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Archive for Sunday, November 16, 2008

Turnpike seeks roundabout ‘great ideas’

This large round-about on the north side of I-70 at the West Lawrence interchange could be the location for a sculpture or other structure if Douglas County, the city of Lawrence or KU has something in mind and the money for the project. Although not to scale, this illustration shows how the sculpture "Mobility" by Shellie Bender might look placed in the roundabout. The sculpture is currently located in front of the Union Pacific Depot and Lawrence Visitors Center.

This large round-about on the north side of I-70 at the West Lawrence interchange could be the location for a sculpture or other structure if Douglas County, the city of Lawrence or KU has something in mind and the money for the project. Although not to scale, this illustration shows how the sculpture "Mobility" by Shellie Bender might look placed in the roundabout. The sculpture is currently located in front of the Union Pacific Depot and Lawrence Visitors Center.

November 16, 2008

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What would you do?

Kansas Turnpike Authority is looking to spruce up its roundabouts in Lawrence, and now you have an opportunity to speak up.

Whether you'd favor planting simple trees, installing bronze statues of Lawrence icons (anyone for Mario Chalmers hitting "The Shot"?) or otherwise adorning the nondescript grass mounds with something else, e-mail your name and your suggestions to mfagan@ljworld.com".

We'll compile a list for consideration by city, Douglas County and Kansas University leaders as they decide whether to accept the opportunity offered by turnpike boss Michael Johnston himself: to provide "a prominent location for some type of 'signature' display for the community or university, or both."

Related document

What would you do? ( .PDF )

Attention, city, county and KU leaders:

The Kansas Turnpike has a deal for you.

As pillars of the community, you have the opportunity to select something - anything, really - to go into the middle of two of the newest, highest-visibility roundabouts this side of the Chi Omega Fountain: one soon to open at exit 202, which feeds onto Iowa Street and toward the main entrance to Kansas University and another to be built in 2010 at exit 204, which empties into North Lawrence.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, would be to settle on that "something," then finance its installation and ongoing maintenance.

"The inside diameter of each roundabout is 184 feet, so there is plenty of room to accommodate great ideas," wrote Michael Johnston, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, in a letter to officials.

No word yet on whether the community partners are willing to take advantage of the opportunity, at least in any tangible way, although representatives of all three players have agreed to huddle up and, perhaps, devise a game plan.

Their takes:

¢ David Corliss, Lawrence city manager: "We're going to discuss and explore possibilities and communicate back to the turnpike authority here in the coming weeks."

¢ Lynn Bretz, a KU spokeswoman: "We'd be delighted to sit down with the city and county and discuss possibilities."

¢ Craig Weinaug, Douglas County administrator: "I don't have any opinions about what ought to be in a traffic circle, but it's something we could get excited about."

The roundabouts are part of the authority's $130 million project to update the interchanges and replace bridges in the area, including the two turnpike bridges that span the Kansas River at the northern edge of town.

The roundabouts are the first of their kind to be installed at turnpike interchanges, and therefore would be the first to accommodate community-financed features.

Otherwise, each roundabout would be little more than a one-lane ring of traffic-carrying concrete surrounding a gently sloped, grass-covered mound.

"There are many possibilities," said Lisa Callahan, a spokeswoman for the turnpike authority. "It's an opportunity to showcase the area - the city and county and university - in kind of a unique way. : It could be anything. It could be natural landscape, with maybe even just a small sign. It could be a (larger) sign. It could be a sculpture.

"I guess it's only limited to imagination, and then funding - and that can be limiting."

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, what a great selection of ideas! I thought I was the only reader that thought that this article was crap. In a time where all governmental entities are pleading poverty and starvation, some dolt comes up with this stupid and crazy idea. Now, folks, do you see what you get when you don't pay attention to who you elect? Of course, as we have seen in the City of Lawrence, elected officials really do not do anything, they shove these things off on "staff", hired, unelected employees who are acountable to no one. This is where we get this kind of garbage, allowing our society and government to be run by nitwits with oarmeal for brains. Art, indeed!! Any Billy-Bob mechanic who took welding class can collect up the waste materials of some productive enterprise, weld them together and spray paint it and call it art. How easily our electronically-addled society can be flummoxed at a time when the dollars needed to provide basic services is being wasted by worthelss public officials who live on Pluto.

