Archive for Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Plan cuts 23rd St. entrances

October 25, 2005


In just a two-year stint as manager of Lawrence's Hobby Lobby, Don Bushell already has seen what has made 23rd Street infamous with many city residents.

"We have lots of wrecks," said Bushell, whose store is at 1801 W. 23rd St. "I've already seen a lot. Anything the city can do to make traffic flow better out here, I'm all for it."

City commissioners tonight will hear a plan to improve 23rd Street by eliminating 17 driveways between Iowa and Louisiana streets. But commissioners will have to determine how aggressively they want to tackle the troubled stretch of road. Commissioners will be told that there are several property owners who voluntarily would agree to move their curb cuts - if the city pays for the expense. But there are others who likely would fight the idea and force city commissioners to condemn portions of their properties to complete the plan.

City Commissioner David Schauner said he wants to see how much the city can accomplish by working with property owners.

"I don't think it is worth a war, but it is worth a conversation and a little bit of a financial incentive," Schauner said. "I think we have a chance to do something meaningful out there for motorists."

A car exits a shopping strip driveway on 23rd Street near Scotch Fabric Care Services, 1526 W. 23rd St. An engineering firm that has studied 23rd Street is recommending that 17 driveways be eliminated between Iowa and Louisiana streets.

A car exits a shopping strip driveway on 23rd Street near Scotch Fabric Care Services, 1526 W. 23rd St. An engineering firm that has studied 23rd Street is recommending that 17 driveways be eliminated between Iowa and Louisiana streets.

The road has plenty of room for improvement. Terese Gorman, the city's engineer, said the stretch of 23rd Street between Alabama and Louisiana streets had the highest accident total in the city in 2003, with 23 accidents. The stretch between Naismith Drive and Ousdahl Road was second with 16.

Eliminating and relocating curb cuts should help, said Kevin Wallace, a project manager with HNTB Corp., which conducted a study of the roadway. Wallace said eliminating curb cuts would reduce the number of places where motorists may make a risky left-hand turn across traffic, and relocating curb cuts should improve visibility.

"We're just trying to make the decision points a little easier for motorists," Wallace said. "We want to give them a little less to think about."

Businesses that lose a driveway entrance would often be asked to share a newly built drive with an adjacent business. The two businesses would sign legal documents allowing each other's customers to go through their parking lots.

Reader poll
Do you think the city should begin eliminating 17 business entrances on 23rd Street between Louisiana and Iowa Streets to improve traffic safety?

or See the results without voting


Scott Shmalberg, president of Scotch Fabric Care, isn't convinced. His dry-cleaning business at 1526 W. 23rd St. would lose one curb cut as part of the plan.

"Simply closing curb cuts is not the answer," Shmalberg said. "I think if you close the curb cuts, you are just going to accelerate the speed of traffic and maybe have more accidents as a result."

Shmalberg said improving traffic on 23rd Street requires community leaders to think much bigger.

"The ultimate alternative is to come up with some sort of bypass," Shmalberg said. "There are a lot of people on 23rd Street who are just trying to get through town."

The entire project would cost $770,000 to complete - assuming the city wouldn't have to condemn and purchase property. The city has $675,000 available for the project through a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Gorman said construction work wouldn't begin until 2007. But she said city staff members would begin negotiations with interested property owners immediately, if commissioners agree to move ahead.

Commissioners will meet at 6:35 p.m. tonight at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.


Jillster 12 years, 4 months ago

Right now, Taco Bell shares a curb cut with Russell Stover's. There is a lot of traffic in and out of that one entrance, and I've had to really do some creative driving to avoid a fender-bender trying to get in to and out of either store. I think if you have more businesses sharing curb cuts, you'll just move the accidents out from the street and into the curb cuts and parking lots.

Sandman 12 years, 4 months ago

"Smart Growth" = no new roads. That means no SLT.

Getting all this traffic through town is like trying to stuff a camel through the eye of a needle. Don't expect help from the progressives, though.

doc1 12 years, 4 months ago

I dont see how this would help much. The number of cars will stay the same and then there will just be an even bigger backup to get out an exit. The town has overgrown the 23rd street capacity. Unfortunately the SLT would help but the is Lawrence.

sharron5rs 12 years, 4 months ago

I agree with doc1. Its already diffucult to get onto 23rd st and if your trying during the "busy" time, its almost impossible. Especially when you get behind someone who has to have NO traffic coming from EITHER way. Yes even on a 4,or 5 lane road if you count the turning lane. Hey,.... how about a roundabout? Wouldnt that help?

cowboy 12 years, 4 months ago

Thats the lawrence small minded approach , control , control , control.

