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Archive for Saturday, May 20, 2006

Proposal would abandon trafficway

Letter to FHA urges eastern bypass instead

May 20, 2006

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Scrap the SLT. Build more roundabouts.

Those are key elements of a proposal - which could be endorsed by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission - to give up the long-delayed completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway in favor of a new eastern bypass and an extended 31st Street controlled by roundabouts.

Commissioners will meet Monday evening to consider sending an official letter to federal regulators reviewing plans for the controversial SLT. Planning Commissioner John Haase is behind the effort to adopt a major shift in the project's direction.

"I think Lawrence and Douglas County need to begin focusing on the real game, which is building an eastern bypass, not the South Lawrence Trafficway," Haase said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2001 approved a 32nd Street route for the trafficway, but the project has lacked funding to proceed. Now, however, the Federal Highway Administration is taking written public comments as it decides whether to move ahead.

Supporters of a 32nd Street route for the trafficway - which would run the road through the Baker Wetlands - said Haase's plan was nothing more than an attempt to complicate the trafficway project, which has dragged on for about two decades.

"It doesn't surprise me because anything to muddy up the waters is better for the noncompletion of the trafficway," said County Commissioner Jere McElhaney, who supports the 32nd Street route. "It is just a ridiculous plan. But this Planning Commission thrives on controversy."

The details

In his draft letter to the Federal Highway Administration, Haase offers details for his proposal. They include:

¢ Build a new bypass somewhere east of Lawrence that would connect Interstate 70 with Kansas Highway 10. Haase said the road would not be the old "Eastern Bypass" proposal that would have run a road through East Lawrence neighborhoods. Instead, he envisions the bypass beginning near Noria Road and heading north over a new Kansas River bridge.

¢ Downgrade the existing western portion of the SLT from a major highway to a city street that would have a speed limit of 40 to 45 mph. He's also suggesting that roundabouts be installed to control traffic at each at-grade intersection along the route.

¢ Extend the existing 31st Street westward to connect with the SLT where it dead-ends at U.S. Highway 59. His plan also calls for extending 31st Street eastward to an unspecified point to connect with Kansas Highway 10. The entire stretch of 31st Street also would have roundabouts at each intersection to control traffic and also discourage large truck traffic.

¢ The extended 31st Street would be a two-lane road and would be built on its current roadbed through the Baker Wetlands, eliminating the need to take more wetlands for the project. Several environmentalists have opposed the proposed route for the trafficway because it would extend into the wetlands.

Much weight?

It's not clear how much weight the Federal Highway Administration will give to the public comments it receives. City commissioners this week sent a letter urging the administration to consider a route south of the Wakarusa River. Mike Bowen, division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, said the agency would review all comments received by the end of May and could make a decision in about six months. He said the agency had received about 50 comments thus far.

It's also not clear whether planning commissioners will endorse Haase's idea. Planning Commissioner Dennis Lawson said he was undecided.

"When I read it, my first thought was that it seemed to be a fairly ambitious plan," Lawson said. "I'm going to need to hear the debate Monday night to find out the ideas behind it."

Lawson said he also expected some debate over whether it was appropriate for the Planning Commission - an appointed, not elected body - to send an official letter to the Federal Highway Administration.

McElhaney said he would much prefer planning commissioners defer to the professional judgment of state and federal officials who already have reviewed the road project and determined 32nd Street to be the best route.

"I wasn't aware that Mr. Haase went and got his traffic engineering degree in the last few months," McElhaney said.

But Haase said he believes the community will kick itself if it does not begin advocating for an eastern bypass. He said the recent announcement by the Kansas Turnpike Authority to build a new I-70 interchange east of Lawrence in Leavenworth County will fuel additional talk of an eastern bypass.

The biggest question, he said, is whether the eastern connection will be near Lawrence or farther east toward Johnson County.

"I really believe," Haase said, "that there is enough pressure building for an eastern bypass from folks in Johnson County, Tonganoxie, Eudora and that whole area, that the project will be funded."

The commission meets at 7 p.m. in City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Comments

BrianR 8 years, 7 months ago

Ya lost me at 'roundabouts.' These 'things' that pass for roundabouts in most intersections are annoying or just plain ugly. The same effect could be achieved by parking a car in the middle of the intersection and surrounding it with garden edging and at a fraction of the cost.

bmwjhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Great plan and obvious. When you can see I-70 from K-10 at Noria Road, it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to consider connecting the two. But, that's not where the developers wanted their growth corridor. It'll mean people can completely skip Lawrence on their journeys West. Do it!

lunacydetector 8 years, 7 months ago

incredible.

