Archive for Friday, November 2, 2007

City: 31st St. extension needed

Lawrence city commissioners agreed Thursday that 31st Street must be extended from Haskell Avenue to O'Connell Road to alleviate east-west traffic congestion. They also agreed that the road should have a boulevard design that promotes usage by local traffic and lower speeds.

Lawrence city commissioners agreed Thursday that 31st Street must be extended from Haskell Avenue to O'Connell Road to alleviate east-west traffic congestion. They also agreed that the road should have a boulevard design that promotes usage by local traffic and lower speeds.

November 2, 2007


City leaders debate 31st St. extension

A vision for a new Lawrence road to relieve East-West traffic congestion began to take shape this morning as city commissioners brainstormed how to extend 31st St. from Haskell Ave. to O'Connell Road. Enlarge video

Reader poll
Lawrence City Commissioners are considering a route for extending 31st Street from Haskell Avenue to O'Connell Road to alleviate east-west traffic congestion. Which route do you prefer?

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Lawrence city commissioners agreed Thursday that 31st Street must be extended from Haskell Avenue to O'Connell Road to alleviate east-west traffic congestion.

They also agreed that the road should have a boulevard design that promotes usage by local traffic and lower speeds.

"This is not going to be a de facto South Lawrence Trafficway," Mayor Sue Hack said. "We want green space, narrower lanes to slow traffic, bike lanes, walkways."

But commissioners were told at a Thursday morning meeting that they have to make a decision about whether to run the road straight ahead on existing right-of-way, which would put the project close to the city-operated Mary's Lake.

"It would be very close to the dam," said Ernie Shaw, interim director of the Parks and Recreation Department. "We would have some concerns about noise and other issues with all the classes and events we have out there."

Another option would be to move the road a quarter-mile south.

It is unknown which option is more affordable. No new right-of-way is needed for the first option, but the route could be costly to build because it goes through hilly, rough terrain.

By going south, the road would miss the most severe terrain, but right-of-way would be needed.

Commissioners said an engineering study should include cost comparisons and options.

The study - which will be conducted by Wilson & Company Engineers and Architects - likely will be the first step in a long process. Funding for the extension hasn't been identified, but Public Works Director Chuck Soules said the project would cost more than the $6 million it cost to rebuild Kasold Drive between Bob Billings Parkway and Clinton Parkway.

The city has received $792,000 in federal funding for the road, enough for right-of-way and preliminary design work, Soules said.


someoneelse 10 years, 4 months ago

"This is not going to be a de facto South Lawrence Trafficway,"

Yes it will.

Saying the intent is to promote usage by local traffic seems backwards, to me. There is no local traffic on Haskell that would not still use Haskell. Where would they be going, locally, that is not more easily accessible from Haskell? Prairie Park II subdivision? How much traffic would that constitute?

What it would do, in my opinion, is discourage the use of Haskell by non-local traffic, which essentially makes it a "de facto South Lawrence Trafficway". If the design and structure of it does, in fact, promote only local traffic, then it seems like a complete waste of resources, to me.

If it ends up being a "de facto South Lawrence Trafficway", then we will have the problem of traffic at K-10 and O'Connell. This, inevitably, will require a traffic light. Just think about how dangerous it would be without one. Drivers already use the shoulders of K-10 as an on-ramp when entering east bound, and a turn lane when exiting south onto O'Connell. That will put us back where we started, except that the congestion will now extend to O'Connell.

Look, if you are actually just trying to promote more growth in the concerned area, I don't necessarily have a problem with that. Just say it.

rtwngr 10 years, 4 months ago

Just do the SLT on the 32nd st alignment and be done with it already!

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

Going South and using 1000rd will do a few things. It improves the road which needs to be done and will be done in the near future. !000rd is a direct connection into JOCO. 1000 rd easily connects to K-10 at 1057/E1900 rd.

Avoid Mary's lake and Prairie Park Nature Center to avoid any kind of resistance. The Park Department has well over $1,000,000( one million) tax dollars invested in that property. Why screw it up?

Due to the fact that it is running though a neighborhood use a 3 lane design not four.

*There are a number of potential benefits relating to a three-lane roadway section including:
- Improved Vehicle Safety - Improved Pedestrian Safety - Traffic Calming - Improved Emergency Response Time - Potential Bike Accommodation - Relatively inexpensive

*Improved Vehicle Safety This potential benefit is self explanatory. There is an elimination of drivers changing lanes to pass slower vehicles. Speeds are limited by the speed of the lead vehicle. This will reduce the number of side-swipes. Also reduced are the number of rear-end crashes, as vehicles are now using the left-turn lane. Studies have shown a reduction in the total number of crashes ranging from 17 to 62 percent

The severity of the crashes has also decreased.

*Improved Pedestrian Safety
Pedestrian may benefit because they have fewer lanes of traffic to cross and because motor vehicles are likely to be moving more slowly. Currently there may not be room for placement of sidewalks within the vicinity of the roadway; by reducing the number of lanes, right of ways may have room to provide pedestrian facilities.

*The three-lane configuration allows pedestrians to focus on one-lane of traffic at a time and medians or left-turn lanes can provide a refuge for pedestrians if needed.

*While the left-turn lanes are active lanes, they would have lower traffic volumes and slower speeds.