Kind of like tying up a dog all the time , eventually it will start biting !

neopolss 12 years, 4 months ago

How about a North Lawrence trafficway? The SLT is doomed. Unless you plan on ripping off the indian nations (again) and somehow get the land away from Baker.

coach 12 years, 4 months ago

Live closer? I like living here, but since Lawrence can't support the job to resident ratio many people work out of town. I'm not going to move closer because of my kids and the school system here. Unfortunatley I'll have to sit by and watch as the libs continue to find a way not to finish the SLT.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Traffic studies have shown repeatedly that the SLT would have little or no effect on 23rd.

But if you want something bad enough, repeating the same lies over and over again worked for BushCo, so why can't it work for you?

If you really don't like traffic, the only solution is to move to a small town, and never leave.

coach 12 years, 4 months ago

I agree with blue 73. I live in West Lawrence and Work in Overland Park. I and many of my neighbors work in Johnson County and use K-10. However there is no traffic route around the city, therefore every morning and every evening we get stuck driving from red light to red light down 23rd street. If there was an SLT I'd definatley bypass 23rd. And several of my neigbors also. So I also don't beleive those traffic studies. The numbskulls doing the study doubtedly take in all scenerios and information because there are alot of people who could benefit from an SLT.

Also I dont think the curb cutting plan will work. What happens when you bottleneck more traffic in a parking lot? You get hostile people trying to enter the roadway becuase they had to wait even longer because lack of roadway access

Todd 12 years, 4 months ago

The best way to limit traffic is traffic. Once the supply is reduced then the price becomes too high for some hence reducing demand. Building roads is the opposite... increasing supply just increases demand. It's counter intuitive but true all the same.

If you can't stand living around other people there are plenty of rural communities left to live in.

irnmadn88 12 years, 4 months ago

Get rid of the fast food chains...It is more often than not I get cut off by some idiot in a hurry to get in or out of a drive thru.

monkeywrench1969 12 years, 4 months ago


People shut you out everytime you move to the BushCo type "it is all lies" garbage.

I have to agree on the new Entrance to Taco Bell sucks. I tried pulling into the lot and it was so close to the 23rd and Naismith intersection I almost got dinged by people trying to get into Burger King and then avoiding the right turn traffic from Nasmith that can also be deceiving.

Right turns only is a great idea and cheap. I never have a problem turning right.

On a side note...guess who made up my seven layer burrito artery clogger at Taco Bell...


Our little anti capitalist... keep the man down look at me all the time in the newspaper... a job so get off her back.

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 4 months ago

Bring back the Eastern Bypass and a new bridge over the kaw connecting to K10! In the morning, folks west of Iowa could jump on the turnpike, blast off to some point between east Lawrence and Eudora, then transit over to K10. Reverse this plan for those returning to Lawrence from OP in the evening.

There's also a bunch of people who live in OP that commute to Topeka each day, and they need a better way to get to and from the Lecompton turnpike interchange from K10.

A new bridge over the river east of Lawrence would solve all sorts of traffic problems for commuters.

Let the turnpike and all citizens of Douglas and Leavenworth county pay for the bridge and connecting roads; don't dump all the burden on the Lawrence taxpayers.

donsalsbury 12 years, 4 months ago

I've got a solution to 23rd St's woes:


righthand 12 years, 4 months ago

What Lawrence really wants is for people NOT to drive - period. Never any mention of doing what all cities eventually have to do - build more or widen already existing roads. No. We strive to calm the traffic, or slow it down. Yes, if you get rid of some driveways that will convince people they really don't want to go somewhere. Maybe we could sooth the traffic, or pacify it. WWJD - get someone to raise their arms and ask the traffic, politely, to be still or better yet, go away entirely. It's time to look at China - more bikes intown, that's it!

monkeywrench1969 12 years, 4 months ago

The SLT would make a huge difference on both 23rd and 6th streets. People are going both directions to commute. One of our friends from KC commuted everyday to Topeka until she was fired. IT would get hte K10 KC traffic re-routed.

admills 12 years, 4 months ago

I'm not speaking against the SLT, but I do want to offer another train of thought. Once the SLT is done (and it will be, some day) 23rd street businesses will see a marked decline in.... business. That would be because all the cars that, "are simply trying to get through town," will simply drive around. So, Schmalberg, of Scotch Fabric Care... think about that. Historically speaking, what happens to the parts of town that are bypassed by highways? Anyone reading ever stop in an inner city to get dry cleaning, groceries, etc. when they can just drive around? Didn't think so.

