Archive for Saturday, January 28, 2006

Beacons to bolster K-10 safety

City official hopes alert system will ‘wake people up’

January 28, 2006


A dangerous section of Kansas Highway 10 near the East Hills Business Park is set to get a new set of "eyes" constantly on the lookout for potential accidents.

The Kansas Department of Transportation plans to use the section of road east of Lawrence to test a new flashing beacon system that will warn motorists when a vehicle is entering or leaving the East Hills Business Park.

The beacons will be connected to cameras that monitor traffic entering and leaving the business park's main entrance onto K-10. The beacons - which will be on signs about 750 feet on either side of the entrance - will only flash when a vehicle is leaving or entering.

"We'll see how it works," said Chuck Soules, the city's director of public works. "We definitely need something to wake people up. We need something to grab their attention and make them realize that they are getting into some congestion."

The entrance has been the site of several accidents over the years when slow-moving traffic entering or leaving the business park collides with high-speed traffic.

A definite schedule hasn't been set for the project, but it could happen this summer, Soules said. The project would cost $20,000 to $30,000, and is expected to be paid for entirely with state funds.

Reaction to the idea was mixed from people who frequently use the entrance. Kirsten Krug, human resources manager at Amarr Garage Doors in the business park, said she thought the devices had a chance to help.

"It could really heighten the awareness," Krug said. "It could be the only thing we have to do, or it could just be the first thing we do. But it definitely seems like it is a step in the right direction."

Steve Glass, president of nearby LRM Industries, said he was appreciative of the project but wasn't sure how much it would improve the situation.

"I think it will have some potential benefit," Glass said. "My concerns are people tend to ignore a lot of these warning signals."

Soules also has mixed emotions about the project. That's because the city had hoped to be awarded state grant money to construct a new entrance for the park at Franklin Road, which is about a half-mile west of the current entrance. But Soules said the city recently was notified its $1.8 million grant application was not selected.

Soules said he had been hopeful the city project would be funded because the state committee had asked the city if it would be willing to accept only partial funding of the project.

"I told them that if they gave us anything it would be more than we have now, and that we would make something good happen with it," Soules said. "I had the impression we were looking good."

The grant project was highly competitive. The state received requests for $22 million worth of projects in northeast Kansas but only had $2 million to award.


Jay_Z 12 years, 3 months ago

I agree with offtotheright...they need to notify those idiots coming out of the business park about oncoming traffic on K-10. People come flying out of there as though they are merging onto some quiet side street. I always see people come out of there trying to merge into traffic when both lanes are bumper to bumper at 70 mph--just idiotic and a death wish.

ashultz 12 years, 3 months ago

This is really stupid. What a waste of money. I still haven't figured out why they don't put a light there or an overpass. Not only is there too much business traffic in that area but with the new residential zoning, traffic will triple (or more) within the next few years between O'Connell and the business park.

classclown 12 years, 3 months ago

We should spend the $30,000 paying some out of town consultants to do a study. Then install a traffic calming circle.

Seriously... What is it about Kansans that make people want to pull out onto a highway in front of someone coming down the road? I can't even count the number of times that I've had someone pull out in front of me when there was no one in my rear view mirror. Seriously. Five more seconds and they can pull out onto an empty road. Is this considered a sport around here?

On the flip side of this are those that seem to only want to pull out onto an empty road. The ones that sit through good available gaps until they can see absolutely nobody on the road they wish to turn on as far as the eye can see.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 3 months ago

How about flashing beacons for all four directions and reducing speed limits to 45 mph on K10. 70mph coming from the east or west in this area is not too smart. The City Traffic Safety Commission has requested such on and off over the years with no sympathy from the state. The city/county would have done something at least 5 years ago but KDOT would do nothing.

Most of the wrecks in that area that I have passed involved more than two cars.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 3 months ago

I agree with offtotheright (shock!)....the drivers leaving the business merge TOO slowly, or they just throw themselves in the middle of the pile without looking or yielding. I think a 10 foot long yield/stop sign would be cheaper and more effective.

happyone 12 years, 3 months ago

Being some one that works out there I will say this.... 1) If people on K10 would get over into the left lane so people coming out of the complex have room to merge 2) the speed limit was reduced to 45 beginning at the first exit (old K10) 3) longer lanes to get up to speed or a by pass to help you get up to speed 4) a light or beacon to remind drivers on K10 that people are exiting 5) A cop giving idiots going over the speed limit tickets most people on K10 at both exits for the business part RUN YOU OVER EVEN IF YOU FLOOR IT TO GET UP TO SPEED

All of these things would be an improvement, perhaps the best solution of all would be putting in an access road from the complex into town so that they never have to enter or exit K10

Just some thoughts

moveforward 12 years, 3 months ago

T-intersections on hiways are rediculous. Almost as bad is the traffic light on the K-10 bypass. These are simply cheaper intersections to build than on ramps - and they cost lives.

Happyone - if you are pulling into traffic, you have to take responsibility. Moving traffic does NOT have an obligation to slow or move over (though I agree it would be nice of them if they did). No amount of time waiting at that corner is worth the risk. Besides... how many ways out of the park are there? Certainly more than the one.

jayhawks71 12 years, 3 months ago

The genius of people who respond "well if people would just slow down/pay attention this wouldn't happen!" People DON'T slow down, people DON'T pay attention; these are basic aspects of driving, controlling your speed/direction of your vehicle and pay attention in order to redirect your speed/direction of your vehicle.

