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Letters to the Editor

Replace depot

June 26, 2008

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To the editor:

I agree with the Lawrence City Commission's decision to talk to the railroad about acquiring the BNSF depot. Marty Kennedy was correct about visitors to Lawrence having a positive first impression. We should have a usable depot if Lawrence is to continue having increased rail traffic.

Regrettably, the railroad has determined a zero-cost maintenance program was best for them. Please consider tearing down the existing building and replacing it.

The railroad may still have the original architectural drawings and specs. Many of the type of building materials used may still be available. By updating items such as glass, roofing material and insulation, operational costs could be minimized. Also, plans for economical expansion could be included.

There is nothing special about the construction materials used, just the style of architecture. Please save everyone the expense and headaches associated with dilapidated building renovation.

Kim Lee Zimmerman,
Lawrence

Comments

hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 9 months ago

Amtrak should buy some food from The Hut to sell on the train. Amtrak food is terrible and overpriced and their excuses are about as lame as the excuses given by our local leaders.

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pomegranate 5 years, 9 months ago

Marion, your comment about the "hospitality" trailers and the women "greeters" Is the funniest thing I have read in a while. I am still laughing!

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jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

Ok,I think the government should either stop subsidizing Amtrak, or ensure a higher level of quality in train service.If they stopped subsidizing it, it might very well go out of business, as the fares are already higher than I'd like, even with subsidies.Hmm - if they are in fact collecting more revenue from tolls than they're spending on the roads, then toll charges should be reduced.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 9 months ago

When can I book the motorhome to take me to my destination? Will I be able to connect with the motorhome via the cable car from the top of Mt. Oread? You know, the cable car line that will be powered by the good folks from the Drop IN Center who will creat the power as they run around in the squirrel cage contraption. god, this town is on drugs and sooooo much fun. We all have so much idle time on our hands.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: >>>"self-immolation is not that much fun.""and you must be an expert on that point."I'm getting to be, Jackie, being subjected to your seemingly limitless capacity to continue embarassing yourself so badly."Wow, megalomania fella, it isn't very attractive."Again as evidenced by your posts, and my continued urgings for you to seek professional help."Still having a hard time twisting your mind around that we have no idea whose money it takes to build a road since it is a nationalized system, totally repulsive I'd think to such a basher of socialistic ideas."And yet again, Jackie is completely clueless.Yes, Jackie, we know exactly what we spend on roads, since that's part of the various levels of government's budgets, which are public records. But I'll save you the trouble of adding it all up.Since we know that every person in the country makes use of the roads, and that the government manages to find a few extra dollars for spending on other things, we know that the total amount spent on roads is less than the total amount of revenue collected from the users of those roads. Unfortunately, the users of passenger rail can not make the same claim.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 9 months ago

If the City had several motor homes set up as "hospitality rooms", many young women could be employed as "Greeters".

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LadyJ 5 years, 9 months ago

It always amazed me that the drivers could make that tight turn with the buses into the alley.

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LadyJ 5 years, 9 months ago

George_Braziller (Anonymous) says: What are you talking about? It's still there. It's where Free State Brewery is located. What was the waiting room is next door on the south.__________I quess I should have been clearer in my statement. I would rather have seen them keep the bus station downtown than the train station. I made many trips back and forth to Kstate every weekend from that station not to mention Topeka.

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JackRipper 5 years, 9 months ago