Please PRAY for our elected officials and their appointees on the Planning Commission!!!

lunacydetector 8 years, 7 months ago

ummm....one more thing, the KTA and KDOT is going to build an east of lawrence bypass already....it will connect eudora to I-70.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 7 months ago

Wow! You've got to be kidding me! Roundabouts... On, essentially, a "bypass". When is the next election?

--Danny Speicher

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

Constructing a bypass instead of a trafficway is logical,prudent, and practical. Now we are on to something.

Roundabouts are not part of the bypass and should not have been used to lead off this story.

It is my understanding that County Road 1000 also takes traffic into Johnson County. County roads will need to be improved sooner rather than later due to the fact that our county commission has embarked on it's own plan of development which likely will not be prudent for the wallets of Douglas County taxpayers.

This accomplishes many things. A. Services JOCO and Douglas County traffic going to NW Lawrence or Topeka B. Services the Eudora Business Park east of 1057 C. Services East Hills Business Park and the SE Work Center area west of 1057 D. Diverts traffic out around the city as it should E. Keeps the road entirely out of the wetlands

Working with the Kansas Turnpike Authority could save Douglas County taxpayers untold millions of dollars. Building a trafficway at this point in time is simply not prudent use of Douglas County tax dollars.

A bypass is a road or highway that avoids (bypasses) a built-up area, town, or village, to let through traffic flow without interference from local traffic, to reduce congestion in the built-up area, and to improve road safety.

Since Lawrence has no strong land use controls, buildings will be built along a trafficway, converting it into an ordinary town road, and the trafficway will become as congested as the local streets it was intended to avoid. This is what we have in the traffiway idea.

A trafficway does not accomplish the same effort as a bypass. It wouldn't be long before the trafficway will be very congested due to new housing(we cannot afford) and commercial strip malls.

Why? Because Lawrence city activity is too close. The trafficway was obsolete and dysfunctional from day one.

Taking a bypass south of the river was the road choice before the real estate industry who are not planners somehow managed to divert the plan to meet their desires.

There is a traffic light at the YSI so called (dangerous) intersection on the trafficway. Unless millions are spent at this intersection a traffic light will need to remain. YSI is reason enough to slow traffic down.

A trafficway is not a bypass. Developers will be asking for another south of the river roadway in short order. In fact the discussion is on the table as we speak.

One functional bypass will service Lawrence now and in the future. Go for it.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 7 months ago

I'll have to admit, the "alternative plan" outlined in the letter makes a lot of sense. Actually, in some ways, it may have been a better plan all along. The SLT will still find a way to connect to K-10 (just at 45 MPH), and we will have a nice connection from K-10 to I-70 as well on the east. Eudora folks will be happy about that, as will the people living in the SE areas of Lawrence.

As long as the SLT actually does find it's way to K-10, I'm happy. And the frogs will be happy too, I imagine.

Lee Eldridge 8 years, 7 months ago

Has anyone tried to drive down 23rd street at 5pm? Lawrence roads were not designed to handle this amount of traffic. And the city's inability to resolve this issue is simply amazing. Lawrence badly needs a way to hook up South Lawrence with K-10 going to KC to relieve some of the congestion on 23rd and Iowa. We can't sit and pretend that Lawrence is not going to grow, and how good it was when our population was half this size.

doc1 8 years, 7 months ago

Just do something. We are looking dumb to the rest of state.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 7 months ago

There IS the little thing about what the rest of Kansas AND US taxpayers what and deserve. The SLT is not just a "Lawrence" issue. The rest of Kansas and the US gave a lot of funds in order to build a State Road. This is not just a DOuglas County Road or a City Road. If this little socialist town wants to take this action, the County and the City should be backbilled for the 1/2 of a road that was paid by the funds. The current project does not meet those requirements as it is a "road to nowhere", and the money needs to be paid back or the project finished.

One thing these little "City Kommisions" don't understand; there are federal and state precedents that are overriding of a City Kommission rule. The City of Lawernce and County of Douglas has already given tacet and total approval by accepting the funding, and then renigging by not building the rest.

Once again, the tremblind milqtoast beuearucrats in KDOT and Fed DOT need to put their foot down and squash some tiny self serving politicos. You wanted it (SLT) you got it (half anyway) then you didn't want it.

EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP!!

As for those "sacred burial gorunds" there were 55 gallon drums buried in it. The only reason it is "Sacred" right now because the land value will increase drastically alon the corridor and Haskel does not want to lose that. That is it. IT is not exoteric, it is economic. After the thing gets built, they will sell that ground at high prices.

