Archive for Monday, November 2, 2009

Trafficway opponents seek KU roadblock

Kansas University sophomore Mohammed Alnasiri, Qassim, Saudi Arabia, stops outside Strong Hall on the campus of KU Monday to sign a petition in protest of building of the South Lawrence Trafficway. At left is KU senior Jason Hering, Hutchinson, president of the student group EcoJustice. Both Haskell Indian Nations University students and Kansas University students gathered signatures for a petition urging the KU administration to use its 20 acres of the Wetlands for research rather than construction of the trafficway.

Kansas University sophomore Mohammed Alnasiri, Qassim, Saudi Arabia, stops outside Strong Hall on the campus of KU Monday to sign a petition in protest of building of the South Lawrence Trafficway. At left is KU senior Jason Hering, Hutchinson, president of the student group EcoJustice. Both Haskell Indian Nations University students and Kansas University students gathered signatures for a petition urging the KU administration to use its 20 acres of the Wetlands for research rather than construction of the trafficway.

November 2, 2009


Activists rally for wetlands on KU campus

Local activists hoping to help save the Baker wetlands from South Lawrence Trafficway construction were on KU's campus Monday. They were asking for students and other concerned individuals to sign a petition. Enlarge video

If the South Lawrence Trafficway is to be built along an approved alignment through the Baker Wetlands, some of the resulting pavement would need to cross a 20-acre patch of property owned by Kansas University.

And a coalition of project opponents is pushing the university to put the brakes on the highway plan, or at least steer the project south of the Wakarusa River.

“The road can be stopped if KU has the mindset to do it,” said Mike Caron, executive director of Save the Wakarusa Wetlands Inc., one of several groups suing the Kansas Department of Transportation to prevent the trafficway from crossing the Baker Wetlands.

Caron and representatives from other groups — KU Environs, KU EcoJustice, KU Indigenous Nations Studies Student Association and the Wetlands Preservation Organization at Haskell Indian Nations University — gathered Monday afternoon in front of KU’s Strong Hall to rally support for their cause and gather signatures asking the KU administration to block the state’s trafficway plan.

While KU leaders acknowledged the groups’ ability to demonstrate about a cause they support, they haven’t sought to stand in the way of the estimated $144 million highway project. The project’s route has been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and now awaits a decision on the opponents’ lawsuit in federal court.

Like any property owner with land along the proposed trafficway route, KU had been consulted as the corps reviewed the project, said Lynn Bretz, a KU spokeswoman.

KU’s land southwest of 31st Street and Haskell Avenue came into the university’s possession in the 1950s, and was to be used for “the public good, or public benefit,” she said. The site has been used intermittently for biological research.

Roger Boyd, director of natural areas for Baker University, said he had been managing the property since 1982.

“We don’t have the authority to sell or give the land to anybody,” Bretz said Monday. “Our position has been fairly consistent over the years: We’re not going to give the land to the state department of transportation. (KDOT) would need to obtain it through the process of eminent domain, which could likely happen. …

“We recognize the interests of all the parties. There is a balance of issues here: transportation needs and, of course, environmental and some other concerns. And we certainly respect the right of the group to demonstrate today.”

Kevin Gremmelsbacher, a KU senior who signed his name to a petition Monday, wouldn’t mind seeing the trafficway rerouted away from the wetlands.

“It’s very important,” he said. “Why should you damage the environment when you don’t have to?”


tmvtiger 8 years ago

I have never lived ANYWHERE with worse roads than Lawrence. Finishing this bypass would eliminate some of the heavy, semi-truck traffic that prematurely tear up our streets. Our community has grown too much to live with the current infrastructure. I live on the Southeast part of town and work on the Northwest part of Lawrence and it takes me longer to get to and from work during rush hour than it used to take me commuting to Topeka from any number of locations near the Turnpike. The bypass should have been built years ago!

hujiko 8 years ago

Build the SLT, when the project is complete there will be more wetland habitat than currently exists in that area.

gccs14r 8 years ago

The bypass won't pull an appreciable amount of truck traffic off of 23rd. Trucks don't use 23rd unless they need to be in Lawrence.