"self-immolation is not that much fun." and you must be an expert on that point. Wow, megalomania fella, it isn't very attractive.Still having a hard time twisting your mind around that we have no idea whose money it takes to build a road since it is a nationalized system, totally repulsive I'd think to such a basher of socialistic ideas. Yet, since is good for you like most boomers then you can deal with that socialist concept. Something that is in such demand having to be done by the government instead of free enterprise. Interesting, very interesting.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Ah but still, not making a profit and you are talking about the trains in the condition they are in now. The point being you don't make a profit with either one so it is bogus to say the rails should. Again, let's make the roads toll roads where it is clear which are making a profit or not and wouldn't be so close to the dreaded socialism you fear so much."Well, yes, Jackie, I am making a profit, since the commute carries me to the place where I earn my paycheck. Sorry, I forgot who I was talking to, and for some odd reason figured you could understand that. Of course, I could take the train and lose tens of thousands of dollars every year, but then, I'm not an idiot like you are."Again, let's make the roads toll roads where it is clear which are making a profit or not and wouldn't be so close to the dreaded socialism you fear so much."[sigh]I've already said that would be fine with me, Jackie. I use toll roads pretty frequently anyway. As long as I get back all the money I pay in taxes that pay for the roads now, I'll still come out ahead. And when you have to start paying the full cost of rail travel, Jackie, the last vestiges of those antiques will cease operation and we won't have to worry about listening to these tiring little rants of yours."And the more I think about it if roads are in so much demand by people how did they become socialized in the first place?"For pity's sake, Jack, read a book or something. I know in the other thread you contended "that socialism is when the government uses our money to do things," (http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/jun/25/city_wants_buy_depot/#comment_625201) but all you're doing is making an a of yourself and watching the self-immolation is not that much fun. Please, for the sake of people that might know who you are and don't want to keep hiding their faces in public, stop throwing around terms you obviously don't understand.***hawkperchedatriverfront (Anonymous) says: "I really like Marion's idea. The motorhome could come to your home to pick you up , kinda like a train shuttle."For the number of people we're talking about, it would likely be as cheap to have the motor home take them all the way to their final destination, not to the station.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 9 months ago

You know, Hawk, as cheap as those big motorhomes are getting, the City could actually afford two; use one for the stationi and one for a hospitality room.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 9 months ago

I really like Marion's idea. The motorhome could come to your home to pick you up , kinda like a train shuttle. If it is going to be knocked down why rebuild it? How come someonw could suggest to knock that buidling down, when there are others in town, that the owners want to knock down and people protest? This city is on drugs!

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 9 months ago

No more passengers than Amtrak has coming into Lawrence every day, what with rising gas prices, there are ons of realy nice motorhomes out there.The City could buy one and use it for the train station.

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soiledbrown 5 years, 9 months ago

maid marion-whom is your source?that's what i thought.do you live next to the railroad tracks that run through perry?ohhhh...you live on the "rich" side of town.

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JackRipper 5 years, 9 months ago

And the more I think about it if roads are in so much demand by people how did they become socialized in the first place? Man, with that kind of demand they would be an incredible business wouldn't they?

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JackRipper 5 years, 9 months ago

Ah but still, not making a profit and you are talking about the trains in the condition they are in now. The point being you don't make a profit with either one so it is bogus to say the rails should. Again, let's make the roads toll roads where it is clear which are making a profit or not and wouldn't be so close to the dreaded socialism you fear so much.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: Oh brother XD40, please show me the profit/loss statements for you car. "Please show me the name of the company that owns and maintains the roads."The name of that company, Jackie, is the Citizens of the United States of America - you know, the same people who use those roads. It's too bad the trains can't make the same claim."Oh brother XD40, please show me the profit/loss statements for you car. "Well, let's see:The train from Lawrence to Independence MO costs $29 each way. In a year, figuring 250 work days, that's $14,500 to commute. Oh, and let's remember that I'd have to leave the house hours earlier in the morning and I'd get home several hours later at night - every day. At what my time is worth, that's over $70,000 per year in wasted time. And I still have to drive the 20 miles to the train station (about $1200/year), and pay for parking (about $200/year). And take some kind of transportaion to and from the train station in Independence to where I work (another $600/year even if the bus were feasible - more for a taxi twice a day).The car I use for commuting, and was bought specifically for that purpose, cost me $1,200, and the yearly cost of gas is a little over $800. Hmmm ... in rough figures, it looks like I make a profit of over $84,000/year by driving my car instead of taking the train. Not to mention I can get more than three hours of sleep every night between train rides, and my kids might recognize me as someone they see more than just on the weekends.Even if every dime I pay in all forms of taxes (income, sales, fuel, property, motor vehicle and drivers license) went to pay for my share of the road (about 1/300,000,000 of the total cost), I'm still not even coming close to what it would cost me to ride the train. And even at that, those figures are with the 99% of the people in the country who don't ride the trains with me paying half my fare.Yep, sure sounds like a good deal to me, Jackie.

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JackRipper 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh brother XD40, please show me the profit/loss statements for you car. Please show me the name of the company that owns and maintains the roads. Oh my, how brainwashed we all are. I agree about the station which I'm sure is more about getting the land then it is restoring the station.

