Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2007

Input sought on traffic priorities through 2030

September 13, 2007


Reader poll
What should the city's Transportation 2030 plan emphasize most?

or See the results without voting

Traffic pushes through the 1300 block of 23rd Street on Thursday in this file photo. Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commissioners are asking for public comment on Transportation 2030, a federally mandated plan that spells out the area's top transportation needs.

Traffic pushes through the 1300 block of 23rd Street on Thursday in this file photo. Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commissioners are asking for public comment on Transportation 2030, a federally mandated plan that spells out the area's top transportation needs.

Douglas County looking to the future of transportation

Community leaders want to know how you want to get around Douglas County years down the road. They're putting together the Transportation 2030 Plan. Enlarge video

Blankety-blank 23rd Street. The South Lawrence Trafficway. Roundabouts, roundabouts, roundabouts.

Douglas County motorists, here's your chance to do something other than just drive the roads. Community leaders want your help in planning them.

City and county planners will host three meetings during the next two weeks, seeking ideas from the public on what major transportation projects or initiatives should be undertaken between now and 2030.

"We really want to know what they think is important," said Anson Gock, senior transportation planner for the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department. "Whether it is new roadways, transit service, sidewalks, bicycles, or just ideas on how to make things safer, we want to hear them."

The meetings are part of a countywide planning project dubbed Transportation 2030. The plan is required by federal regulators in order for the city to qualify for federal funding for road and transportation projects.

The plan must be updated every five years. City leaders said this most recent update is coming at a good time because the community needs to talk about several transportation issues.

"I think we all know we have a lot of critical needs when it comes to east-west traffic movement," Mayor Sue Hack said. "But we have to figure out how we're going to address them."

For Hack, that means discussions about a new interchange at Bob Billings Parkway and the South Lawrence Trafficway. It also means discussions about completing the eastern leg of the SLT, extending 31st Street eastward, and building a new east-west road north of Sixth Street, Hack said.

Other issues the plan is expected to address, Hack and Gock said, include:

¢ New roads and expansion of existing ones to serve development that is expected south of the Wakarusa River.

¢ The expectations of a transit service in the community.

¢ The role sidewalks, bicycle lanes and walking trails will play in the community's transportation system.

¢ How Douglas County roads will link with new, major roads in adjacent counties, such as roads that will be built to serve development expected at the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in Johnson County.

¢ The need for future bypasses or links to connect Kansas Highway 10 and the Kansas Turnpike.

¢ The future use of roundabouts and traffic-calming devices.

Ultimately, the plan will list major projects that the community plans to undertake through 2030. For example, the current plan - Transportation 2025 - lists $455 million worth of road projects.

Gock said this plan will try to include a list of projects that is deemed financially feasible based on how much money the county has received in federal funding in the past, and also how much local tax money is anticipated to be spent on transportation projects.

"We don't want this to be a pie-in-the-sky type of plan," Gock said.

The plan is being developed by a steering committee that includes City Commissioner Rob Chestnut, Douglas County Commissioner Bob Johnson, a host of planning commissioners, and several city and county department heads. After the committee hears the ideas and comments from the public, Gock said it will start deciding which projects to include in the plan.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission is responsible for approving the plan. Gock said the plan needs to be approved by the end of the year to meet federal regulations.

Area meetings

Planners will host three meetings designed to gather input on transportation needs from Douglas County motorists. The meetings will be:

¢ 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eudora City Hall, 4 E. Seventh St.

¢ 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Union Pacific Depot, 402 N. Second St., Lawrence.

¢ 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at Baldwin High School, 415 Eisenhower.


lunacydetector 10 years, 6 months ago

i hope this 'traffic planning 2030' isn't done like that joke out-dated as it rolled off the presses horizon 2020. in other words, i hope the fringe of our community isn't allowed to dictate to the masses their 'grand plan' and the professionals set this thing up. hopefully, they'll take into account the fads of traffic design - like raised medians (later to be removed a few short years later), access roads in front of everything, expensive roundabouts, etc, etc.

LogicMan 10 years, 6 months ago

Here's some more:

Widen 19th between Mass and Iowa.

Widen Louisiana between 19th and 31st.

Extend 31st east to 1600 E.

Right turn lane from northbound Iowa to eastbound 19th.