wakarusan 8 years ago

Build the dam(n) road already! The wetlands are man-made, and the new remedial wetlands to the west are man-made. So in a few years they will be fighting to re-route the road because it runs through another wetlands. I don't think the people fighting it even have a clue as to what they are fighting for. They just have been told to fight it. If there can't be a freeway through them, why the transmission line that goes all the way through them?

bruceanderson01 8 years ago

The notion that this is an issue of "saving the wetlands" should have been buried under a heap of scientific research a long time ago. Biologist and naturalist Dr. Roger Boyd, whose family, into a fourth generation, have cared for and nurtured the wetlands (created them, in fact) has assured the public ad nauseum that the proposed traffic-way in no way poses a threat to the Baker wetlands, its creatures, or the research that is ongoing there conducted by students every day. This is not an issue of "saving the wetlands". The opponents of the traffic-way are using a fallacy of reification and the presentation of false dichotomies to engender fear in those of us who treasure the natural beauty of the Wakarusa -- but it is still just that: a fallacy. Its time to move forward. The traffic-way itself has been in one form of proposed state or another since (literally) the 1930s - its time to build it.

Dr. R. Bruce Anderson

phenommenom 8 years ago

Totally agree.... “It’s very important,” he said “Why should you damage the environment when you don’t have to?”

losttiger 8 years ago

This whole SLT issue has the entire state of KS laughing at Lawrence. How much longer is this going to go on? Built it already. They did the remediation project and put in a new swamp.

It will be sad though to miss the wonderful views of the green algae scum on the north of 31st.

Bladerunner 8 years ago

It always amuses me to see people make their intellectual arguements with words like "ichy" (maybe thats supposed to be "Icky") and "yucky poo".

Build the damned thing and be done with it. I bet each one of you lives on a road that was once farmland and have thus...."harmed the enviornment" to some degree. A little less swamp land isnt going to hurt anyone.

croutons 8 years ago

Yeah, Lawrence will never grow big enough to require that throughway. Let's just tear down that bridge at the southern end! This waste combined with the illogic of my previous statement is reason enough not to have the highway!!!!!111

gccs14r 8 years ago

" Take a look at all the semi traffic on Haskell…any day of the week. Count the trailers moving in and out of the old Honeywell facility."

Right. In-town delivery means driving on city streets. The SLT can't change that.

IdahoWinds 8 years ago

Jack - you need to take a deep breath and get back on your meds. You seem awfully upset over a road being built that will not affect you what so ever. You apparently have issues with society in general and your ability to control your emotions. The SLT will NOT be built in the middle of the Baker Wetlands. It will impact less than 10% of the wetlands on the north edge and the noise wall will buffer 90% of noise. There will be less noise, better access, and more wetlands. Traffic is a problem on 23rd and 31st, man, can't you see the need for moving traffic around the city? It doesn't have to go south of the river in order to do that. Instead of suggesting that everyone that doesn't agree with you should move - perhaps you should be the one to move. I might suggest Ulysses, or Elkhart, or Scott City - any town in western KS that is experiencing a population decline. You should fit right in!!

parrothead8 8 years ago

I haven't lived here long enough to take a side on this one. Both sides sound right...the proposed SLT would make life easier for several people, but the proposed path would destroy a lot of wildlife.

I have lived a lot of other places long enough to say this: Most cities have too many roads, and not enough alternative commuting options.

Build the road if it is smart, but don't build it just because "it has been in the works for a long time." Once the road is built, the money is gone and the precedent is set.

BigPrune 8 years ago

When Highway 59 opens as 4 lanes from Ottawa to Lawrence, the anti-SLT people and their complaints will fall on deaf ears when 23rd Street goes from 30,000 vehicles per day to 60,000 vehicles per day. The small minority that doesn't want the SLT will join the majority of the people in Lawrence that have wanted the SLT for 20 years.