Saying that people should slow down/ pay attention, is a non-answer. Its a given and it isn't done.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 3 months ago

I work in that park. The cops park whre you come out of LRM on the south side of the road all the time. They rock comes up on either side and they can hide pretty well. If the city isn't smart enought to see that we need to reduce the speeed limit back at Noria road so it slows down by the park's main entrance we are in big trouble. Ooh, I forgot who I was talking about. Those schmucks brought us roundabouts after all. I agree with the poster above about the new residential area bringing more traffic to the area. I turn down O'Connell road and have to use the shoulder as a breakdown lane becuase the speed demonds behind me won't slow down. Apparrently they can't see the turn signal I activate in plenty of time before I made my turn.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 3 months ago

Jayhawk, I have learned that defensive drivin is not well know in these parts. The it's-not-my-responsibility-to-slow-down type of comments are evidenece of this.

Confrontation 12 years, 3 months ago

jayhawks71-That's absolutely true. I have a relative who works out there, and I've used that entrance many times. Even if there's no one on the hill when you pull onto K-10, a lot of speeding drivers come flying over that hill and are right on your rear before you know it. I always get over into the left lane when I come over that hill, since I know what's coming up. All those out-of-towners won't have a clue unless there's some warning. I'd love to see a greatly reduced speed there. It wouldn't greatly increase the drive time from there to Harper.

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 3 months ago

It's a shame that we have to spend $30k on driving aides, when all that's needed are some good driving tactics.

How about a simple two part solution? The drivers on westbound K10 could slow down to the posted speed limit, and merge left (if safe to do so) when traffic is seen trying to enter from the right. The business park traffic could use the merge lane more and get up to 50mph before merging, or they could use alternate routes out of east hills. 15th Street is much less crowded than 23rd Street, and the Noria intersection to K10 has a longer merge lane and the sight distance to the east is better.

dviper 12 years, 3 months ago

Prediction: More people will continue to die or be seriously injured some permanently for the rest of their life, until the speed limit is lowered and actively monitored by visible law enforcement.

Ultimately, this stretch of road needs to be treated as a city street instead of a high speed highway. High speed highways near large cities should not have direct access onto it from a city / county street. It is clear to me that most everyone interviewed about this flashing beacon system believes it will not solve the problem.

I believe there is plenty of blame for all drivers on K10 and those merging onto K10, I've seen both frequently. However, most important is the local, county and state governments' responsibility for the safety of its citizens as one of its highest priorities. These government bureaucrats are not upholding their duty, and are instead fighting about money and what some rule / guideline / procedure book tells them. This stretch of road is not safe primarily because of its speed, topography and direct access by city / county roads.

This beacon system is a complete waste of taxpayer money! Irresponsible drivers will ignore it just as they do the speed limit and on-coming traffic, and new drivers to the area will continue to be surprised by the merging of traffic onto a high speed highway due to the topography of the area.

blessed3x 12 years, 3 months ago

Now I'm just depressed. When I read the word "cameras" in the article I was certain that just_another_bozo_on_the_bus would post freaking out that the government was intruding on his privacy.

You make me sad bozo. I hope you just slept late and haven't had a chance to get online yet.

jayhawks71 12 years, 3 months ago

my point was that complaining that people don't drive intelligently is stating the obvious and it is completely pointless to say "people SHOULD move over, people SHOULD slow down, people SHOULD whatever..." People don't; something else needs to be done.

black_watch 12 years, 3 months ago

It was suggested to use alternate routes out of the business park. Have you seen the county road back there? it's not safe for even the amount of traffic that it gets currently, let alone if more folks started using it. It's narrow, uneven, unpainted, and covered in potholes. The small bridge near the train tracks is also just an accident waiting to happen - it's barely wide enough for two vehicles, or one monster gas-sucking ford f350 going 70mph.

schweppy 12 years, 3 months ago

The police do actively patrol that area. Just recently I recieved a ticket for speeding around the business park and the officer explained to me that they would continue to be out there in an effort to reduce peoples speed along with the Troopers and Deputies. The fact is that traffic turning onto the highway has a harder time judging your speed if you're not doing the posted 65 as they expect you to be doing. I agree that there probably needs to be a change to 45mph or even 55. However, after recieving my ticket I know that until I get passed the park, I won't be going up to 70mph so the police are helping.

sar110495 12 years, 3 months ago

Why do need to spend money to put up beacons to warn the drivers that have the right of way. If the people turning in and out of the park would pay attention and not pull put if front of people none of these accidents would happen. I drive K-10 to work every day and I can not count the times people who either can not drive or a just stupid pull out in front of me. There is plenty of room and time to see vehicles and wait for an opening.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 3 months ago

Lower the speed limit. Then get the donut-munching cops to enforce it. Many drivers ignore the speed limit that is already there, I travel to work on that highway, and when I turn onto K10 to go to work in the business park, people pass me doing 70 before I even clear the intersection at Harper!. We pay for law-enforcement, where is it???

mr_sassy_pantsss 12 years, 3 months ago

a flashing beacon will really look neat to all those $8.00/hour weed-smoking employees at Pearson.

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