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Archive for Sunday, July 5, 2009

Survey rates 5 counties on transit satisfaction

July 5, 2009

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When it comes to both street maintenance and traffic flow on major roads and highways, Douglas County residents are more unhappy than their neighbors, according to a survey conducted for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

But county residents also are more pleased with their transit services and availability of bike lanes than are residents of Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties.

“It reiterates the direction we’re already moving,” said Bart Rudolph, transportation planner in the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Office. “We’re addressing these problems and the citizens are supporting them through voting.”

The findings are revealed in a survey taken for the 5-County Regional Transportation Study, a $1 million project by the Kansas Department of Transportation to assess the multimodal needs for the next 20 years or more in the five counties.

The survey questioned 1,194 households during April and May in the five counties. Results included opinions from 243 households in Douglas County, or 20.3 percent of the survey’s total.

The study is being conducted for KDOT, the Mid-America Regional Council and Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Office.

Included in the results:

l 16.9 percent of county residents said they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the flow of traffic on their highways and major roads, the highest dissatisfaction rating among the five counties. Wyandotte was second, with 11.5 percent. Miami had the lowest percentage, at 6 percent.

l 42.8 percent of county residents reported being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with maintenance of current roads within their cities or towns, the highest such rating among the counties. Wyandotte again came in second with total dissatisfaction of 35.1 percent. Johnson County had the fewest upset residents, with a total of 14.3 percent.

l 42.5 percent of county residents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the availability of transit options and transit coverage within cities and towns, best among the five counties. Wyandotte was second, with 30.4 percent. Lowest on the scale was Miami, at 20.9 percent, with Johnson and Leavenworth within a percentage point.

l 34 percent of county residents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their availability of bike lanes and facilities, higher than the 19.5 percent of Johnson County residents. Wyandotte was last, with 14.1 percent.

Rudolph noted that Lawrence residents approved a citywide sales tax last year to finance upgrades to major streets in town, and to bolster transit operations and equipment in Lawrence.

The city’s bus system also is coordinating with transit operations at Kansas University, and among projects slated to begin this year is establishment of the Burroughs trail, a combination pedestrian-bike path along abandoned rail lines in eastern Lawrence.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Rudolph said.

As for how to improve traffic flow in the future, survey respondents were asked to choose three methods that they would expect to be most effective. The top vote-getters among Douglas County residents:

l Widening existing roads, 39.1 percent

l Improving existing intersections, traffic signals or turn lanes, 38.3 percent.

l Building other new connecting roads, and better coordination between development and transportation planning (tie), 35 percent.

— Transportation reporter Mark Fagan can be reached at 832-7188. Visit his Wheel Genius blog at LJWorld.com/weblogs/wheel_genius, and follow WheelGenius at Twitter.com.

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