Right turn lanes from southbound Iowa to westbound 25th, 26th, and 27th.

Takeover Kasold from the curve to the SLT; widen it and replace the bridge.

Widen Monterey Way from Trail to 19th.

Reradius various right-turns to help buses and trucks move about/through town.

Add on/off ramps to Irving Hill Road bridge over Iowa, and then limit Engel traffic to right turns on 15th.

Work with KU to widen/redesign 15th from Iowa to Naismith to make a grander entrance to the major draw to this town!

lunacydetector 10 years, 6 months ago

widen 23rd street to 6 lanes with a center turn lane. encroach into the parking lots if needed. add right hand turn lanes along entrances. the businesses will sit closer to the road (a "smart growth" idea), then eminent domain all the homes behind the businesses and tear them down for additional parking lots, eminent domain all the homes along 23rd and tear them down as well, charge an impact fee to all the opponents of the SLT - to pay for all the government takings (opponents being those who've signed petitions, sent letters of protest, anyone part of the conspiracy to stop the SLT)......then we won't need the SLT anymore and all the weirdos will be happy, except their pocket book might hurt a little - but most of the opponents (i have a hunch) don't own anything and have resigned themselves to being renters/students for life.....

after all, we've been subsidizing the SLT delay at the behest of the SLT opponents for 20 years. it's time they start paying for the drama they've caused. we've already let them off the hook by subsizing their precious MT bus. let them pay for something for once. charge them an impact fee for their negative impact on lawrence.

happy friday!

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

More roads do not diminish congestion instead further complicate matters.

Take cars off the roads. Focus on: 1. Walkability 2. Public Transportation 3. Finish hike and bike paths

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 6 months ago

"Take cars off the roads. Focus on: 1. Walkability 2. Public Transportation 3. Finish hike and bike paths"

This might work in Merrill's alternate reality, but for the rest of us, real solutions are needed. Start with finishing the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 6 months ago

To me, the planned SLT is a crime against nature, culture and common sense. If we're serious about becoming a sustainable community, we need good pubic transit, bike lanes and -- as a sop to the KC/Top City commuters among us -- light rail to those cities. I would support better sidewalks and brick streets. And SUV drivers should be forced to ride recumbent bicycles while wearing dunce caps.

Lastly, It seems like most people have never heard of peak oil, as mentioned above. Take a moment to learn about it, then you may choose to vote for bike lanes and public transit...

KS 10 years, 6 months ago

First and foremost, finish the freakin SLT. Beyond that, more roundabouts. They are the greatest thing since sliced bread and cold beer. If you can't negotiate them, turn in your Wal-Mart issued driver's license.

Jean1183 10 years, 6 months ago

Build the SLT.

Extend 31st to 1600.

Widen Louisiana between 23rd and 31st.

gccs14r 10 years, 6 months ago

Quit building new roads until you can reliably maintain the old ones. Hire some Europeans to build and operate a proper public transportation system that includes interurban rail to KC and Topeka. Quit planning for and building sprawl. Suburbia was bad urban planning in the 50s and it's bad urban planning now. Think about a sustainable future for your grandchildren, not about short-term profits for your developer buddies.

Confrontation 10 years, 6 months ago

It'll be interesting to see how many posters will actually show up at these meetings. There will be three meetings, so I'm sure you can all find times in your busy LJWorld schedule to attend.

JerkStore 10 years, 6 months ago

I agree with stream47 about the monorail!

They have monorails in Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrooke, and by gum, it put them on the map ...

kshiker 10 years, 6 months ago

Peak oil is a myth. Oil reserves are based on a calculation involving the quantity of petroleum products in a given country which are "economically recoverable." As the price of oil continues to increase, the amount of petroleum products in every country will continue to increase as it becomes more economically feasible to recover those products. Once this calculation has been recompleted in the coming years, Canada will possess the largest quantity of proven oil reserves in the world. As this alleged "global warming" business continues to advance, if the alarmists theories hold true, we will have access to a vast amount of oil and gas deposits in the Arctic. Fossil fuels will continue to be available at the same level well into the latter half of the 21st century.

ralphralph 10 years, 6 months ago

Finish the SLT, and alot of the 23rd St. traffic ... the "through" part of it ... will go out there.

