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Archive for Monday, January 8, 2007

Traffic options

The list of Lawrence streets awaiting traffic-calming improvements continues to grow.

January 8, 2007

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On Tuesday's consent agenda, Lawrence city commissioners will have the opportunity to add yet another section of street to the list of traffic-calming projects awaiting city funding.

Having heard at their Nov. 6 meeting from residents along Ninth Street between Iowa Street and Kasold Drive, members of the city's Traffic Safety Commission unanimously recommended construction of traffic-calming devices for the stretch of Ninth Street that runs west of Iowa and curves into Eighth Street by the time it intersects with Kasold.

According to a staff memo, traffic data - speed, accidents, crosswalks, school crossings, etc. - justify ranking the project as eighth on the city's priority list. Although an actual traffic-calming plan won't be developed until the funding is available, staff members say the project could include traffic circles and speed cushions and would have an estimated cost of $125,000.

Traffic Safety Commission members seem willing to approve such projects for almost any group of residents that brings a case to their attention. Sympathetic to the dangers posed by speeding drivers, the traffic commission applies the only solution it has to offer: structural barriers to traffic.

The option of increasing law enforcement patrols to curb speeding is not in the Traffic Safety Commission's toolbox, but it certainly is available to Lawrence city commissioners. The city now has hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of traffic-calming projects awaiting city funding. That money could fund many hours of additional police patrols to curb drivers speeding through neighborhoods.

While commissioners are finding the money to complete additional traffic-calming projects perhaps they could at least try beefing up traffic patrols in some of these areas to see whether that option could address neighbors' concerns. The delay also would give them more time to see whether the expensive traffic-calming structures already in place are having the intended effect.

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