Archive for Saturday, March 11, 2006

Kasold debacle

March 11, 2006

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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,

Lawrence

Comments

kansaskev61 9 years, 5 months ago

Welcome to the People's Republic of Douglas County. If you spend it, they will come!

Godot 9 years, 5 months ago

What is going to happen to the access road to the houses in the 1600 block?

classclown 9 years, 5 months ago

Posted by derf (anonymous) on March 11, 2006 at 8:35 a.m. Can you spell bunedogil? =========================================

Yes I can.

B-O-O-N-D-O-G-G-L-E

classclown 9 years, 5 months ago

Boogdundle? Curioso, I believe you're confusing that with Boog and Rundle.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 5 months ago

There are a few houses on the east side, but nowhere near as many as on the west. It would have made more sense to put the sidewalk there. But would anyone in state government have any control over KU Endowment? Aren't they a quasi-private organization? Can the ciy exercise eminent domain over endowment property?

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 5 months ago

Let's compare comments about the Kasold repairs and the SLT. The NIMBY factor is indeed involved.

When it is another's back yard (e.g. Haskell), we hear cries of "obstructionist" and "anti-growth". Now, we hear cries of the city trying to destroy a quiet neighborhood. Hmmmm.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't know enough about this to to either agree or disagree with what Banks is saying, but I do think there is at least a bit of a NIMBY factor involved.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 5 months ago

His facts may be correct, but not necessarily complete. For instance, one reason for the 11 ft. wide sidewalk is likely as a north/south bike and pedestrian path. Something that you have to go a long ways from Kasold to find otherwise.

lunacydetector 9 years, 5 months ago

i would think mr. banks has his facts right since he is an attorney and former planning director.

at least the progressive commission didn't narrow kasold like was first suggested.

classclown 9 years, 5 months ago

Posted by just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) on March 11, 2006 at 6:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't know enough about this to to either agree or disagree with what Banks is saying, but I do think there is at least a bit of a NIMBY factor involved.

Isn't this going to be literally in their back yards?

If Mr. Banks is correct - "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."- then the people along the street will be losing part of their back yards. Or would it be their front yards. I don't travel that street often so I don't know which way the houses face.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 5 months ago

No question about it high traffic and fast driving through the respective neighborhoods will be the order of the day. Traffic should be diverted to Iowa,Inverness or Wakarusa which may be the plan but don't expect many drivers to comply.

How does Alvamar feel about this? It seems that the quickest least expensive plan would be practical and frugal to include the 11' foot sidewalk perhaps on the west side. Leave the hills for a challenging bike ride.

If the Alvamar neighborhood signed off on this project what's there to say?

Jamesaust 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree with the author. I do not recall this project at the approval phase as being explained to be this "massive." It seems an excellant example of the poor approach to infrastructure issues in the City. (Keep in mind that this Kasold project is in addition to the $2.5m Kasold project north to the turnpike - the one with 8 foot shoulders on the roadside and 2 roundabouts.)

There was never a need (well, not a multi-millon dollar need) to lower the grade of the hill, which would have eliminated making the neighboring homeowners yards into cliffs. Nor was, I remember, the KU Endowment Assn., which owns the land on the east side of Kasold, AT ALL helpful in working with the City with the possibility of locating the sidewalk on the east side of Kasold.

Perhaps a special approval process should be required for all projects larger than, say, $2m - with complete plans before work begins, with complete backup plans to deal with consequences, with a full competition (dollar-for-dollar) with every other spending priority in the City. And perhaps area lawmakers can gain a more cooperative attitude on mutual issues from the University via Topeka.

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