Why don't we try to take Kansas back into the ice age with some man made glaciers, or better yet, make it an ocean again and give the sharks back their hunting grounds? Then again, I recall a geology course in high school and how Mt. Oread is really a dead volcano. Why not try to drill and explode that sleeping giant again like it supposedly was when it was alive millions of years ago?

Micco 8 years ago

traffic way aside, hardly anyone is addressing the sacred history of this issue. now i know everyone wants a better traffic way in lawrence, and rightfully the city needs one, but to use the wetlands as a way out is an excuse. and it sounds like all the trafficway supporters only care about what benefits them at the cost of others( as is the history of the US) what else is new, no surprise there at all. regarding the sacredness of the wetlands, which hardly anyone ever mentions, the "green algea scum" that some have come to describe the wetlands is actually an ecosystem thousands of years the making, even tho the wetlands now are man-made, it was already home to countless inhabitants of this region of the world. afterall there's a reason that they had to convert it back to wetlands, as before when it was converted to farmland, the wetlands couldn't be stopped then, and you will not stop it now. you can't stop nature from prevailing, didn't hurricane katrina teach anyone anything. you don't build where nature won't allow. even if they do build a road, do any of you SLT supporters realize how many millions of dollars will be poored into sustaining that road through the years??? again i have observed your only considering yourselves and what would benefit you. it will come as a valid waste of energy and resources if they build this road. because eventually nature will prevail. nature always prevails. we adapt to the world but the world will be around alot longer than we will. wetlands are an example of endangered environment, they're part of the natural world and we can't keep constantly destroying what we think is unappealing, so goes human arrogance. where you see swamp and "scum" the rest of the species are thriving and sustaining themselves according to thousands of years of survival. just ask the beavers that have returned after all these years, they've come back to kansas after 25 years, and the one place they came was the Wakarusa Wetlands...

gccs14r 8 years ago

The way to fix the roadkill problem is to remove 31st St.

BigPrune 8 years ago

Micco, That place was NEVER sacred when I was growing up here, more like a party place. It wasn't until the mere mention of the SLT did its sacredness appear out of nowhere. Hell, I remember reading Haskell wanted $3 million bucks to go away.

Have a good night!

mdrndgtl 8 years ago

You treeslayers have no respect for our Mother Earth, with your enormous trafficways, your cellular phones and your iPads...

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

To say there is no other way is simply not acceptable. There is always another way. Such as " many concepts built into one fiscally responsible plan = prudent thinking".

SAY NO to the high tax dollar obsolete Trafficway that will NOT improve 23rd street. The only way to improve 23rd is to SAY NO to KU students…… good luck on removing the ONLY dependable Lawrence revenue source. KU students make Lawrence what it is.

SAY YES to a no tax dollar bypass that can accomplish many things such as saving tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to a phone conversation HNTB consultants did study a South Of River route that would avoid the wetlands completely. It would connect to an existing K-10 interchange 1057/E1900 rd. Absolutely this option completely avoided the wetlands.

This could be a toll road thereby users, to include 18 wheelers, become a defacto benefit district.

This design was never presented to the public. Why did the proponents not want this design? Not enough pork barrel perhaps?

I-70 connectors east of Eudora were among the potential choices as well. This could be a toll road thereby users to include 18 wheelers help finance the project. This concept accomplishes many things.

The new I-70 connectors off K-10 going north, I-70 and the west leg of K-10 should all be toll roads. This combination provides a loop around Lawrence thus eliminating any need for further construction of new pork barrel highway projects.

Thus saving about $200,000,000 - $300,000,000(million) for us local taxpayers.

It also services: • Johnson and Douglas county traffic going to northwest Lawrence or Topeka. Or Lawrence and Topeka traffic going to JOCO. • the Eudora Business Park east of 1057. • East Hills Business Park and the southeast Lawrence industrial park. • the Lawrence airport. And it: • diverts traffic around the city. • keeps the SLT out of the wetlands. • reduces congestion for morning and afternoon commuters. • Douglas County taxpayers save millions upon millions of dollars. • Eliminates use of tax dollars. • Eliminates the need for an eastern bypass * Would not dump fast moving traffic off uncomfortably close to the congested city limits on to the K-10 speedway • allows KTA fees to pay for the highway and maintenance.

