Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2006

Traffic problems arise at Wakarusa fest

June 8, 2006, 10:01 a.m. Updated June 8, 2006, 2:45 p.m.


Update: Journal-World reporter Eric Weslander has learned more about the reasons behind the traffic delay.

Gary Thomas, head of security for the festival, said the traffic is slower on the way in this year because of more stringent vehicle checks at the gate.

"We're popping a lot more trunks and checking for glass, fireworks and narcotics, people with counterfeit wristbands," he said. "We did a lot of those things last year but this year we're just stepping it up. "It's a slow go but it's steady and it's organized."

Thomas said many people were coming up to the gate unprepared, without their tickets in hand.

"Apparently a lot of people aren't reading the huge sign that says 'Approaching vehicle checkpoints, please have tickets ready,'" he said. "They're digging in their bags. It just causes major congestion and traffic."

Audio Clips
Wakarusa Traffic Snarl

Journal-World reporter Sarah Benson is at the scene of the traffic jam at the intersection of Wakarusa and Clinton Parkway. The traffic jam was caused by breakdowns among the hundreds of motoring music lovers headed to the Wakarusa Festival at Clinton Lake. Some cars had mechanical problems. Others simply ran out of gas. Here is Benson's eyewitness report.

"The cars are backed up as far as the horizon in the direction of the lake and only now has traffic begun to move at a crawl.

"A tow truck from University Towing is removing disabled cars from the front of the stalled line and taking them away. Some people were dancing between the stalled cars.


Traffic backed up on the K-10 bypass. Enlarge video

"Others took advantage of the traffic jam by runnning across the street to a liquor store, coming back with cases of beer.

"A single policeman was directing traffic at the intersection. But there was little he could do to help. He had been there two hours.

"One older woman in a Lincoln Continental did as several others did and at the suggestion of the policeman jumped her car over the median. It took her two tries.

"I talked to a man on a scooter who had been helping out by running back and forth ferrying gasoline to those who had run out of gas."

Marshall Rake, who works promotions for, said the traffic jam was still going on about 11:20 a.m. today. Rake said some people are making the best of it, having jam sessions or walking car-to-car to sell their vendor wares.

Stay tuned for later updates.

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Wakarusa Festival 2006

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For more on this story, return to this site later and see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's channel 6 and pick up a copy of tomorrow's Journal-World.


pundit 12 years ago

Maybe the drug dogs can be enlisted to direct traffic.

Sandman 12 years ago

Maybe they should spend some of their drug money on car maintenance.

girly 12 years ago

This morning around 10am, they were backed up on the by-pass clear out to 6th street. It's gonna be hot!

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

lawrence, traffic problems, nah not here.....:)

Raider 12 years ago

If the SLT were finished that would be another alternate route to help free up some of this traffic.

samsnewplace 12 years ago

blue73harley....who do you think is directing traffic? they do both fyi or didn't you know that?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

"If the SLT were finished that would be another alternate route to help free up some of this traffic."

And I have a bridge to nowhere I could sell you for a good price.

Todd Kofford 12 years ago

Duh. A 4 year old could predict this with the checkpoint.

I go that way every day to pick up my son from school and if it wasn't for my wife warning me yesterday, I would have been really late picking him up. He would have been wondering where the heck I was, not to mention the extra cash I would have to pay daycare.

I really feel sorry for the people who rely on that road each day getting stuck in this police "dragnet".

There has got to be a better way to accomplish their goals. The big drug dealers probably knew about this yesterday and diverted their route anyway.

BJ 12 years ago

I just came from the bypass, and it's horrible. Don't go to that area of town if you don't have to. Stop the search for drugs and start directing traffic, please!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

It would appear that whoever designed the state's "security" detail around this festival has the main intent to create as much havoc and bad will towards the fesitival as possible.

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

sounds like you should get out and walk might get there faster.

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

I love the pic. of the girl hanging out the window. This reminds me of last years evacuations in LA. and TX.

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

help us, help us, we are melting and missing the fun some one stop the madness.......

cutny 12 years ago

hmmm...why are there quotes in this story that are not attributed to people? Since when are police officers authorized to tell people to break the law by driving over a median? Sounds like another well-thought out plan by the KHP and local yokel crime force.

Godot 12 years ago

If they were coming off I-70, they wouldn't be heading west on Clinton Parkway, would they? Wouldn't they be coming from the north?

Looks to me like these folk got the word about the I-70 checklane and tried to avoid it by going through town.

Confrontation 12 years ago

This is totally hilarious! I wonder how many will get busted for DUI's while going less than 5mph?

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

cutny I would say they were just trying to get people not going to the fest. out of the way so as to try and clear up some of the traffic heck I would have done it. no need to sit in the mess if I knew a way around it.

mztrendy 12 years ago

I don't know momma, I bet that older lady in the nice car was attending!

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

good one confrontation I can see that one happening.

harley agreed on that one and all of poor lawrence is stuck in this mess what to do? make it bigger next year.

Confrontation 12 years ago

Sarah Moore must have heard about the police trap and smoked all her weed before getting into town.

filmguru 12 years ago

What about the people who live near the event? I live in Pinnacle Woods and can't leave my apartment because of the traffic. I'm afraid that if I leave, it'll be hours before I can get back. This traffic is a MAJOR inconvenience for those who make Lawrence their home.

bluedog 12 years ago

Just drove by on my way back to work...the traffic is really backed up. Damn hippies everywhere...imagine being stuck in a car with no air conditioning with one of them. Ugh...

I think the LJ World needs to report on activities you can do to AVOID Wakarusafest.

Mike Blur 12 years ago

filmguru, don't you have enough beer in your fridge? One must always keep enough beer on hand to outlast any "crisis" that may crop up. Four years ago, I lived in midtown KC when that winter ice storm hit. I made it through two days of blackout with a case and a half of BEER!

