Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lawrence 101

A quick lesson on the ins, outs of the city

August 11, 2007


Welcome to Lawrence!

Here's what new KU students need to know about coming to town. Enlarge video

Forget advanced trigonometry, or all those classes that have the word "molecular" or "quantum" in their titles.

Many locals around here swear the course that is most often failed by new Kansas University students is one that is not even offered on The Hill. It is the one that has lesson times every day of the week as students make their way around Lawrence. Let's call it Lawrence 101: The ins and outs of living here.

No worries, though. It is the one course that is not going on your transcripts. And just to show you how glad we are to have you here, we're providing something every college student can appreciate: A cheat sheet.

Here's a look at the ins and outs:

  • We're not going the wrong way. That actually would be you. There are several one-way streets in Lawrence, but the two most notorious in the city are Kentucky and Tennessee streets. Learn those. They are just west of Massachusetts Street. Kentucky is one-way to the north. Tennessee is one-way to the south.
  • We can hear you. Sheetrock and siding do not block the sound waves of fully cranked Zeppelin, or whatever that is you're playing. Houses in Lawrence, especially in the older parts of town, are close together. If you are going to have a party, or just dial up the stereo, chat with your neighbors first. Ask for a little understanding. If you don't, you may get a visit from the Lawrence Police Department. Lawrence has a noise ordinance. A recent reorganization of the Lawrence Police Department means more officers now can respond to noise complaints. This is a big one in Lawrence, so beware. Besides, it makes all of us feel old. What is that you're playing?
  • What's that? Many of Lawrence's most significant landmarks are on the KU campus. You'll figure those out. Here are some that might take you a little longer: The big river that runs through town (you know, the one by Johnny's Tavern) is the Kansas River. It sometimes is called the Kaw. The small river in southern Lawrence (that means a little south of Wal-Mart and Target) is called the Wakarusa. The big puff of constant smoke north of town is an electric power plant, owned by Westar. The big body of water west of town is Clinton Lake.
  • Where am I? Street names, oh geez. In several parts of town, especially the older parts near downtown, they are named after states. But beyond that, you're really going to need your Ph.D. in history or a crystal ball to fully understand it. The main thing to remember is that they're not in alphabetical order. Instead, in some parts of town they're in the order that the states entered the Union. But just to keep us on our toes, the founding fathers omitted many southern states. We didn't like the southern states. More on that later.
  • Miserable Missouri. All right, let's go ahead and tackle that southern state thing now. Lawrence founders didn't like the southern states because Lawrence was founded by staunch anti-slavery forces in the days leading up to the Civil War. The residents - some were referred to as Jayhawkers - were devoted to ensuring Kansas would enter the Union as a free state. No slaves. Our neighbors in Missouri wanted just the opposite. It made Lawrence the center of what became known as "Bleeding Kansas." It culminated with an August 1863 raid by William Quantrill. He and his band of about 400 raiders burned most of the town, and killed about 200 men and boys. Quantrill, of course, was from Missouri. Need we say more?
  • Is that smoke I smell? If it is, it better not be coming from you while you are in a bar, restaurant or most other indoor public places. In 2004, Lawrence became the first city in the state to pass a smoking ban. It prohibits smoking in virtually all indoor places of employment in the city. Smoking in a home or apartment is still allowed, as long as it is cool with the landlord. Smoking outside a bar and restaurant also is still legal.
  • Can you spare a nickel? The nickels, dimes and quarters come in handy in downtown Lawrence. Downtown is the one area of town that has lots of parking meters. You're required to plug the meters from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or else run the risk of getting a fine. Fines are $2 for the first offense.
  • Round and round we go. We have roundabouts in Lawrence. Here's the thing to remember: Always go right. If you want to turn left at the intersection, you first must go right, navigate three quarters the way around the circle, and then go left, which at that point in time is, of course, now your right. Got it? Other points to remember are yield to cars already in the roundabout, and forget about turn signals. They just confuse everybody. Roundabouts can make your life simpler though. If you ever meet a local and don't know what to talk about just pose this question: What do you think about them roundabouts? We'll talk your ear off.
  • No, we're not kidding. There really is only one street in Lawrence that takes you all the way from the far western side of Lawrence to the far eastern side of Lawrence. It is called 23rd Street. Well, sort of. East of Iowa Street is called 23rd Street. West of Iowa Street is called Clinton Parkway. Yes, we like to confuse you. The point is, the street - especially the 23rd Street version - is pretty busy by Lawrence standards.
  • What's there to do? If you like parks, you are in the right spot. Lawrence has about 50. Downtown has South Park, near Ninth and Iowa streets there is Centennial Park, which has a Frisbee golf course, and at Clinton Lake there's an off-leash dog park. Also at the lake, there's a city-owned golf course. There are lots of trails. A prominent hike and bike trail is along Clinton Parkway. Good mountain biking trails are along the Kansas River (remember, next to Johnny's.) If indoor activity is more your speed, there are two movie theaters. Liberty Hall is downtown in a historic building. It shows lots of independent flicks. In south Lawrence, there is the Southwind 12 theater that shows most of the major releases.
  • Rental rules. You might think twice about moving in with a half-dozen of your best buddies. Actually, there are lots of reasons to think twice about that, but one of them is a city law. If you are renting a single-family home, city ordinance prohibits more than three unrelated people from living in the house. On the flip side, the city can help you with rental problems, too. If you ever think there is some sort of housing or health code violation that your landlord just won't take care of, call the city at 832-7700 and the city will send out an inspector.
  • This and that. Among some of the more notable folks who have lived in Lawrence are Langston Hughes, a Harlem Renaissance poet, and William Burroughs, a beatnik writer. : The apocalyptic television movie, "The Day After" - about the aftermath of a nuclear bomb blast - largely was filmed in Lawrence. : Lawrence's Hallmark Cards plant typically produces all the Christmas cards for Republican presidents. : Local legend says the small Douglas County (that's the county we're in, by the way) community of Stull has a cemetery that is a Gateway to Hell.