johnadavies 10 years, 6 months ago

Maybe widen 23rd and IOWA to superfreeways like Wichita did with Kellogg. Maybe checkpoints on the city outskirts that only allow people that live here to drive here. You could have huge parking lots outside of town and an effective shuttle bus or light rail system that could take everyone to KU for school or games or whatever. Maybe aggressive video camera systems combined with some sort of embedded car id system that would shut down the cars of people guilty of not going where they're supposed to go; let the computer be the judge of that! This is "traffic calming" taken to the ultimate end.

erod0723 10 years, 6 months ago

"It might make a lot of sense if Lawrence, part of which is a bedroom community for Topeka and Johnson County, adopts other means of transportation, like trains or monorails which can operate using electricity."

As we all know, electricity is magic and does not require non-renewable resources to be used to create it.... wait a minute.....

camper 10 years, 6 months ago

Voiceof Reason. Thanks for tellin everyone that you make good money. What do you do? What skill do you have? Tell us.

kshiker 10 years, 6 months ago

Logrithmic --

Let me attempt to grasp the central part of your argument. So a reduction of 20% in overall traffic flow on 23rd Street as the result of completion of the SLT is NOT a substantial reduction? I'm no traffic engineer (judging from your post, you are neither), but that sounds like a fairly substantial reduction (even if I have doubts about the veracity of your numbers).

Having said that, I do agree that it would be nice to improve the function of 23rd Street and make it into more of a traditional thoroughfare with less commercial signage and more green space. The current 23rd Street is ugly and crowded. Diverting even 20% of the current traffic flow to the SLT would accomplish a portion of your goal.

gccs14r 10 years, 6 months ago

If the traffic bottleneck on 23rd is from non-local traffic, another way to reduce it is to take out K-10 and force traffic to/from KC to use the Turnpike.

gccs14r 10 years, 6 months ago


I don't consider traffic that terminates in Lawrence to be through traffic. Through traffic would be someone from Eudora going to Overbrook via K-10 and US-59. One of the oft-touted "benefits" of the SLT has been the routing of JoCo truck traffic around Lawrence, but that implies that they're going to hop on US-40, which is yet another road that shouldn't carry heavy trucks. It's far better to encourage truckers to use the Turnpike and avoid Lawrence entirely, rather than build a road that we'll have to pay to maintain as they pound it to pieces.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

""Take cars off the roads. Focus on: 1. Walkability 2. Public Transportation 3. Finish hike and bike paths"

This might work in Merrill's alternate reality, but for the rest of us, real solutions are needed. Start with finishing the South Lawrence Trafficway."

More roads do not diminish congestion instead further complicate matters. The saying goes build more roads more cars will come. Not the greatest thought. More new roads cost all taxpayers more tax dollar money from now until forever...not a great solution. More new roads breed more new traffic and breeds more new taxes.

Higher gas prices may well diminish the need for a bypass as commuters decide to relocate realizing a bottle of wine is more rewarding not to mention far more relaxing than $75 tankfuls of gasoline.

One tank could easily represent 7 or 8 decent bottles of wine or 10 pizzas from Rudy's or several good books or 3-5 bags of groceries or 25 containers of organic strawberries or 23 brews from the Free State or 7-9 salads from Ingredient or 4-5 board games or 10 dinners from local burger or 12 dinners from La Parilla or 15 movie tickets or a new down coat for the child or maybe 2 or 11 hostas or one each energy efficient full spectrum floor and desk lamp from Cottins all for the price of one gas tank fill up.

camper 10 years, 6 months ago

1) Change the highway speed limit to 55 M.P.H.

Susan Mangan 10 years, 6 months ago

I don't get why everyone insists that high gas prices will be the end-all of driving SUVs. I make plenty of money and I'll happy pay $100 for a tank because, apparently, the rest of the world can't afford that and won't be driving anymore. That's a small price to pay for the luxury of road all to myself.

Susan Mangan 10 years, 6 months ago

And build the SLT! For everyone so concerned about the MANMADE disease-producing, mosquito-infested swamp to the south, I'm sure thousands (if not millions) of tons of emissions would be eliminated if we didn't have to sit through eight stop lights between Haskell and Iowa. A 2 minute ride down the SLT, instead, would do wonders for the environment.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.