John Hamm 6 years, 1 month ago

Native grasses - then leave it alone.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 1 month ago

Now that gas prices have come down, and I have money to burn, I'm looking forward the the Mobius-stripabout, replete with roadside distractions sure to promote the incurrence of even more deductible payouts!

nobody1793 6 years, 1 month ago

Just let some native prarie grass grow so that there is no cost, no mowing, no watering. KU shouldn't even be in discussions about this. The city should have more sense. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Confrontation 6 years, 1 month ago

A Jayhawk should be in the center. We don't want people who visit Lawrence to have to look at more junk art like that crap on Mass Street. They're already bombarded with enough of that.

Janet Lowther 6 years, 1 month ago

How about a nice statue of Joseph Stalin? It would go nicely with the political direction of Lawrence and I'm sure the Russians have some nice ones which haven't been melted yet. . . 9-)

Amy McVey 6 years, 1 month ago

Honey, I'm sorry. I looked at our budget and we don't have the money for this. I vote native grass.

classclown 6 years, 1 month ago

Put Naughty But Nice inside the roundabout.

classclown 6 years, 1 month ago

DonQuipunch according to this sentence that is in the article, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, would be to settle on that "something," then finance its installation and ongoing maintenance.", I highly doubt tolls will fund it.

50YearResident 6 years, 1 month ago

A sea of red flowers like tulips. Nothing over 12 inches high to block the view of oncomming traffic and cause accidents. Draught resistant varieties of low growing plants and absolutely no fountain or high maintanance structures that involve having to supply water or electricity.

imagold 6 years, 1 month ago

A Dunkin Donuts or Sonic would be good.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 1 month ago

Holographic cylinder of classic Yes performance,with graded-pavement audio..."I'll be the roundaboutThe words will make you out 'n' outYou change the day your wayCall it morning driving thru the sound...."

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 1 month ago

A giant bronze statue of Richard Heckler, king of the roundabouts!

HermanBubbert 6 years, 1 month ago

Drought tolerant, no-maintenance, native prairie grasses and forbs -- this is how ALL roadways and interchanges should be managed. Not only will that preserve our vanishing prairie ecosystems, it will save us taxpayers vast amounts of money.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 1 month ago

A "T" bus stop?? It will get more use there than most of the ones plunked down along Lawrence streets.

David Albertson 6 years, 1 month ago

How about an elevated Jayhawk surrounded with native grass, trees, flowers, etc..

RomanNose 6 years, 1 month ago

We should put in a giant colossus of that guy with the socks on his hands.

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

Have to go with either native grasses or turn it into a pond. Either way, it should be as close to zero maintenance as they can make it, and no local tax dollars to fund it. I'm still mad that we somehow decided that it's OK for the "temporary" toll to be permanent. That road was supposed to be paid for and turned over to the State decades ago.

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

The City should become a sister city with some city in Mother Russia. They might get one of their old statues in return like this one:http://farm1.static.flickr.com/188/433449773_73c4f3d920.jpg?v=0Since everyone else in Kansas calls us the People's Republic of Lawrence, this would pretty much sum it up wouldn't it? :)

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 1 month ago

Why erect? Dig a rain-filled wishing well, and mine for copper.

BuffyloGal 6 years, 1 month ago

A changing display of flowers and colors that spell out different messages to the drivers. Go Jayhawks in blue and red. Happy Holidays in green and white. Happy Father's Day in whatever color is in season, etc. It would provide ongoing amusement to the commuter and ongoing employment for the gardening team.

somebodynew 6 years, 1 month ago

Here is a "Great Idea" - leave it blank and empty -just like our budgets and our wallets.

cowboy 6 years, 1 month ago

How bout a tornado with dorothy and toto swirling about in it , surely the physicists here in town can figure out how to do it. Maybe even a holographic tornado , how cool , all the stoners would stop in the roundabout tho !

old_man 6 years, 1 month ago

This would be a waste of our taxpayer dollars in a time where every dollar should be spent wisely.

KsTwister 6 years, 1 month ago

Aim that thing towards city hall and put a magnifying lens in it while your at it. Another addition to global warming, Quantrill could have waited they until do it to themselves. The citizens could use some legal help to stop the stupidity.

persevering_gal 6 years, 1 month ago

How about we fix up some of these nasty potholes all around town first - especially if a high number of people in Lawrence don't use the turnpike on a daily basis? And I'm not talking about putting a layer of tar over the potholes that will wear out after only a few weeks!