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XD40 5 years, 9 months ago

The city of Lawrence taking over the Amtrak depot IS one of the worst suggestions I've ever heard. Passenger trains are as dead as passenger pigeons. The trains don't make a profit and only run because of federal and/or state tax subsidies.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 9 months ago

Does Marty not realize that the first impression of Lawrence is really the vacant Tanger Mall? Those people on the train at midnight don't even pay a rat's butt to the stop at Lawrence. In the daytime, they are just crusing east. This isn't to say that the buidling may have merit to keep or demolish . But, why isn't the city commission more interested in having the burned out house on E 13th removed. Use CDBG funds to do it, if the owner/s don't have the funds. That fine neighborhood dwelling is an impression that every funeral procession gets of Brook Creek or so they want to be called. It is still East Lawrence. Where is the city commission on the boarded up Masonic Temple, that is an impression of downtown. Where is the commission on the vacant Carnegie, another vacant downtown building. Where is the commission on the cracked , broken in disrepair sidewalks around the public library not to mention the dirty interior. Where is the commiission on the total disrepair of all streets in town? Where is the commission on 1232 Louisiana which is a fire hazard and the state fire marshall says that the local jurisdiction has the authority to do something about it. Where is the Fire Chief on this matter? Marty talks about visitors first impression to Lawrence! If visitors talked to the commissioners and asked them a few questions, the visitors would have an everlasting impression!

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "And once we get closed minded people like nota off the car kick, manhood can be defined in other ways, perhaps more trains could be added to the system we have so early morning hours aren't the only times the Amtrak comes into town."And once we can get Jackie-boy back on his meds, maybe he'll stop thinking ten people per day represents a boom in demand for train service. Maybe even the people in charge of Amtrak aren't delusional enough to think that the ten people per day using the train to/from Lawrence warrant more trains, Jackie.By the way, Jackie, you seem fixated on this whole lost-manhood theme tonight. In the words of the bard (that's a reference to Shakespearre, Jackie - maybe you can find someone to tell you who he was): he "doth protest too much, methinks." Is there something you need to share, Jacquie? Something you need to get off your chest? We're here for ya' buddy. Heck, pay more attention to TV commercials, there's even medications avilable now that might help with your 'little' problem.

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George_Braziller 5 years, 9 months ago

What are you talking about? It's still there. It's where Free State Brewery is located. What was the waiting room is next door on the south._____LadyJ (Anonymous) says: Remember the bus station that use to be downtown? I would rather have kept that.

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bearded_gnome 5 years, 9 months ago

If the BNSF depot is sufficiently rehabbed, it could double as the bus depot. That wouldn't be a bad thing, especially if the sidewalk from there to downtownwere cleaned up and given better lighting. It could also be a stop on a T route. Lawrence hauptbahnhof, anyone?---GCCSI don't disagree, and ladyj's idea of airport shuttle, too. it could be a very useful place for lawrence residents and lawrence visitors. but, it is still a luxury, and we don't have a place in the budget for luxuries! get private funding. get nonprofit funding. heck, do lemode stands FGS! just don't tap another city of lawrence dollar! and, they want to tack on a recycling fee to my sanitation bill? some of the same people in rail redux! what planet do these people live on? should read "lemonade stands."

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George_Braziller 5 years, 9 months ago

I think that this has to be the most idiotic letter to the editor I have ever read in my 26 years that I have lived in Lawerence. Tear it down and rebuild it exactly the way it was? Why not tear it down and turn it into something that it never was like the west side of the 600 block of Mass? Oooohhhh, maybe even better, create another horrific Florida resort that want to pretend that it's "cool" like Bella Serra. Bleah! Makes me want to barf whenever I see it.

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LadyJ 5 years, 9 months ago

gccs14r -- I would have to see a written agreement between the bus companies committing to use the depot and written agreement from Amtrak also saying they would go along with it before I would even think about supporting it. Having a airport shuttle service running out of there would be nice too.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 9 months ago

Put in a Church's Fried Chicken.There isn't a chicken place that side of town.

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Confrontation 5 years, 9 months ago

Tear it down and bring in a double-wide trailer. Let the visitors know what's truly happened to our city budget.

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gccs14r 5 years, 9 months ago

If the BNSF depot is sufficiently rehabbed, it could double as the bus depot. That wouldn't be a bad thing, especially if the sidewalk from there to downtown were cleaned up and given better lighting. It could also be a stop on a T route. Lawrence hauptbahnhof, anyone?

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LadyJ 5 years, 9 months ago

How many streets could this amount repair, how many new police officers could be hired? The city is having financial problems and needs to use it's money for necessities just like struggling families are having to do right now. This is a luxury item not a necessity, the commissioners have no business saddling taxpayers with something they don't need. Put it to a vote if nothing else, we have an election coming up, put it on the ballot.