Now this plan is on to something….. many concepts built into one fiscally responsible plan = prudent thinking.

I-70 is there to be used so let's do it. Saving REAL BIG tax dollars is a new concept. Pork barrel projects = wasted and inefficient use of tax dollars.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Say NO to boom town economics! That is what the trafficway represents. This GW Bush "stay the course" mentality does NOT represent a fiscal responsible approach.

Boom Town Economics is causing Lawrence taxpayers much revenue grief and the nation as well.

Have we forgotten the Bush-Cheney home loan scandal that over loaded the entire nation with too many homes? This is "boom town economics". It is still producing chaos for this and the nations economy.

About the Bush/Cheney fraudulent home loan scandal:

This roadway is about more and more housing aka "boom town economics". Sorry taxpayers housing DOES NOT pay for itself or payback the taxpayers. This is not new information.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

NEW empty homes DO NOT pay personal property taxes nor generate any other type of revenue!

Donovan Scruggs, Ocean Springs director of community development and planning, said the city's current budget crunch can be tied directly to infrastructure expenses needed to serve new housing developments.(sound familiar)

“If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch,” Scruggs said. “But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by new residential does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.”

Scruggs said there have been two studies done on impact fees.

While developers pay for onsite water, sewer and road infrastructure, Scruggs said it is costly to pay for offsite upgrades needed, such as enlarging lift stations and raising water towers.( THINK Lawrence $88 million sewage treatment plant on the table to service new residential construction)

“Now if we have to upgrade a lift station, it is paid for by the general fund revenue paid by each taxpayer in the city,” Scruggs said. “Someone on the west side of town would have to pay for subsidizing the growth in demand caused by the development in the east part of town.”(sound familiar)

The eastern part of town is where the greatest residential growth is being seen. Scruggs said there has been so much growth in recent years that the city has to elevate its water towers to keep pressure at adequate levels. “That was a direct result caused by the growth,” he said.

Scruggs said that impact fees are legal if they are done properly.

Ocean Springs had 120 homes constructed in 2000, 90 in 2001 and is on track to have 120 homes constructed in 2002. If impact fees had been collected properly on the 310 homes built in three years, the city would have extra revenues of about $2.1 million.

In order for the city to have orderly growth, developers need to be responsible for a larger amount of the infrastructure. Most builders understand impact fees are for a purpose that improves their development.”

Jean1183 8 years ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says… "The way to fix the roadkill problem is to remove 31st St."

I believe this was actually offered as part of an initial mitigation plan (along with building a really nice Educational Center), but was declined.

Most of those that oppose the SLT aren't really FOR preserving the wetlands (and/or creating/restoring more). They just want to keep protesting and as wakarusan said, " I don't think the people fighting it even have a clue as to what they are fighting for. They just have been told to fight it."