As a great Philosopher stated: Money changes everything."

by Cyndi Lauper

monkeyhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I cannot think of any other city that screws with its citizens more than Lawrence. We already have the new 4 lane 6th St. speed trap with a ridiculously low speed limit. With the new proposal, the SLT will be reduced to another speed trap, complete with more roundabouts. The disdain and disregard for the people who live west of Iowa is so apparent.

Seems they want to control every aspect of our lives - how we drive, what we can and cannot do when we drive, what we can look at when we drive (i.e. balloons, safety guards), where smokers are allowed to go, where we can celebrate our freedom on 4th of July, what we must do with our dogs, what kind of animals we can see in Lawrence, who can live in certain neighborhoods, and the list goes on.

Some of these "leaders" are trying to cram all this stercorous garbage down our throats. I really think they want their citizens to begin a mass exodus out of here. There are alternatives. The people could begin with a tax revolt, or could take steps to create a separate city with a governing body which understands its role. Or at the very least, get some representation for the sane point of view of those of us who are simply trying to get through life without a bunch of freaks controlling us.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

If the goal is to improve traffic flow withing Lawrence, some version of this proposal would do much more than completion of the SLT, whether on 32nd or south of the river, the main effect of which would be to encourage new truck and car traffic using the new 4-lane US 59 and then the SLT to avoid the congestion of I-35 through KC.

Jean1183 8 years, 7 months ago

Finish the SLT (withOUT roundabouts) and extend 31st to 1057!

There IS going to be a connection to I-70 at county road 1 in Eudora. This will allow traffic that needs to "bypass" Lawrence (on the SLT) and will allow those coming into Lawrence another option (31st) other than 23rd.

Lee Eldridge 8 years, 7 months ago

The reason the KTA (I worked there for 8 years) is considering building a new terminal further east is because what is now the East Lawrence terminal cannot handle the amount of traffic it receives, and that location will not easily support a larger terminal. A new road further east allows the KTA to build a terminal that can handle the traffic load, and would allow access back and forth between K-10 and 70. On the surface this appears to be a reasonable consideration. But it doesn't solve the traffic issues we face as a city. It would only be one piece of what needs to be a more complete plan.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Monkeyhawk, thank you for the new word of the day. I had to look it up.

aquakej 8 years, 7 months ago

Roundabouts are NOT the universal solution to all traffic problems!!! I hope I never have to pay another tax dollar to create more of those monstrosities.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"Roundabouts" is one of the giggle words for the numerous infantile posters on this forum. Anyone who's been a kid, or been around kids, knows of the game wherein a group of kids picks some word, usually at random, and repetition of the word will set them off into hysterics for no apparent reason.

This forum devolves into that game quite often, and strangely enough, many posters actually think they are involved in some sort of adult discussion while doing it.

scott3460 8 years, 7 months ago

The ignorance of so many of the posters here is hardly worth comment anymore, but if the roundabouts are such an objectionable part of this proposal, why not consider and comment on the merits of the proposal without those offending devices?

The most ridiculous thing in this entire controversy is that there is all ready a perfectly good and direct route right by Lawrence called the I-70 Turnpike. Why all these years later it is still a toll road is beyond me. I say eliminate the toll, expand I-70 to 3 or four lanes past Lawrence, and then feed it with 3 or 4 minimal access North/South feeders (the western SLT, Iowa, and a road to be built east of East Lawrence) That should eliminate much of the East/West through traffic on 23rd Street as people could drop in to town as they needed to from I-70. I realize the developers and the Turnpike monopoly are opposed, but what is the purpose of an interstate Turnpike that is half empty most of the time and traffic being encouraged to flood the "free" routes through our town? Makes no sense to me.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 7 months ago

Roundabouts are great, if they're huge. The ones that are south of the computer center on campus, those "things" are a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I'm wondering how many of you read the actual 'Alternative to the Eastern Leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway (.doc)'? This plan really does address a lot of issues, very well. It will help with the 23rd street congestion as well as the turnpike exit issues and will probably make I-70 a little more reasonable on "Big Monday" gamedays.

Travis Shinkle 8 years, 7 months ago

Roundabouts are stupid. I live in a part of the country where the locals a few years ago thought that instead of improving the streets and roads to help traffic flow they'd just build roundabouts. The traffic situation has not improved.

Build the SLT and get it over with. Once the new US-59 is built there's going to be a new flux of traffic pouring in from the south and Lawrence's existing infrastructure can't take the traffic now let alone when that opens.

That's a study in itself: liberal cities and traffic. Every city that leans left have traffic problems, it'd be interesting to know why. From my professional exprience, every civic government that I've dealt with has an opportunity to do a project that will make traffic remarkably better but yet they choose to do nothing (or they add roundabouts) usually because of what they term as environmental reasons or (my favorite) it'll increase traffic. You'd think they would remember a car stuck in traffic pollutes big time...