  • Three-lane roadways create a more comfortable environment for pedestrians with less noise due to slower and more consistent traffic speeds.

Traffic Calming * Studies show that narrow roadways decrease the speed motorists feel comfortable traveling. In fact, studies found a dramatic reduction of excessive speeding (five miles per hour or faster).

*Another result of the three-lane configuration is lower speed variability which creates a more predictable and consistent travel environment.

  • Improved Emergency Response Time
    Emergency vehicles may use the left-turn lane as a means to travel unimpeded along a busy roadway.

*Potential Bike Accommodation and Streetscape The reduction in roadway cross section may provide additional room for use as a bike lane.

*In addition, the change could create opportunities for visual enhancements and streetscape improvements.

A defacto trafficway...of course it is.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

The road no matter which is chosen should be constructed as far out as 1057/E1900 rd/K10 interchange to avoid very very expensive work at McConnell Rd and K 10. Make wise use of an existing interchange at the 1057/E1900rd interchange ..... think about saving tax dollars for a change. The far greater lions share of the traffic IS NOT going to East Hills business park.

If the road connects to the existing 1057 interchange K-10 can handle East Hills Buisness Park for many years into the NOT need anymore not necessary roads.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

What about Haskell Indian Nations University?

Use 1000 rd.

kshiker 10 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Merrill for your intelligent suggestions. But I guess the City should probably rely on qualified traffic engineers for traffic-related recommendations. Perhaps you should go back to school and get a degree in engineering if you want to work on these issues. Just a suggestion!

monkeyhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Is this part of the Deciphera deal? Or, could this be a needed route for all the toxic waste that will be coming out of Farmland?

It is a shame that anything our commissioners propose needs to be examined very closely, and that nothing is as it appears.

All these grandiose plans while our existing streets continue to deteriorate.

"We want green space, narrower lanes to slow traffic, bike lanes, walkways." If that is the case, why bother? Obviously this is not meant to move traffic more efficiently, merely a continuation of "smart growth" ideas.

BigPrune 10 years, 4 months ago

Why do they want to narrow a road that will be congested and who exactly is going to be walking out there? Hitchhikers?

Steve Jacob 10 years, 4 months ago

People above are right about this being a "de facto South Lawrence Trafficway". Rough guess is 20% of all people who turn left/north onto Haskell from 31st (including more and more 18 wheelers), go onto K-10 toward Eudora or KC.

50YearResident 10 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, send it 1/2 mile south and build 2 bridges for it to go over the SLT and back to the north side. That makes a lot of sense. If the SLT is ever going to be finished it will be on the 1/2 mile south route. Understand?

Janet Lowther 10 years, 4 months ago

Be real folks: This will be a de facto South Lawrence Trafficway, and constructing traffic hazards (so-called "traffic calming devices") will lead to accidents and lawsuits arising from an intentionally hazardous road.

true_patriot 10 years, 4 months ago

This is so ridiculous. That road is the current east boundary of the southeast part of the city and there is already development planned east of it. Why in the world would we want to spend any money building the final leg of the K-10 bypass through the city. By the time it was even completed it would be inside city limits, and we need an artery significantly east of the city, not inside it or right along the current boundary.

I guess inventing and slipping in tax "rebates" to avoid the abatement process to give gifts to Sue Hack's cronies only encourages them to play fast and loose with our money rather than actually think seriously and plan ahead more than a year or two.

budwhysir 10 years, 4 months ago

oh so this is ok as long as it has the typical BLVD feel so the towns people will use it? But we can agree on the SLT to keep the out of town people from making my 10 min drive home at night into a 1 hr ordeal with fighting all the traffic of people trying to get home after working or living outside the city limits??????????????? Oh well I know my thoughts are as non important as they come. If we are going to do this lets make sure we have 5 or 6 roundabouts and a few bike lanes that wont be used. Oh yea we need to make sure this road is built so it will be full of chuck holes within a few months. Then when it needs to be redone, we can patch part of it like they did 31st street.

Better yet, why not finish the project on Haskell and put a new road against the new curbs we just spent mega money on. Its not rocket sience to figure all this out. The SLT is the road to no where so why not add another problem in the mix.

Thats_messed_up 10 years, 4 months ago

I'd like to know from our wizard commissioners why a trucking hub/warehouse called PackerWare is allowed to operate on TWO LANE haskell. This trucking operation appears to have 30 to 50 big rigs operating in and out of a huge warehouse. Drive by and see it for yourself- it's at 29th or 30th street and Haskell. Another reason for torn up streets and gridlock.

budwhysir 10 years, 4 months ago

Streets where made to create work for city workers, not to be a benefit of those who think they have the right to drive on them. Come on people, get with the program.

budwhysir 10 years, 4 months ago

I say, extend this street clear into kansas city and let them pay to maintain the roadways. Thats where we are headed anyway. Lets get a grip, are we in any position to enlarge the already growing street problems we have?? Why not make sure the roadways already in place are in good shape prior to building new ones. Put in some new curbs along our already pitted streets. Plant seasonal flowers in all the roundabouts. and repaint the markings for the bike lanes that are already not being used. Also, lets make sure and ignore our existing signs and stop lights. I notice many of the street lights are still working, make sure the lights burn out.

Jerry Stubbs 10 years, 4 months ago

If traffic is so bad in that area, why aren't there any traffic lights along 31st Street?

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