Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Speed limit to go up near school

5 mph speed limit increase on U.S. Highway 56 jars principal

July 26, 2007


— While most motorists will be pleased the speed limit is being raised on U.S. Highway 56, Tom Mundinger clearly isn't one of them.

Mundinger, principal at Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center, said he was shocked to hear the speed limit in front of his school will go up, from 55 mph to 60 mph.

One mile west of Baldwin City, traffic flows on U.S. Highway 56 in a no passing zone. The Kansas Department of Transportation is planning to increase the speed on U.S. 56 from 55 mph to 60 mph in about a month.

One mile west of Baldwin City, traffic flows on U.S. Highway 56 in a no passing zone. The Kansas Department of Transportation is planning to increase the speed on U.S. 56 from 55 mph to 60 mph in about a month.

"If they are actually going to raise the speed limit in front of the school to 60, I'm just appalled," he said. "I can't believe anybody with any common sense in their right mind would raise the speed limit coming into town in front of a school to 60 mph. Frankly, it should be reduced instead of raised, especially coming from the top of that hill coming down in front of the school."

The highway that runs in front of the school, which is on Baldwin City's western side, is heavily traveled. A hill west of the school creates a blind spot for motorists traveling on U.S. 56, according to Mundinger and Baldwin City Police Chief Mike McKenna.

Traffic on the highway in Douglas County has increased as much as 50 percent in recent years, particularly near the Douglas-Johnson county line.

Ten years ago, traffic along the highway in Douglas County ranged from 1,750 vehicles daily on the western side of the county to about 2,765 vehicles on the eastern side. By 2006, the numbers ranged from 1,775 to 4,550.

KDOT spokeswoman Kim Qualls said the speed limit increase will affect U.S. 56 in Osage, Douglas and Johnson counties. She said the change, effective in about a month, will make that entire stretch uniform.

Transportation officials made the decision after undertaking a traffic study because requests were made to raise the limit.

Speed limit increased to 60 mph on Hwy. 56

Speed limits are going up on a busy highway that runs through southern Douglas County. Enlarge video

Qualls said KDOT and city officials have discussed whether the speed limit in front of the Baldwin City school should change. The new speed limit affects only areas that are outside cities - and that includes the stretch in front of the school.

"There is discussion between the city and KDOT about annexing that stretch and possibly addressing the situation," Qualls said. "The buffer zone is being considered. KDOT is sensitive to schools."

But Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman said no active discussions are under way between the city and KDOT.

"We've had some contacts with them about the speed limit in front of the school, and I know I've referred a few residents to make contact with them as well," Dingman said. "Annexing that stretch is an option that would help, but it hasn't progressed much further than the discussion stage at this point."

McKenna said it's something that should be done.

"I think that's something the (city) council will have to address and I'm sure the safety committee will address it," McKenna said. "Hopefully, it's something we can all come to an agreement on with KDOT.

"That area has always concerned me, especially with the growth in that area and the school."


OnlyTheOne 10 years, 11 months ago

freashpowder you should immediately seek professional counseling!

As for KDOT counseling doesn't do any good.

average 10 years, 11 months ago

A fair solution is that KDOT can raise the speed limit after they provide a low-speed alternative (extend Elm street to the school?). Preferably an alternative with a nice wide sidewalk/rec path so at least some kids could actually WALK to school (or ride bikes).

b_asinbeer 10 years, 11 months ago

Ummm...freashpowder, you've got serious issues.

WiseOne 10 years, 11 months ago

Maybe they should lower it to 30 MPH like Eudora, than use it for a speed trap! They could sit in the parking lot and run radar, just like Eudora. Think of the income for the city!

purplesage 10 years, 11 months ago

I have contacted KDOT a few times about speed limits, school crosswalks, intersections, etc. They are very polite. And they don't listen at all. They have their traffic engineer rules about the number a severity of accidents that have to occur before certain changes can be made. Common sense is not part of the equation

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

Exactly how are they able to do this, anyway?

I thought it was state law that the speed limit in school zones had to be 20 mph? It shouldn't matter that it's located next to a state highway. Ever travelled on K-68 through Pomona? The speed limit lowers, even on the highway, while you're going through town. And when going past the school, the speed limit is 20...even though you're still on a state highway.

Of course, the Pomona school is within the town's city limits...I'm not sure about Baldwin...

It shouldn't make any difference, though, since state law still says school zones have to have 20 mph...

ramsrevenge 10 years, 11 months ago

Just curious, what was there first? The school or the highway? I'm just wondering who made the bonehead move.

camper 10 years, 11 months ago

Don't see a need to raise the speed limit.

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