Sandra Willis 8 years, 7 months ago

The problem with these round-abouts that have been built already, is that they are not large enough ... They should be built ON an entire block, which would allow for several lanes (3 or more) for the cars (trucks, too) to get around that obstruction safely.

Remembering where I have seen these things properly built and correctly used (Europe) ... Stop wasting our tax $ on companies from the east coast, already.

If you must get proofs, hire a company from Germany, or Sweden, or Great Britain even.

sanbodan

Berserk 8 years, 7 months ago

Wow! Rediculous. not logical, not practical, not prudent, just another rediculously lazy, bottom of the totem poll council retard trying to justify his existance.

Go back to church and pray for someone to take you out of your misery, this is one of the lamest thoughts I have heard out of our overstaffed city council.

I think I may move out of this town, I can't stand you left-wing church mongrels anymore. This is getting rediculous.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"Roundabouts are stupid."

Of course they're stupid-- they're made primarily of bricks, concrete and asphalt-- inanimate material and objects.

"Every city that leans left have traffic problems, it'd be interesting to know why."

What primarily drives Lawrence's growth, from 50,000 to 80,000 over the last 25 years or so, is the presence of the university here. That coupled with its "free-state" heritage has made it the largely progressive community that it is. But until fewer than 5 years ago, city politics was controlled primarily by the contstruction, development and banking interests.

I think it's quite fair to say that any focus that narrow, no matter what the perspective, will create many problems. The poor maintenance of our apparently inadequate infrastructure, such as streets and sewers, is a result of that narrow focus. One result in particular is the very poor system of crosstown routes, both north and south.

The proposal in this article comes much closer to alleviating that crosstown traffic problem than any route completing the SLT would.

topflight 8 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 7 months ago

"Roundabouts to discourage truck traffic." What a statement of policy! THose damned fools fail to recognize that EMERGENCY VEHICLES are TRUCKS! Just more mud for this tree-huggers fabricated objection to a badly needed highway that was approved by voters many years ago. This is a clear statement of policy that it is the concerted effort of local "leaders" to obstruct traffic, to confuse moterists, to make their political statements that we should all walk instead of drive, that we should have grass and trees in the city, not roads, and that they are willing to use non-resident students (Haskell Institute) to stir up their political agendas to do nothing but move pell-mell into the 18 th century. What next, eh, more stalls at the livery stable, more hitching posts for the equine conveyences, more hay for the middle of the mud streets, more whale oil for the lamps??? The people that are current "Leaders" are stuck in reverse (to use a modern auto-centric idiom) and are lying to us, progressive, indeed! We need some real leadership, but with the long-demonstrated indifference to city matters by voters (which is how these jerks get into positions of authority) I see little chance that this city will ever recover from the myopic tree-huggers and frog-kissers who have a strangle hold on the progress, development and prosperity of this city.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 7 months ago

Or maybe they are smarter than we think. This idea is so stupid, clueless, and lame (and previous posts here seem to indicate agreement with that) that they think enough of the true supporters will be outraged enough to clear out the rubbish in the city government at the next election and get some real leaders, ya think? Smart like a fox, eh? I wonder.......

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

This appointed board does not have the authority to make policy. The court might have to get involved if they continue on this path.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

The majority more than likely are not obsessed with a specific location for a bypass just so long as a bypass is constructed that will ease their driving pains during rush hours. Nothing else will change much.

When KU is on break Lawrence,Kansas driving is not near the challenge. So relief is on the way come Sunday.

So far as how money has been spent thus far is the responsibility of KDOT. KDOT decided to let the money before the courts rendered a decision which was probaly not smart. Had they held back maybe they would have built a safer YSI intersection and constructed a 15st interchange that is so badly needed now. Instead they spent the money on a bridge to nowhere. Perhaps KDOT was influenced by a small local special interest group.

Most are not blind to the objective which was build only part of a four lane road then the powers that be will approve the whole thing since the project was underway...the courts did not agree with that type of arm twisting.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Now, more than ever, the taxpayers need to voice their opinion on this matter. Comments are being considered until the end of the month.

Wendall Meyer, Assistant Division Administrator, FHWA Kansas Division Office, 6111 SW 29th Street, Topeka, KS 66614.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 7 months ago

One matter of definition. What the obstructionists like to call the "wetlands" is a MAN-MADE SWAMP! I have a fish pond in my yard and some of my neighbors complained about the "mesquito problem". Seems there is an ordnance about having standing water that breeds mesquitos and other annoyances. WHAT ABOUT THE HASKELL SWAMP?????? THAT IS ONE OF THE LARGEST BODIES OF STANDING WATER, AND YET NO ONE FROM THE CITY HAS ISSUED ANY CITATIONS TO ANYONE ABOUT THAT PROBLEM COVERED BY THAT ORDNANCE. Or is that ordnance just to pacify the city loons that they are really doing something about the "mesquito problem". Why don't they issue the proper legal citations and get that mess cleaned up. Wetlands, indeed, the damned place is a violation of a city ordnanance! Are you listening Boog, Mike, Mike, David and who ever else we elected to run this place??????