IdahoWinds 8 years ago

Jean, You are correct that removing 31st street was an option that was suggested and it is still part of the current mitigation plan. Removing 31st won't restore many acres, it is more the symbolism of taking the road off the Haskell Campus property - property not owned by HINU or their Board but owned by Bureau Indian Affairs. Mike Caron rants on (and on) about getting KU to stand up against KDOT and not let them take the 20 acres in question. The SLT doesn't even cross that 20 acres. The only thing that would cross KU's 20 acres would be the re-alignment of 31st street. Mike himself has wanted 31st street removed in the past, as does gccs14r (a very vocal and likewise misguided opponent to the SLT) and yet Mike Caron is now protesting KU allowing the 20 acres to be used for this mitigation. Which is it going to be? Remove 31st or not. If the SLT is not built at all or somehow built south of the river, will Mike Caron have won? In his mind, I'm sure he will believe so! If you go back to the EIS written by the US Army Corps of Engineers and read the rationale that has been used to justify 32nd over 42nd it is that 42nd will actually stimulate the city and county to convert 31st, Haskell Ave and Louisiana St (both south of 31st St) to become 4 lane roads. This will encompass the current Baker Wetlands (I'm not aware of what the so-called Wakarusa Wetlands refers to??) on three sides by 4-lane roads. Access will most likely be denied at both current locations and traffic will certainly increase along with roadkills. These 4-lane roads will essentially create an island effect which will cause a significant long-term decrease in biodiversity in the Baker Wetland. If Mike Caron knew ANYTHING about the environment that he claims to want to protect he would understand that he is actually wishing to make things worse for the plants and wildlife at the Baker Wetlands, not improve them. By building the 32nd St alignment the EIS points out that the existing Baker Wetlands will be expanded to more than 2 miles across from east to west, will actually improve access, will actually decrease light, noise, air, and water pollution, and will actually increase the habitat available for the wildlife that opponents claim they are fighting for. As Merrill tries to explain ad naseum, there are multiple ways of doing things. Completing the SLT on the 32nd St costs the least, is the most direct route, will expand the wetlands and habitat for the wildlife. It will also continue to protect more than 90% of the land that is claimed to be so sacred by many of the opponents. I'm sure the opponents can spin my points into non-sense but the scientific/ecological logic is still there - destroying 56 acres of wetlands that are not virgin or pristine and replacing it with an additional 304 acres of wetlands that are not virgin or pristine is still an improvement for the wildlife and the thousands of visitors that will come to enjoy the place in the future.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

" Biologist and naturalist Dr. Roger Boyd, whose family, into a fourth generation, have cared for and nurtured the wetlands (created them, in fact)"

They did plenty of work on restoring them (they'd been wetlands for thousands of years until early last century's failed attempts to farm them), but they would have restored themselves, eventually, if left alone.

And the $8 million that Boyd and Baker are getting for stabbing Haskell in the back hardly make them "disinterested scientists." Like so many others, they're just lining up at the government teat do the bidding of the highway and cancerous growth lobbies.

Jonathan Becker 8 years ago

Answer: The sun will burn out in eight million years. Question: Which will occur first: The completion of the SLT or the expiration of the sun?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago


You know, you could have just said you want your road, and you want it now, screw Haskell and the wetlands.

cowboy 8 years ago

Waiting for KU......Ku has chewed up more greenspace than anyone else in the county over the past few years on west campus and the football faciliities.

remember_username 8 years ago

What's the price tag on the SLT up to now?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Haskell isn't getting screwed, "

You know, it's Haskell who gets to make that call, not the main cheerleader for the rapists.

"The wetlands are not sacred."

Not to someone for whom 5 minutes of personal convenience is the only thing held sacred.

Liberty275 8 years ago

I don't care if any more roads are built in this town. Just as soon as the housing market picks back up, we are selling our house and heading back to Florida where life is actually worth living. The day I see this town and this state in my rear-view mirror for the last time will be the happiest day of my life.

Build it, block it, save the swamp, drain it, I don't care.

madameX 8 years ago

I posted this on another thread, but this one seems to be getting more attention and I'm genuinely curious so I'll re-post it here:

I have an honest question for all the gung-ho-build-the-SLT folks. Here's a link to the proposed routes: http://www.southlawrencetrafficway.or

According to the SLT website (http://www.southlawrencetrafficway.or…) 32nd street (the green line) is the propsed route. Now it seems to me that either 31st street (the red line) or 35th street (the light blue line) are routes that would serve just as well and not involve paving over the wetlands. In addition, they seem to mostly involve improving or expanding roads that are already there, which I suspect would be more cost effective that building a whole new road.

So, my question is, if the main concern is easing traffic on 23rd, and either of the alternative routes would acomplish that about as well as the current proposed route, how would you feel about some sort of compromise here? What about using a different route?

skinny 8 years ago

Build it now and be done with it.

RonBurgandy 8 years ago

BlessedSap (Anonymous) says…

Bye liberty, you may be waiting 10 years, especially with the Obama admins policies of dragging this recession out carter style.

Wowzers, that made about zero sense. I'm sure you know a lot about the inner workings of the economy or the housing market.

