To the editor:
The May 16 editorial section featured a trio of letters regarding the South Lawrence Trafficway.
Mark Hirschey blasts the notions that the wetlands are a "local natural treasure," simply because the wetlands had been restored from being farmed. Although I support a 32nd Street alignment for the SLT, I do believe that the wetlands are worth protecting.
Michael Caron, on the other hand, disagrees with my viewpoint. He would argue that completing a new environmental impact statement for a south-of-the-Wakarusa alignment would not take as long as litigating the current one. First off, there is no way to know when the Legislature will authorize enough funding to begin construction. Also, I believe the current EIS is sound and that the courts would not force KDOT to start a new one.
Mr. Caron also suggests that rebuilding 31st Street separately from the trafficway would not be controversial. To build 31st Street into a "state of the art" arterial route will still require wetlands to be filled, would produce more light and noise on Haskell's campus than it would if it were built next to a 32nd Street SLT, and would still face opposition from some in the environmentalist camp.
The Haskell-Baker Wetlands is a valuable resource to the community, and I believe the best way to protect it in the long term is to build the trafficway along 32nd Street. Changing the route would not hasten construction and would further delay improvements to 31st.