Darrell Lea 8 years, 7 months ago

Using the "roundabout" word in the lead paragraph of this article was just another blatant manipulation of the context of this discussion by the local media. I'd actually come to expect more from Chad, but I suppose he knows who signs his checks.

The traffic issues need to be solved, and should be solved in a manner that MOVES TRAFFIC, regardless of whether or not big box development can be conveniently located at the roadside. An alignment south of the Wakarusa will successfully move traffic, and will respect the desires and cultural heritage of the neighbors we share this city with.

If we pave over the wetlands, they are gone and will not come back. I support Boog, Mike, David, and anybogy else who is sensible and forward thinking enough to realize this.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 7 months ago

To back up my assertion, a few salient pastes from the City Code. Yes, I know that the swamp belongs to Baker, but the nuisence is felt in the city limits.

WELLS, CISTERNS. STAGNANT WATER.

No owner or occupant of any lot, tract or parcel of land within the city limits shall remove any earth or soil from such lot, tract or parcel of land so as to cause water to collect therein and become stagnant, unclean, offensive or injurious to the individual or public health. (Code 1979, 9-103)

(A) The Governing Body of the City of Lawrence finds open wells and cisterns to be a nuisance. It shall be unlawful for any person to allow any well or cistern located on the premises owned or occupied by him to be open or insecurely covered.

IS ANYONE LISTENING????? THIS IS A PART OF A LEGAL CITY CODE. WHY DOES THAT SWAMP EVEN EXIST????

cowboy 8 years, 7 months ago

It seems that unless you have a southern bypass , i.e. , not a city street , that all this accomplishes is to create a large traffic feeding artery to a city street , 31st.

In regards to design of 31st , 45 mph and full of roundabouts , this is what happens when pot smokers and gay people design streets. One thinks that everybody drives slow and the other wants to decorate it. Any resemblance to current or past city officials is purely coincidental. Oh quit frowning and get a sense of humor , we need one in this town.

I do kind of like the fireworks and explosives party on July 4th idea though. Can you say " Barbeque Frog Bits "

topflight 8 years, 7 months ago

Oh, you didn't hear, the commision is wrtiting a letter outlining their plan to rid the world of the 4th of July.

Pro_Lawrence 8 years, 7 months ago

I would like a special tax for all the commuters who travel outside of the county. The taxes could pay for this wonderful proposal from Mr. Haase.

Make it happen people! We are organized and we are strong! This is our golden opportunity to stop the corporate land barrons.

jwmound 8 years, 7 months ago

What a bunch of BULL!! Man these commishionors need to pull their head out of their asses.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 7 months ago

Why can't we keep the SLT, and build a trafficway from Noria to I-70? We could call it a ring road or a beltway.

Pro_Lawrence 8 years, 7 months ago

I am in support of some type of use tax or fee for commuters, though an exception should be made for people who work for the government or a non-profit.

We could have a special toll section leading out of town on every major route. It could cost a quarter to leave town. This would be a terrific revenue generator and it would discourage new arrivals to move here who work in other counties. We would keep Lawrence's character!

Richie Kennedy 8 years, 7 months ago

While I do support the 32nd Street alignment, I do not believe that the wetlands are a "worthless swamp." Fred, I think you would agree with me that certain man-made objects are worth protecting, such as the Lawrence Visitor's Center or the Union Pacific 844 and 3985 steam engines.

I would oppose "demoting" the existing trafficway to a 2-lane arterial. Strict access control should be maintained. It would be difficult to put it back in.

Leaving 31st Street alone through the wetlands would be a terrible thing, both for Haskell and for the city as a whole.

I believe that a 32nd Stret alternative for the trafficway puts any more changes to the wetlands to bed and would regenerate the wetlands into something better. a Eastern Bypass would not solve for Lake Traffic, or for Commuters from West Lawrence. Also, for any Eastern Bypass to be an effective Lawrence bypass, It needs to loop back to US 59. The proposed interchange in Leavenworth county effectiveally kills that kind of bypass.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

"I am in support of some type of use tax or fee for commuters, though an exception should be made for people who work for the government or a non-profit."

LOL!!! That would exempt 90% of Lawrence workers!

