial Neighborhood resident Arly Allen. "The neighborhood feels like its under attack."

An off-street pull-over ramp for buses is an option, Hamby said.

Studies have shown that 19th and Louisiana is one of the busiest and problematic intersections in the city with about 22,000 vehicles passing through it a day. B.G. hopes to come up with a plan to improve the intersection sometime this summer. Additional hearings on the matter are planned, Hamby said.

At least some of those attending the meeting said they were pleased it took place.

"I think some people came here with perceived notions, and we've got to keep an open mind," Winnie Gallup said.

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