So there you have it. Go forth and win a trivia contest or something.

But remember, just keep an eye out for the one-way signs.


Brandon Perkins 10 years, 8 months ago

"So there you have it. Go forth and win a trivia contest or something."

Wonder if Westerberg High could have used this info.....

asbarkincat 10 years, 8 months ago

Something esle not mention, don't walk out in front of traffic. There has quite a few pedstriations hit by cars here lately. And make sure you park in the right place. KU is good about having cars towed if you don't have the right parking permit.

Scott Tichenor 10 years, 8 months ago

And this unwritten rule, you party next door to me until 4:30 a.m., and my lawn mower starts up at 8:00 a.m. :)

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 8 months ago

When I saw "Lawrence 101" I thought this was a weather report.

This just in...

SATAN TO RELOCATE WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS TO KANSAS (AP). Said the Prince of Darkness: "Hell is just not as hot as it used to be. Apparently, it has something to do with global warming or one of my other projects. Anyway, I was watching the weather channel the other day, turned to Pontius Pilate and said 'Lawrence is the place for me!'. Cerebus won't like the leash law; but otherwise, Lawrence is wonderfully Hellish". The final decision to relocate was only made after the Lord of the Underworld's minions completed a due dilligence review. "This 'humidity' that they have in Kansas... absolutely brilliant! I wish I had thought of that back when Job was alive." As the interview ended, Satan broke into song with a modified version of the theme from the 1960's TV show "Green Acres". "Brown acres is the place for me! Hot living is the life for me..." An unconfirmed source has reported that the Devil is considering a number of possible west Lawrence locations. Reportedly, one location being considered is the former residence of former KU athetic director Al Bohl.

cellogrl 10 years, 8 months ago

OldEnuf2BYurDad, that.... was brilliant. :) Well stated.

creamygnome 10 years, 8 months ago

You forgot to mention that most Lawrence residents drive 3-5 miles below the speed limit unless it's on Iowa...then they drive about 8-10 under.

weatherguy48 10 years, 8 months ago

Don't expect to get anywhere fast on 23rd street at rush hour....traffic actually SLOWS DOWN for green lights....and don't even think about trying to turn left out of Pizza Hut down there or something when it's busy, the guy behind you will probably die of old age before you're able to turn out.