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm still laughing. Government workers are the highest paid in the state. Yeah, lets put a tax on everybody else so the government workers can be paid even more!!!

Charles L Bloss Jr 8 years, 7 months ago

I knew it all along, roundabouts are the answer to every traffic problem. Long live roundabouts, lol. Thank you, Lynn

moveforward 8 years, 7 months ago

That's it. This is the final show of idiocy from the current power holders. I am moving... I promise to send a postcard.

moveforward 8 years, 7 months ago

jmmound... I believe the term you are searching to call them is "a$$hats" - and it would be accurate.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 7 months ago

IF there is a "dike" that indicates and "artifical" wetland, and does not get the protections required by law. Additionally, there would be some historical documents that probably showed who, when, and how. Probably by the Haskel folks or just prior to their ownership. That would supercede the calaim of "ancient burial site". BTW, has that ever been cooberated?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

What's wrong with the bypass that's proposed? No one has has suggested that Lawrence should not have a means to move rush hour traffic which explains the bypass proposal. The eastside I-70 connection is actually icing on a different cake in many ways. Are some of you going to oppose a bypass if it should be approved?

Friday, November 2, 1990

To the Editor:

There have been many claims that have recently been proposed about the benefits of the South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT).

1) ``The Wetlands will be enhanced by the SLT.'' This is a ridiculous statement derived by selective reasoning. Whether or not any mitigation is every completed and whether that mitigation has any positive impact on even the 2 percent of the wetlands it will relate to, is questionable. The long-term impacts of increased pollution, noise, congestion and development around the Baker University Wetlands will be negative and will in no way enhance this natural area.

2) ``Outside funding has been secured and should not be lost.'' This is like my giving you $1,000 but requiring you to spend it on drugs. The drug in this case is petroleum. The statistics show that this new road will do very little to reduce traffic on 23rd Street, but it will certainly increase our dependence upon the car and a non-renewable resource, gasoline.

3) ``. . . the trafficway would bolster the economic link between Lawrence and the rest of the county.'' Unless you own a business or land on the south or west side of Lawrence it is unlikely that people outside of Lawrence will benefit economically from the SLT. This should be a Lawrence project instead of a Douglas County/Lawrence project.

I would ask that the residents of Douglas county vote ``NO'' for the county road proposal.

Roger L. Boyd,

Baldwin City.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

Wetlands Definition

"Wetlands" is a general term used to describe areas which are neither fully terrestrial nor fully aquatic. These areas range in character from the majestic cypress swamps of the southern United States to shallow to unimpressive depressions which hold water at most only a few weeks out of the year.

Wetlands are important for many reasons. Some provide critical habitat for migratory waterfowl, while others check flooding and siltation on our waterways. Some act as filters - removing and sequestering contaminants that might otherwise find their way into our drinking water, while others provide us with recreational opportunities such as fishing and boating.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Merrill, come on. You had to go clear back to 1990 to find that letter from Boyd. It appears that Mr. Boyd has, over the years, reconsidered his position. With age, comes wisdom?

From the LJW, August, 2005

To the editor:

It's good to have discussion about the South Lawrence Trafficway, but let's try to stick to the facts.

Mike Ford (Public Forum, June 27) misinterprets Paul Brockington's conclusions about cultural use of the wetlands. Dr. Brockington found plenty of evidence for their use by American Indians but none that would be permanently damaged by the SLT. Most historical use communicated to Dr. Brockington occurred north of 31st Street or a mile south along the river banks, not along the 32nd Street alignment. The type of use documented is why federal agencies rejected a request to designate the Baker Wetlands a "traditional cultural property."

Mr. Ford also condemns my "manipulation of nature." When Baker legally received this land in 1968 from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare instead of the Department of Interior as Mr. Ford claims (Public Forum, Aug. 10), approximately 75 percent of the land had been cultivated. All of it was effectively drained. No one other than Dr. Ivan Boyd of Baker and Dr. E Raymond Hall of KU believed it had potential of becoming wetlands again. Without our "manipulation" there would be no "Boyd Lake" (wetlands) today.

Several letters give the impression that these wetlands are some priceless, national treasure to never be touched. Our mitigation will not exclude visitors from experiencing nature but will invoke curiosity about this ecosystem that can only be quenched with hands-on experience. The mitigation will improve access for people of all ages through additional parking and a continuation of the hike/bike trail from west of U.S. Highway 59.

Roger Boyd,

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

For a body of ground that so many say is worthless will cost taxpayers several million dollars thanks to KDOT if the trafficway were to go through.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

Godot said

"Merrill, come on. You had to go clear back to 1990 to find that letter from Boyd. It appears that Mr. Boyd has, over the years, reconsidered his position. With age, comes wisdom?"

