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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

radarlove 5 years, 4 months 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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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 5 months ago

I am not laughing.Seriously, I'm not.8~|

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Centurion 5 years, 5 months 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. :-)

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jrlii 5 years, 5 months 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-)

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BigPrune 5 years, 5 months 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? :)

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bearded_gnome 5 years, 5 months 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.

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thebcman 5 years, 5 months ago

1) a small scale replica of the "bridge to nowhere" to honor the never-to-be-completed SLT.2) a "this space for rent" sign to honor downtown lawrence.

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Bladerunner 5 years, 5 months 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!

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macon47 5 years, 5 months ago

for a city to have wasted so much moneythey cannot even keep the streets inrepair with out begging for a sales taxthey need to rethink any artsy expenditureor any expenditure for the new gatewayto lawrence,

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Christine Anderson 5 years, 5 months 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.

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beobachter 5 years, 5 months ago

They are the idiots who decided a roundabout was needed, let these same idiots pay for any art. A roundabout there simply reinforces the idea that traffic engineers are total idiots. One minor accident will tie up all entering and exiting traffic. Sheer genius. Obviously same type of idiots who gave us stop lights with 3 different yellow signals.

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cowboy 5 years, 5 months 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 !

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Pay_N_My_Way 5 years, 5 months ago

Way to go Moocher! Right on the mark. Moocher says, "How about a statue of a panhandler and a welcome sign for those who move here to mooch off the taxpayers."

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 5 months ago

Somebody new..Oh that's a good one. They can wash windshields for a buck as they go by.

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OonlyBonly 5 years, 5 months ago

Native grasses - then leave it alone.

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somebodynew 5 years, 5 months 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.

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Confrontation 5 years, 5 months 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.

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not_holroyd 5 years, 5 months ago

"That road was supposed to be paid for and turned over to the State decades ago."Total BS.

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gccs14r 5 years, 5 months 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.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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KsTwister 5 years, 5 months 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.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 5 months 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.

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KsTwister 5 years, 5 months 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.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months 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...."

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 5 months ago

How a sign..Lawrence, where immaturity is sorely lacking in a lot of LJW posters.

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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toe 5 years, 5 months ago

How about a giant turntable with a giant vinyl record of a popular song. As each car drives through it powers the device and it plays the music. Traffic noise is melodic.

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Larry_The_Moocher 5 years, 5 months ago

How about a statue of a panhandler and a welcome sign for those who move here to mooch off the taxpayers.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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XD40 5 years, 5 months ago

What a stupid idea. One bad idea -- a roundabout -- decorated with another -- tax payer financed 'art'. Its a waste of our tax dollars. On both counts.

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50YearResident 5 years, 5 months 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.

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macon47 5 years, 5 months ago

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.sounds like time for a grass roots meetingat the library to figure out how and who to bleedfor the money for the project

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hitme 5 years, 5 months ago

Didn't we just have a case where a distracted driver killed a bicyclist? Now we want to put up more distractions? That's insane!!!Also, I don't want tax dollars wasted on junk like this!(If it isn't canceled, at least get a corporate sponsor...say Hooters, for example)

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RomanNose 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 5 months 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?---Excellent. Every thing worth doing should involve the risk of life and limb.Perhaps a drive by ticket booth dispensing deer tags and field dressing bags, 50 cents.Maybe they should put in tomato plants, so people will think "WANT" when they cruise by. Kids could be grossed out by the super size tomato worms and scream in the car.Maybe a public service message, like how to prevent STD's while you drive.A statue of a prairie squid.Maybe a statue of OBama's KS grandparents. Kansas, it's what's for Office.==They have just opened up most of the roundabout in Emporia that joins the turnpike, I-35 and highway 50, the 3 biggies out here.It was bad enough when only the east west portion of it was open. It might have been two lanes and huge, but it really only served as a traffic calming device. The turn was so sharp, i saw a huge rig hauling hay flipped over as it finished the last of the curve. Picture it..WhoooOOAAAAHH, and over he went.Now you can turn off of the circle. This means on one side, there are 3 lanes, and two on the other. The outside lanes go in opposite directions, left or right. The middle lane can go either, so it looks like a Keystone Cops comedy.Oh, the new part..they painted lines for how it was at first, now they have 'kinda' painted over those, and put in new lines. The lines to keep you in your lane when coming up the to circle are just fine and useful.Then abruptly, the line cross hits the circle, and you can't tell where the two incoming lines are supposed to go.It's crazy! Somebody's gonna die, it's just a matter of when.

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HermanBubbert 5 years, 5 months 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.

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imagold 5 years, 5 months ago

A Dunkin Donuts or Sonic would be good.

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classclown 5 years, 5 months 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.

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DonQuipunch 5 years, 5 months ago

Although I am always willing to extend a special thanks (extends finger) to all the morons who voted for this sales tax increase among two others (don't even get me started on the empTy), I can't help but wonder if the funding from this isn't going to come from the KTA (read: tolls) and in actuality, it's the commuters who should be most upset about this bold waste of money and resources.

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logrithmic 5 years, 5 months ago

As much as I enjoy Stan Herd's art, this sure seems like were using tax dollars to fund a Stan Herd memorial.I also see nothing wrong with spending tax dollars to subsidize art. I actually prefer that to invasions of foreign countries, spying on American citizens, and weapons systems of every possible unaffordable and unnecessary ilk.However, at this time, such a proposal is insane. And it shows KDOT in all it's unsympathetic glory. It's as if someone pulled the curtain back and exposed an agency so far out of touch with reality that it brings back all the other questions I've raised over the years about KDOT's priorities:The SLT and bridge to nowhereSix laning 59 highway*The intermodal Mexican truck stop at GardnerOther nightmares looming? Another highway to provide a shortcut for trucks from the intermodal to I70 West. This will dissect Johnson and Douglas County in a northwest direction from Gardner. Exact route, unknown.... The continueation of the SLT across some of the most sensitive natural habitat in all of Douglas County...Rightwing or "evil Nazi commuter"... it doesn't really matter. With peak oil looming, we will lose our ability to transport items by truck in a fairly short time (decade or less). All of these investments remain ridiculous. Much better to invest in improving what we have than investing in new roads and highways. Bridges are in trouble, for example....

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somebodynew 5 years, 5 months 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.

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classclown 5 years, 5 months ago

Put Naughty But Nice inside the roundabout.

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overthemoon 5 years, 5 months 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?

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Amy McVey 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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Eybea Opiner 5 years, 5 months ago

How about selling it to a corporate sponsor? You know, the Sprint/Phillips 66 welcome to Lawrence sign.

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persevering_gal 5 years, 5 months 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!

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nobody1793 5 years, 5 months 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.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months 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!

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northtown 5 years, 5 months ago

Your new sales tax increase put to use???They can,t wait to spend it,this would be really great if the city would pull this dumb move off!!!Money well spent ????

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somebodynew 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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inglec 5 years, 5 months 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.

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macon47 5 years, 5 months ago

a giant KU with a dollar sign would be appropriate. with a big sign that says welcome to kugive us your money and scram.seriously, a display would be nicebut can you imagine the traffichazard it will cause with peoplenew to the area trying to gawkat the statue , and drive ina circle?i

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 5 months 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.

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old_man 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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David Albertson 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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