Archive for Wednesday, June 3, 2009

City accepts $2M for N. Lawrence roads

June 3, 2009


North Lawrence residents concerned about road work

Some North Lawrence residents voiced concern about emergency vehicles' ability to travel through a planned construction area. Enlarge video

Sometimes delays are good.

After city commissioners failed to get a project started to rebuild the intersection of North Second and Locust streets in 2008, the city ended up receiving $2 million in federal stimulus funding for the work in 2009.

“Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good,” Mayor Rob Chestnut said Tuesday as commissioners formally accepted the stimulus dollars.

But sometimes delays aren’t good, and when it comes to getting fire trucks to North Lawrence during the road construction project, North Lawrence residents are worried about delays.

Ted Boyle, president of the North Lawrence Improvement Association, said he’s concerned that during morning and rush hour traffic, emergency response times will be greatly delayed because three of the four lanes at the intersection will be closed.

Boyle’s group wants the city to place a fire engine in the city’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Center in North Lawrence, from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“If any of you have seen the traffic there at 6 in the morning, you know it is only going to take one instance of somebody having a heart attack or somebody’s house burning down to have a real tragedy,” Boyle said.

City commissioners directed staff members to examine how Boyle’s concerns could be addressed. Previously, staff members have recommended against placing a fire engine north of the river. Instead, the fire department committed to sending two units to each emergency in the North Lawrence area. One would come from the south through the affected intersection. The other would come from the north via the Kansas Turnpike.

The city also is proposing to place a special traffic light at Lyon Street about a half-mile north of Locust that will be activated by the lights and sirens of fire engines. The light would stop traffic at Lyon Street, keeping the intersection at North Second and Locust free of that traffic.

Commissioners did unanimously agree to rebuild the Locust Street intersection, although Commissioner Mike Dever was absent. The project includes widening the intersection to add a left-turn lane for North Second Street traffic. The intersection also will be changed to prohibit left turns onto Elm Street, a block south of Locust, from southbound North Second Street.

The project, which could begin as early as July, would require a detour for motorists. Southbound traffic on North Second Street would be restricted to one lane. The intersection would be closed to northbound traffic. Northbound traffic will be forced to use parts of Elm, North Third and Lyon streets to avoid the intersection. The detour could be in place through November.

In other business, commissioners:

• Approved a bid of $748,211 from RD Johnson Excavating Co. to repave West Ninth Street from Iowa to Tennessee streets. The work is scheduled to be completed prior to Kansas University starting classes in the fall. Commissioners did direct the Traffic Safety Commission to consider a request from Michael Almon to remove parking from the south side of Ninth Street between Mississippi and Tennessee streets. The removal of that parking would allow for bike lanes to be installed on the street.

• Commissioners approved the use of Seventh Street between Kentucky and just east of Massachusetts to be used for a special sprint bicycle race July 3. The event is part of the Tour de Lawrence bicycle race that will be July 3 through July 5.


Boeing 8 years, 10 months ago

“Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good,” Mayor Rob Chestnut said

If by sometimes you mean always, then yes, the city commissioners are doing a great job.

kolisach 8 years, 10 months ago

As a person who uses this intersection daily, I am very excited to see this project move forward. This will improve safety and congestion issues immensely.

kmat 8 years, 10 months ago

This is going to totally suck for the residents of N. Lawrence though. I love how instead of restricting traffic to one lane in each direction, they're going to make all the people going to the turnpike drive through the residential neighborhoods. So, are we going to have cops on duty all the time to insur that they are driving slow since there are tons of little kids playing and riding their bikes in these areas where they are going to divert all that traffic? Real fair to the residents on 3rd st. who are going to have all that traffic in front of their now quiet houses. They do this when flood waters cause them to shut down 2nd st and I've watched as jerks drive along 3rd st at 50 mph, blowing through the stop signs and having no regard that they are driving on a residential st.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 10 months ago

Kmat.. sometimes things have to be done in to provide for the community as a whole. yes, there should be heavy enforcement in place so people aren't running down the "tons of little kids". I would imagine that all the stop signs will be switched to two way stops for intersecting streets, thus making 3rd street a better flow of traffic. additionally, anyone driving through Lawrence to get to the turnpike will learn within a day or two that they should be using the Iowa entrance. after all, they aren't going to want to deal with the traffic headache on a daily basis either. This is a temporary work-around and as soon as 2nd street intersection opens up again, north lawrence residents can have their quiet houses back.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 10 months ago

This is great as these streets have needed repair for a long time. However, what about these streets in Breezedale Neighborhood? Mass from 23rd to Indian Ave Barker from 23rd to Indian Ave Pawnee Ave Winona Ave Indian Ave from Barker to Mass.

kmat 8 years, 10 months ago

Ralph - they'll never fix all the streets that need fixed. They're doing this one intersection in N. Lawrence only because it's caused deaths. They aren't bothering to fix the streets in N. Lawrence that have been in need of repair for years. They only care about keeping the streets west of Kasold nice and fixing problems in other areas of town if it means deaths might occur.

AreUNorml - I understand what you're saying, but I also know how the city has treated diverting traffic this way in the past along this same street. They do nothing to insure the safety of the people in N. Lawrence. And there are no sidewalks on 3rd street and it is a narrow street with many people that park their cars along the street. Lots and lots of kids live right there and are on their scooters and bikes. Basically, this city (govt) acts like we don't exist and I got the last city manager to admit in person to me that they don't care about N. Lawrence. Seriously. And there is no reason why they can't have one lane open in each direction while doing this work.

introversion 8 years, 10 months ago

maybe they could use a bit of that money to finish the mess they made on N. 7th street... it's worse than a no-maintenance road... all for an exit off 70 that was open, and is now closed again... finish the job, guys.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

Kmat: do nothing to insure the safety of the people in N. Lawrence. And there are no sidewalks on 3rd street and it is a narrow street with many people that

hey I agree with most of your comments. and what is your beef, you think the city's gonna start really caring about north lawrence???

small correction: there is a sidewalk along the west side of 3rd between Elm and Locust. might not notice it, half way up the block there's a giant tree overhang blocking the sidewalk.

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