"Because, without beer, things do not seem to go as well..."--Brother Epp, Munjor, Kansas, 1903.

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

that might be helpful for law. drivers but what kinda news would that be? "HOW TO AVOID BIG MESS" they would have to do that everyday

doc1 12 years ago

Ok for the dumb people who can't read. The traffic problem on Clinton parkway has absolutely nothing to do with the KHP stopping people at the I-70 exit. They are trying to get into the festival and there are simply too many people doing it at once. If you want to blame somebody blame the roundabout that causes all the two lane traffic to funnel into one lane.

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

basic fact here today traffic is a mess stay home if at all possible.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

doc1-- word has undoubtedly gotten out to avoid the I-70 exit, so at least some of the traffic on Clinton Parkway is because of the checkpoint.

bluedog 12 years ago

Ahhh...staying at home...with air conditioning...

YourItalianPrincess 12 years ago

Another year of craziness in Lawrence. I would love to go to the festival myself, but I won't take my son there. Hes 8 and I don't think its a good idea.

As far as traffic......thats a given and they knew it would happen this year also.

Time to chill here at home this weekend. Spend time with son and maybe catch a movie.

conservative 12 years ago


Take him to see Over the Hedge. My parents took my kids last weekend and they haven't stopped talking about it.

Dixie Jones 12 years ago

the older lady in the lincon jumped the median cause she didnt want her car searched... god forbid they take her hubbies viagra

KsGirl 12 years ago

Actually, whether you come in from I-70 or K-10 you still have to go through the festival entrance checkpoint.

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

yep princess it is good my girled loved it also

bluedog 12 years ago

1 reason not to go Wakarusafest...


Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

ucky portapotties, the evil of man in nature. safer to piss on the ground, and the ground smells better:)

cutny 12 years ago

Gawd're comments are so F-ing tired and lame.

Redzilla 12 years ago

Ha ha! You Lawrencians and your adorable "traffic problems." Please. Come down to Tampa, FL, and try to make the shot through the Devil's Vasectomy (I-4 & I-275) during rush hour EVERY weekday.

DrShades 12 years ago

Good Grief People !! Did Any of you even read the 1st paragraph? "Gary Thomas, head of security for the festival" said they were "popping more trunks" Looking for items that were not allowed at the festival.

Stop blaming "the Man" The organizers were not ready to handle the onslaught of festival-goers lined up waiting for the gates to open.

Just once I would like to see you regualrs actually read the article, before you start youe I know every thing posts !! ARGH Good Grief Charlie Brown

reginafliangie 12 years ago

Just some info, the officers are not doing check points on the way to the festival on clinton parkway. That is not the reason for the delay. 10 to 15 thousand people trying to get to one entrance to check in is. The officers can't "fly" the cars out of your way. I'm sure everyone has heard about this for weeks now, so why the big shock of traffic? It's the fault of the promoters for waiting until 8am to open the gates and they have one ticket taker at the entrance, thats the reason for the delays.

jhawkrawk 12 years ago

I would like to offer my sympathy to those attending the Wakarusa Music Festival. It seems that you have been met by the "welcome wagon" of Kansas, our conservative politics.

Born and raised here, I have always admired the kindness of our citizens. But, Lawrence is a blue island, surrounded by a sea of red. Please, do not judge our loving city by the way you were treated by the state.

Although we can make no excuses for the state, we would like to welcome you! Most of us are so happy that many of you travel thousands of miles to visit our little island.

We hope you return. We cannot make any promises, but many of us will do whatever it takes to make sure you feel more welcome, the next time you come to town.

By the way, if Kansas has so much drug enforcement money available, why aren't we cracking down on the clubs that harbor the worst threats to our city since Quantrill, namely gangs fighting for our "territory"?

It's time to roll out this "unwelcome mat" to those who visit a certain club downtown, every weekend. Thugs with drugs and guns must be weeded out, but leave the peaceful hippies alone.

conservativepunker 12 years ago

Grandpa Simpson had it right......"What do you want to watch while dying?" "Cops beating hippies heads in!" HaHaaaaaaaa

YourItalianPrincess 12 years ago

I believe we will go and see Over the Hedge this weekend. It does look silly and funny and good enough for kids.

Looking forward to seeing Pirates in July. We will be at the theater the next day to catch a matinee.

Chrissy Neibarger 12 years ago

the bands are boring, the area is tick infested, and my days of being mezmerized by the cheap lazy thrill of pot are long past. so why should i care? i just don't. we're headin to topeka for some lobster. have fun waiting in line.

Christine Pennewell Davis 12 years ago

well princess get ready to hear "but i like the cookie" from your little one after the show and I think you will like it as well. YEAH pirates I can not wait two nice looking guys cool effects hey I plan on being there. enjoy both movies...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

"we're headin to topeka for some lobster."

Now that's a recipe for a good time.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years ago

Damn, with Kline's gestapo all out at the lake, there won't be one donut left in town! What am I gonna do for breakfast????????

filmguru 12 years ago

We do not fear the hippies, it's the six hour wait to get back home from two blocks away after leaving the house. The Eagles had it wrong. "You can check out any time you like, but getting back home's a bitch..."

We made a dash to the store in between traffic jams and now we're stocked up for the next three days. Nothing but DVDs, video games, and Starbucks mocha frappaccinos (while we sit on our porch and watch hippies play frisbee in our yard).

And, oh yes, "I like the cookie."

michaelm 12 years ago


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

I expect that there will be some congestion tomorrow, but probably less than today. And after that, the traffic will be higher than normal, but most people in Lawrence won't notice it much.

michaelm 12 years ago

Out of curiosity; does anyone have any idea how much all this intervention has cost us taxpayers?

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