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 4 months ago

blue73harley: My idea is a less than perfect solution, and without the SLT, it's a non-starter. We need something on the order of a "ring road" that circles the city, that way people can bypass whatever parts they don't need to drive thru. An example of a ring road would be I-435: you can make a complete circle around the KC metro area by staying on one road. I'm thinking the SLT will be completed within 15 years and an eastern bypass with a new bridge over the kaw would be an excellent compliment to it.

Confrontation 12 years, 4 months ago

Get people off their phones. There are always idiots trying to make a left turn, through heavy traffic, while deep in conversation.

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 4 months ago

I must say that prohibiting left turns off of 23rd St east from Louisanna to Leonard has really helped out the flow of traffic in the evenings. I hope that becomes permanent.

Curtis Martell 12 years, 4 months ago

They should just close the road and make it a bike path/sidewalk. Problem solved. Tear down McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell and make them parking lots. People need to walk more.

mseybold 12 years, 4 months ago

The new entrances are designed to be wide enough to avoid parking lot bottlenecks. Check the PDF on the website.

Go to section D - 3. There is a Memo and a map of the plan. Read before you complain.

mseybold 12 years, 4 months ago

PS The map take a few minutes to load on broadband connection.

Sandman 12 years, 4 months ago

I think some of the liberals in this town have been against the SLT so long they forgot why they're against it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Well, monkeywrench, presidents are supposed to provide leadership, but, unfortunately, the leadership example we get from this one is that lies, propaganda, and fuzzy, fact-free thinking are OK, as long as they are repeated ad nauseum. People have picked up on that strategy in the SLT/23rd st. debate.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that most of those who would use the eastern section of the SLT are already "bypassing" 23rd by going down Haskell and across on 31st, or using county roads further south, or even using the turnpike. The bulk of the traffic on 23rd is going to areas that would be not be made more easily or quickly accessible by the SLT, and traffic studies have consistently born this out.

monkeywrench1969 12 years, 4 months ago

Admills People cutting through Lawrence to get to KC or Topeka do not take time to stop at a business on 23rd during the commute.

Speaking from experience of going from Kasold to Corporate Woods for many years, all you are trying to do is jockey for the best position to make the next green light becasue if you don't you end up sitting through several cycles adding ten to twenty minutes. Not to mention other issues related to accidents etc.

Also if you are trying to get home and feed the family, why would you get something in Lawrence if you still have 30 minutes to get home. The food would be cold and/or Topeka and KC have many of the same businesses. The business comes from people who are residents or visiting for games, functions or KU events. I even know a couple of people who used to live here, and still go to church here since they moved to Olathe (better cheaper housing.)

I agree the no left turns were a great addition.

wlpywd 12 years, 4 months ago

Lets build a long post bridge that runs OVER 23rd st. from that chemical plant to k-10 by the lake with down ramp exits only on iowa, wakarusa, and the concluding exit at k-10. It would be awesome! like they have in bigger cities, 2-3-4 layered bridges, train paths, etc. Then no need for the SLT or anymore land space.

Speaking of my cynical vertical-answer, if lawrence really is so much growth without enough real land-space, why are no property owners anywhere building up anything? are 2 3 or 4 storied commercial spaces so bad for this 'small town' still?

monkeywrench1969 12 years, 4 months ago


No not a rocket scientist, but common sense and experience. My wife currently commutes and notes lots of Shawnee, Franklin and other county tags cruising through town. When I commuted I noted this as well. I have experienced the traffic daily.

I currently come home on the "31st street bypass" you suggest and it is more congested than 23rd because of the four way stop at 31st and Louisiana. Here is a story problem for you to consider:

Bobby takes 23rd street from K10 to Haskell to 31 st Street to Iowa street to get to the West section of the South Lawrence traffic way. Bobby hits five street light intersections (23/Harper; 23/Haskell; 31/Ousdal;31/Iowa; 33/Iowa) and two four way stop signs (31/Haskell; 31/ Louisiana)...Bobby's speed changes from 45 mph to 35 mph to a complete stop an undetermined number of times.

Timmy takes the eastern section of the "new SLT" from K10 to the connection at 34 and Iowa at 65 miles per hour.

Which one gets to the Lecompton/I70 Interchange first

COMMON SENSE not rocket science.