Bill Chapman 10 years, 8 months ago

And the fact that NO ONE uses turn signals(when not in a roundabout or circle of hell - they are interchangable)

Laura Watkins 10 years, 8 months ago

i'm sorry, my biggest pet peeve ever ever EVER is when people do u-turns on mass street to pick up a parking spot on the other side. even when i'm walking and not competing for a parking space, it makes me mad. i also feel like i used to see more police on mass street ticketing people for this and now i don't see it as often anymore. Grrr

Laura Watkins 10 years, 8 months ago

when i said "it" i meant to say police ticketing-- i still see the u-turns.

Aileen Dingus 10 years, 8 months ago

Physics children- physics. Just remember that "two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time" and we'll get along just fine. (ie: No- you cannot drive your car in the exact same spot where I'm driving my car- it just won't work)

geekin_topekan 10 years, 8 months ago

And,downtown is NOT on the "back side of campus".The entire city of Lawrence actually stops at about Iowa st.All points west are transplants and jocos who polluted their own environment so much that they feklt the need to move here and pollute this town.

Katie180 10 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence 102:

In order to get decent basketball tickets you have to sleep on the sidewalk, sleep with someone, pay a fortune or donate your trust fund to the Endowment.

Forget garage sales, just dumpster dive when all of your classmates leave.

There are 50+ banks in Lawrence.

The steam tunnels, though enticing, have asbestos.

If you for any reason ever have a political thought in your head, you should immediately start a blog, hang out at either The Pig or Aimee's, have t-shirts printed with your website/blog on them, stick a "Kansas, as bigoted as you think." bumper sticker on your car, ride an old road bike, and stop shaving at least one area of your body. You will immediately fit it better than you have ever imagined.

Chances are either the Fritzel family or the Compton family own the building you are in.

That strange person downtown who you think is probably homeless is probably more educated and more politically savvy than you and may just be your professor next semester.

Your waiter has a Master's Degree.

The T on the buses is short for Emp-T.

There is ALWAYS a crowd at Free State.

And finally your vocabulary list:

"Fog" Allen Boog Quantrill Manning Boulevard Wheat Lawrencian Muck Fizzou Big 12 Dirty Dillon's Chipotle (Chih-poht-lay) not (Chih-poll-tee)

The_Voice_of_Reason 10 years, 8 months ago

Katie: to add to lesson 102 don't forget if it's past 1am and your hungry order Pizza Shuttle or Gumby's but don't be an A-hole to the delivery driver and make sure to tip well.... They have a very good memory for remembering jerks and the people who don't tip...

Crossfire 10 years, 8 months ago

P-Hogg wears a Stetson P-Hat and drive a big-ol' Ford truck. His Bogger tyres go WaWaWa. P-Hogg does smokie burnout U-turns on Mass-street too.' spitz out the window cause he chews.

Welcome to the world of redneck hippie biker beatnik philosophy. Don't be too confused...

leadrain 10 years, 8 months ago

And lastly, the number one rule in Lawrence is to stay on my good side.

williaa 10 years, 8 months ago

Why is everyone so angry about the "west side" of Lawrence, Geekin? Of course I would prefer to live in a house with character on the east side of town, but the houses we could afford happen to be west of Iowa. And no, I'm not a "joco transplant," just somebody who loves Lawrence and wanted to buy a house here. Enough with the sweeping generalizations.

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