To the editor:
The infrastructure of the city of Lawrence is in disrepair, and city streets are crumbling.
The cost of a Kasold Drive reconstruction project has increased from $3.7 million to $4.6 million. Instead of a normal reconstruction, the city has chosen to attempt to level the hill north of the Hy-Vee store with dramatic excavations. The changes require massive industrial-type concrete block retaining walls along Kasold, and leveling the hill will achieve a reduction of less than 2 percent in the grade of the street.
An 11-foot-wide sidewalk (unprecedented in Lawrence) is planned along Kasold. Moreover, that sidewalk is made inaccessible to the neighborhood by proposed retaining walls, railings and fences.
The project will take nearly two years, during which traffic will certainly slow to a trickle and divert through adjacent neighborhoods. No plan is in place to deal with the resulting traffic problems.
Although staff promised otherwise, the city is now in the process of acquiring construction easements from adjacent property owners and will soon destroy the screening that protects the neighborhood.
The magnitude of this project presents an enormous public works debacle causing more harm than good.
If the project is scaled back to a reasonable undertaking, perhaps the money saved could be better spent elsewhere, and the neighborhood and the general public could still benefit from an improved street and an accessible sidewalk and bike trail. Moreover, construction would be completed within a shorter time frame creating less inconvenience to businesses and motorists.
Price T. Banks,