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bearded_gnome 5 years, 9 months ago

you are correct jafs. please city commissioners, please don't spend a dollar on this. this is a moneypit! and, we're having a sales tax election to raise money just to repair our streets! **jerry, you need to go back and read the article from the other day on this boondoggle. city staff estimates $400,000 to take care of ADA compliance (possibly the real reason the BNSF wants to ditch this building), a couple hundred thousand $$ for other fixes, $60,000 annual maintenance. I think that especially the ADA compliance, is seriously understated! the LTE writer has a point, it might be better to start from scratch; however this, too, would demand scarce city dollars. this is a luxury we simply can't afford. put down the credit card, and walk away!

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jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

This seems odd to me - aren't most train stations owned, maintained, and operated by, let's see...railroad companies?

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JackRipper 5 years, 9 months ago

Because it sits on the wrong train tracks. The only Amtrak in Lawrence runs on BNSF tracks which are on the south side of the river. And once we get closed minded people like nota off the car kick, manhood can be defined in other ways, perhaps more trains could be added to the system we have so early morning hours aren't the only times the Amtrak comes into town.

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blue73harley 5 years, 9 months ago

pomegranate - I've been around Larryville for over 30 years but I don't know the answer to that question either. Maybe it is a safety issue because of the location?

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pomegranate 5 years, 9 months ago

I am fairly new to town, and I am just wondering why the beautiful tourist info center is not being used as a real depot. It would be a great first time, or any time view of Lawrence. Is there something wrong with it?

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LadyJ 5 years, 9 months ago

How many tickets are sold for people traveling from Lawrence for the bus and how many are sold for Amtrak?

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consumer1 5 years, 9 months ago

Good call ladyJ You are correct, except the people who come by bus are, uhmmmm let me see how would we describe bus riders??? Oh yeah, Ewwwww they are icky poor people !! Train patrons are much more sophisticated. We don't need to impress poor people they are not shopping downtown. Hey commissioners, what about the icky poor people who ride the bus into Lah-wrence, don't they deserve to be impressed on their first visit???

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LadyJ 5 years, 9 months ago

I think it is funny that they are worried about the few people that come to Lawrence by train but not the bus which has to use a gas station. Remember the bus station that use to be downtown? I would rather have kept that. Nobody was worried about saving that historical icon. Does entering into such an agreement with Amtrak set a precedent that would cause other businesses to expect the same treatment from the city?

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cool 5 years, 9 months ago

the depot buildinig is worth saving.a great place to start light rail to Kansas City.

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macon47 5 years, 9 months ago

i am always amused when these grass rootliberal groups come up with ways to spendour money for their pleasure.why dont they pony up some of their own bucks?what a bunch of whiners.they just want another freemeeting room out of the dealso they can meet in massand think of more warmand fuzzy money pits forthe city to invest in.

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JerryStubbs 5 years, 9 months ago

If you go down there and walk around it and look closely, you'll see it's in pretty good shape, considering. It is a low maintenance building by design, brick with aluminum windows. Flat roofs never last forever. It could use new linoleum and other cosmetics. I don't know a whole lot about the deal, but I haven't read any timetable of required upgrades after the purchase. It might have to coast along a few more years, which couldn't be any worse than the BNSF no-maintenance.If we get Federal money to refurbish it and use local labor, that might be a good thing for our economy, plus it would be under city management so we would have control over it and be able to use it for other things. At any rate, I would take any estimates that call for huge expenditures with a grain of salt. They haven't done anything to that building for years and it's still standing and working.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 9 months ago

I was told by BNSF that it would only consider selling the building to the City and that no private groups are in play.

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cato_the_elder 5 years, 9 months ago

To the letter writer: If you want this, please feel free to pay the $1 purchase price for the building, tear it down, and rebuild a new one with your own funds. The City will presumably provide you with all necessary permits to move forward.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I find it very interesting that the Libs whine about Lawrence becoming a so-called "bedroom community" while at the same time, advocating for massive expenditures to establish renewed passenger rail service beween River City and KC!Too funny!

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

"Marty Kennedy was correct about visitors to Lawrence having a positive first impression. We should have a usable depot if Lawrence is to continue having increased rail traffic."As I said in one of the other threads on this topic, it would be cheaper to hire someone to go out and personally greet the ten people or so that use the depot on an average day.

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