Bladerunner 6 years, 1 month ago

The city is cutting services and and employee benefits while continuing to fund crap art. Well I'm Mad...and Im not gonna take it anymore!

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

Put a garden gnome in the middle and see how many appear over the years:resulting in the world's largest convention of garden gnomes on a roundabout?---Overthemoonus gnomes say well gosh, what a great idea. we're thrilled you thought of us! could also bury one of us upside down for luck, too. a platoon of us would be great. could arrange us in various configurations at various times:gymnastic pyramid; football team; basketball team of gnomes; military platoon; professor and student gnomes; etc. lends itself to great possibilities.***we also had:put in a duncan donuts; beat me to that one. I thought people could phone ahead their order; then, as rounding it, the DD employees catch the money you throw and then pitch you your donuts. not so good if you have a bizmarck (cream filled!).underwritten by Hooters: the mind reels. do we have a sculpture? a holographic display? or maybe some kinda symbolic metal sculputre thingy?huge ginormous sculpture of Richard Heckler: he is so scarey that his halloween costume is outlawed in three states; if we built it, the towtruck business would certainly be built up! Giant turntable with old fashioned, giant, record driven by the movement of cars; great idea but please change the record frequently; and what happens when that record gets a scratch or a skip? again, the towtruck business would really increase!one more idea from me: any group that wants to march and clog up mass st. with some protest from now on must be required to only march around and around the inside of that roundabout, against the flow of traffic, until they all fall down from getting dizzy.

somebodynew 6 years, 1 month ago

"Put a garden gnome in the middle and see how many appear over the years:resulting in the world's largest convention of garden gnomes on a roundabout?"Winner !!!! And put the native grass in.

somebodynew 6 years, 1 month ago

I just had an inspiration !!! How about the homeless camp that Hilda thinks we need !!!! That should be self sustaining, and make them not walk to far to beg.Plus, it would let people know just what they are coming to if they go downtown.

inglec 6 years, 1 month ago

Why should we foot the bill for putting in a landscape within the two roundabouts when the city, county and KU are struggling with budgets issues in an enconomy that is struggling to meet their budget needs for repairs and operating budgets. The Govenor is wanting to cut the higher education spending by millions as it is. And the city and county are struggling on making road and bridge repairs.I agree with old_man our tax dollars should be spent on more important issues then worrying about what should go into a roundabout.

Christine Anderson 6 years, 1 month ago

How about a giant sculpture of a cappucino cup, with whipped cream on top?Or, before the ground gets too hard and cold, why don't a bunch of us go buy what flower bulbs can still be found, and plant them "on the sneak". Use a trowel, which "opens" the ground to allow the bulb to be placed inside, and then you can press the grass back into place. The City dummies wouldn't catch on until spring, when it all started to bloom. Used this technique to "feminize" the property of a jerk ex-boyfriend in Eudora.

overthemoon 6 years, 1 month ago

Anything, even leaving it bare, will cost money. As a daily turnpike user, I just hope that the roundabout isn't too stupid to negotiate. But:the round of native tall grass prairie is a good idea.get with Stan Herd and create a mound with a rock and plant map of the northern hemisphere centered on Lawrence?plan exhaust tolerant trees that filter the air?plant corn, winter wheat, soybeans according to season?A 'car henge' like the one in Alliance, NE. Put a garden gnome in the middle and see how many appear over the years...resulting in the world's largest convention of garden gnomes on a roundabout?

KsTwister 6 years, 1 month ago

Maybe a depression would bring them to their senses but I sincerely doubt it. Slurge while you can, this is an outright shame for the taxpayers who cannot even get their streets fixed......lack of funds?? I doubt it if they can afford this frivolous attack on the citizens.

Tony Holladay 6 years, 1 month ago

You guys/gals forgot a few...Last Call IIGiant Pot HoleOr you could just put someone from Topeka in it and tell them to find a corner. Sorry couldn't resist. :-)

radarlove 6 years ago

I don't understand this fascination with roundabouts. In England, they make sense because traffic goes counter to the driving side of the car and the cars are smaller. Over here, they are a joke.I'll have a great time watching vehicles sliding off the silly thing as the weather makes the road slippery.A bit of art is nice, but not at the expense of safety.

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