Is it wisdom or several million taxpayer dollars for that so called worthless piece of property?

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Are you suggesting Mr. Boyd has a personal financial interest in seeing the project through that he did not have before? What would that be, specifically?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

Thought it would be interesting to share what he was thinking sixteen years prior in view of he had written in 2005 which I assumed many would remember.

I doubt Roger Boyd gains anything personally financial. Baker University is the money winner.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Somehow I don't begrudge Baker making good on an investment that has provided so much good to the community, as you say. Baker is a fine college.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

macon47, what is to keep Haskell from building a casino, anyway? I have thought for years that they should develop a gaming and hospitality management program that includes a "training casino." They couldn't use the Baker wetlands for that, so what is the conflict?

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Where is the tribe that will buy the Riverfront Mall from the Simons family and make that a casino? Now, THAT will guarantee the future of downtown, much more than a boondoggle library. Anyone? Anyone?

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

On the other hand, why wait for a tribe to make the move? Gov. Sebelius thinks that the State should own and operate casinos. Come on, Francisco and Hack, further cement your ties to the Governor and make your future in the Democratic party. Initiate the taking of the Riverfront Mall for the good of the State so that Lawrence, and the State, can enjoy the economic benefits (aka taxes) from the Casino on the Kaw.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

The State could take the Riverfront Mall and return it to the tribes. No one questions that the tribes owned the riverfront at some time. In return, the tribes could relinquish their claim on the wetlands that became farm fields that became wetlands once again. This is a win-win.

Especially considering that the taxpayers funded the development of the riverfront mall in the first place.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

And transportation of Haskell Gaming Management interns to the Casino on the Kaw would be provided by a direct route from Haskell to Riverftont Mall by the T, at no cost, of course.

By George! I think we've got a plan!

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 7 months ago

Route 56, I do not know who you are, but you obviously know who I am. I do not believe I used the word "worthless" in reference to the Haskell Swamp. I did say "man-made" and "nuisance". I would invite you to come sit on my porch in the spring, summer and fall and leave your insect repellant at home. My point is that it is a violation of standing city ordnances against such areas. I have been reported to the city for having a fish pond on my property that I had to justify and explain to city code officials. Why is this huge public nuisance even be allowed to exist given city ordnances and enforcement thereof? I am not opposed to any nature area, but the use of this issue to obstruct a badly needed publicly- approved project is senseless, objectionable and unwarrented.

Mike Ford 8 years, 7 months ago

There has been so much garbage spewed by so many uneducated people on this subject that I could start anywhere. For the millionth time, the glaciers from the ice ages created the Kansas and Wakarusa River valleys. The wetlands were part of the floodplain that Clinton Lake's creation destroyed 25 years ago. Federal law has been in place for some time to stop stupidity. Stupidity in the 32nd route is being backed by dumb people with money. I've seen the coded langauge here that dehumanizes Native people and their values. This language is racist. I had a post removed by someone who felt I was being a reverse-racist. There are no casinos in this picture. Just dumb comments by uneducated people. Unfortunately, and especially in Kansas, a lot of dumb people vote for the same dummies over and over to retain the "Dummy Quo". As for roundabouts, I'm for them. I drive in Lawrence six days a week for a living. I see how dummies drive at least 1300 miles a month, ALL IN LAWRENCE. On streets like Michigan and 19th, these devices were implemented because people were too dumb to follow traffic laws and stop, due to using cell phones or driving like they were still in Mayberry, or McLouth, or Eudora, where traffic laws don't apply. If people drive and act dumb doing so, action will be taken to modify their driving habits. Kind of like pavlovian experiments.

lunacydetector 8 years, 7 months ago

i notice you reference michigan and 19th street. are you implying that the poor are uneducated idiots? sure sounds that way to me. but what the heck, those roundabouts only cost around $1.2+ million dollars. could've stationed a uniformed police officer at those intersections in a patrol car and saved the taxpayers a million bucks. that would've been the SMART thing to do.

its_obvious 8 years, 7 months ago

Yes. It's quite clearly the mean people who support the 32nd Street route for this road.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Tuschkawhoever, where is your sense of humor?

Berserk 8 years, 7 months ago

ROFL Marion, I like that idea. Bravo!

claps

lovelawrence 8 years, 7 months ago

tuschkahouma! Dont you think if we had a bypass, then we wouldnt need roundabouts to make up for the overflow of traffic?

GardenMomma 8 years, 7 months ago

The problem I see with the roundabouts is that people have apparently forgotten what the sign "YIELD" means!

It means: if the way is clear, go. One does not need to come to a stop and then go.