Leadership is based on making a plan and sticking with it even in rough situations. This President has stuck with the plan and is not going to change everytime a Cindy Sheehan chains herself to the fence at 1600. I watched the speech everyone has pointed at for the "lies" about wmds. He reported Saddam is an evil guy, kills his own people (all thing Amnesty International had been complaining to UN and other Nations for people to do someting about). Bush never said he currently had WMDs but had information he had attempted to obtain them which has been clearly debated as an intel screw up.

Here is the stupid thing Amnesty was in Iraq trying to make sure Saddam's rights were not violated

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 12 years, 4 months ago

Turn 23rd Street into a giant roundabout. Thank you, Lynn

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

The congestion east of Haskell, while sometimes irriitating, is not what most people are complaining about. And the vast majority of those heading west on 23rd are still going someplace that the SLT won't help.

The SLT could be built south of the river (as it was originally proposed,) but that wouldn't serve the purpose of spiting those uppity Injuns and tree-huggers. But whatever the route (unless we do the "stacked" route proposed above) will have no effect on 23rd. Too bad so many of you will need to spend $200-300 million to find that out.

Bush is either a liar, or incredibly stupid, and no one truly paying attention could possibly believe a word he says.

monkeywrench1969 12 years, 4 months ago


Not everything it done to jack with people. The SLT wis to help. You need to get more information from legit sources rather than Indy media and there "1st person" reporting (I was there and saw it and and they were trying to keep the man down)

Sometimes the majority wins...have a nice day.

Say hi to Al Franken for me...Although very intelligent he needs to get new material. "Beating up" a critic of his new book pretty weak for one of the best of the original SNL writers.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

Commuters seeking relief going east or coming west :

As you are returning from the KC/JOCO area watch for the 1057 interchange(1900rd/1057)

Go south to 458(1000rd)Turn right/west to 59 Hwy

Turn right on 59Hwy/Iowa to the bridge to nowhere(10-12 minutes) to 31st and Iowa(12-15 minutes) at 55 mph

Far more relaxing,quicker and scenic. 1057 interchange is also bridge number 1057.

admills 12 years, 4 months ago

Here's an idea... one could live closer to work. Remember, we all made an active choice to live where we do. Learn to love the long commute and paying for gas.... or move.

jaimeandi 12 years, 4 months ago

IF we were to put in the SLT, it might not take out the majority of traffic on 23rd st, but a 10-20% drop in traffic would clear out most of our problems. Making it a right turn only area during rush hour traffic would also cut down on the accidents. But if we curb cut people will just get into accidents in the parking lots instead of the street. That will cause more congestion because people will then have to figure a way out of the parking lots without confronting the accident. 23rd street is not hopeless. The Lawrence City Council members, now they are a different story.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 4 months ago

Put it south of the river, and the SLT would be finished.

StirrrThePot 12 years, 3 months ago

I'm with ya, coach. My spouse and I keep contemplating the move to JoCo as well. Fact is, there's too much to change, and we love Lawrence. So we deal with it....for now.

akuna 12 years, 3 months ago

I took a look at the map that was on the city commissions agenda and have to say, "I am impressed." There are a lot of pretty crappy, unplanned curb cuts that aren't aligned. I think this plan could really do a lot of help for the traffic flow. The SLT isn't going to be built anytime soon. (If it is build, I hope they go south of Baker wetlands, but that is another issue for another day.) This could and most likely will have some dramatic effect on the traffic situation and at a fraction of the price of the SLT.

I have one idea, which is only theoretical because implementation might be a bit tough - I don't really know, I am not a traffic engineer. My idea is more "half left turns". An analogous place for this idea is the left turn out of the Hastings parking lot onto 23rd by Iowa. Drivers can turn left passed one set of lanes when it is safe to do so and then merge into the flow of traffic going the direction they want when it is safe to do so. This allows a driver to break a left turn up into steps, which will help get them going. There is a center lane already and now it can't be used during rush hour, so why not use it for a half left turn resting spot. Heck, we just need some education for this to happen. :)

Happy driving all. I am glad I live close to work and get to ride my bike instead of drive. :)

blessed3x 12 years, 3 months ago

Here's an idea. GET OUT OF LAWRENCE!! This and so many other debates will always fall on the wrong side of common sense. Leave Lawrence to the freaks and hippies. Maybe do what we did and pick a nice, small rural town where your children can grow up being able to ride their bikes to the park and camp out in the backyard.

Leaving Lawrence was like someone turning on the exhaust fan after a healthy bowel movement. Ahhhhhh! Now that's better!

Now please feel free to unjustly call me a bigoted redneck as it only proves your ignorance and intolerance.

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