However, this does require that people be looking ahead while they are driving. It's tricky I know, but I learned how to look at the road ahead of me in driver's ed.

gr 8 years, 7 months ago

"The wetlands were part of the floodplain that Clinton Lake's creation destroyed 25 years ago. "

Aren't the FLOODplains MORE flooded now?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

"Aren't the FLOODplains MORE flooded now?"

If the waters never recede, it's not a flood. That's why they call it Clinton LAKE.

bunchball 8 years, 7 months ago

Roundabouts? -- I would bet that most all of the drivers in this city do not even know how to drive in these silly intersections that are designed to promote "California stops". Why should we add more of these and increase the amount of "road rage" caused by these -- I don't think educating drivers will work either because they all think that they have the right of way. Doesn't anyone remember what a yield sign stands for whether it is located at one of these intersections or on an on-ramp to a major highway -- lets think about that one again. It is obvious that something needs done to bring back the "Old Lawrence" that some people call it. It will never be what it was. Complete the trafficway.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 7 months ago

Marion, check out the Lacey Act. http://www.fws.gov/invasives/Index.LaceyAct.html

A quick google search turns up info that these critters don't winter well outside of the Gulf Coast areas...making your idea a short term solution, even if it would not be illegal.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 7 months ago

Also, don't overlook the potential impact of placing this pest in such close proximity to the Kansas River, with its levees to prevent flooding in North Lawrence, and other local flood control mechanisms.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

"Actually marion, it is illegal to spread an invasive species, which is what nutria is."

Illegal immigration certainly does present a problem.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

tushkahouma, my ancestors are tribal people from the east coast. My posts about the casinos were meant to be helpful. Tribes have an economic and political advantage that states and cities do not have. Tribes can do whatever they want with the land they control. They can purchase land that was not tribal before and use it however they wish, without regard to city, county and state regulations. This is an opportunity!! I don't understand why you label me a racist when I encourage tribes to exploit an opportunity.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Tush, don't wait for the State to make its move.

Mike Ford 8 years, 7 months ago

Godot, actually they can do what they want with land that's in trust, held by the federal government. They have to go through a two-part determination on land that's non-contigious to their current lands. Back east, every state came into existence by negotiating directly with Indian tribes, which was a violation of the Indian Non-Intercourse Act of 1790. These eastern states hid behind immunity until the 1970's, when many tribes got justice in the form of land claim settlements on their lands that were taken by states in violation of federal laws. The Moron Supreme Court we have now doesn't research history and provided us with Sherrill V. New York, a great state's rights ruling that paid no attention to precedent. These eastern states got away with theft until tribes like the Oneida, Cayuga, Penobscot, Abnaki, and Pequot stood up to them. This court? said that the tribes waited to long to get justice, sa ishkish! When lands are stolen by states from tribes in the 1790's, and the states duck prosecution until the 1970's, and then get a Bush court to play dumb in 2006, things are rotten. Besides, if you knew what you were talking about, you'd realize the Civilization Act of 1819 provided the mechanism for lands traded for services like schooling and health care. Haskell is "Indian Country", but's not held in trust for any specific Indian Tribe. It's for all Indian people. And no one desecrates a sacred area who has a clue, native or not.

Godot 8 years, 7 months ago

Tuschkahouma, my geneaology on my mother's side leads to the Algonquin, Penobscot tribe in Massachusetts, but it is so diluted that the only existing reference is our body structure and skin tone...and the fact that we tend to die young, of heart disease.

I saw today news of a court decision that favors of the power of tribes to exert influence over newly purchased property.

Kelly Powell 8 years, 7 months ago

My people once painted themselves blue, spiked their hair with lime and rode into battle on reallycool chariots....Oh, and we were also headhunters who enjoyed the taste of a brave enemy's liver on occaison.....Our women enjoyed an equal (if not more) part of governing the clans and septs and were in control of the matriarchal lines......We reveled in a bond with nature and our gods and our druids fathomed the great mysteries of the heavens and earth.......Then the damn romans came....and the saxons....the norse and the normans....i've personally have tried to get reparations for a thousand years of repression and the killing of my peoples culture by the murderous devils who wiped out our culture in the name of their gods....and the moors who wiped out my cousins on the spanish coast to no avail. Who weeps for the celts? who cries out for the injustice of these fine people pushed off into the badlands to become a beaten people drowning in booze remembering the days when we rode our lands on fine horses,drinking heather wine and creating beautiful art and songs?

cowboy 8 years, 7 months ago

I weep for you redneck , my family too was starved and ejected from the county of kings by those horrible moors then forced to cross the large water in a dank ship to a future inknown. Lets take back Ireland and throw those brit bastards out.

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