Look, I'm all for saving the environment and protecting creatures great and small, but the fact that the SLT is not already completed is ridiculous. These wetlands weren't there before, they were created and can be created somewhere else. The road to nowhere is an embarrassment to Lawrence, plus a completed SLT would be a great help, especially to keep those weirdos driving from KC to Manhattan out of our lovely town.

Chris Golledge 8 years ago

Sounds like a last ditch effort.

What do mostly out-of-town students really know about it anyway, and what stake do they have in either the traffic-way or the wetlands?

As long as there is traffic, at least try to let it move efficiently, using less gas and causing less pollution.

Chris Golledge 8 years ago


"“Why should you damage the environment when you don’t have to?”

Hello, exactly where can you build a road that doesn't damage the environment? Whether it's woods, fields, or wetland, something gets damaged.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

By Martha T. Moore, USA TODAY Why don't Americans walk anywhere?

Old answer: They're lazy.

New answer: They can't.

There is no sidewalk outside the front door, school is 5 miles away, and there's a six-lane highway between home and the supermarket.

Many experts on public health say the way neighborhoods are built is to blame for Americans' physical inactivity — and the resulting epidemic of obesity.

The health concern is a new slant on the issue of suburban sprawl, which metro regions have been struggling with for a decade. These health experts bring the deep-pocketed force of private foundations and public agencies into discussions about what neighborhoods should look like.

The argument over whether suburbs are bad for your health will hit many Americans precisely where they live: in a house with a big lawn on a cul-de-sac.

"The potential for actually tackling some of these things, with the savvy of the folks who have tackled tobacco, is enormous," says Ellen Vanderslice, head of America Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group based in Portland, Ore.

A study by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking 8,000 residents of Atlanta to determine whether the neighborhood they live in influences their level of physical exercise. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in New Jersey, the country's largest health care philanthropy, is spending $70 million over five years on studies and programs to make it easier for people to walk in suburbs, cities and towns. "We want to engineer routine activity back into people's daily lives," says Kate Kraft, the foundation's senior program officer. "That means we need to start creating more walkable, bikeable communities."

For decades, cities, towns and suburbs have been developed on the assumption that every trip will be made by car. That has all but eliminated walking from daily life for people in most parts of the country. Americans make fewer than 6% of their daily trips on foot, according to studies by the Federal Highway Administration.

Three-quarters of short trips, a mile or less, are made by car, federal studies show.

Children don't get much more of a workout. Fewer than 13% of students...

jonas_opines 8 years ago

"So, my question is, if the main concern is easing traffic on 23rd, and either of the alternative routes would acomplish that about as well as the current proposed route, how would you feel about some sort of compromise here?"

No one will answer your question, I imagine, being a reasonable one.

Very few on the issue, at this point, wants a compromise. Most simply want to stick it to the other side as much as possible.

sourpuss 8 years ago

The SLT will not fix all of your problems. It probably won't even fix one of them.

kmat 8 years ago

Blue - could you quit your whining about your commute already? You whine about it every time there's any article about the SLT. You aren't the only person in this town that commutes. commuting isn't fun, but if you want to live in Lawrence, you're most likely going to have to commute because this town sucks *ss. I've commuted for 10 years. I don't whine about it. I drive the same roads you do. I've also lived in places that have real traffic and know that you whining about the traffic in Lawrence is a joke.

Jack is correct. You are a closet socialist.

And to those that keep whining about how this was voted on (what was it, like 20 years ago +). Maybe it's time for a new vote. 20 years ago, people thought Bush Sr. was a good idea too. Times change. Quit using lame *ss excuses from decades ago.

remember_username 8 years ago

Jonas - "Very few on the issue, at this point, wants a compromise. Most simply want to stick it to the other side as much as possible."

I believe you've hit on a very big truth that extends beyond the STL. Compromise is perceived as loosing these days and there are many who would rather see complete victory or nothing.

Jean1183 8 years ago

madameX, 31st street was the original route. 32nd is the compromise. 35th would bisect the "wetlands" in half, 38th would shut/close it off from the river, and 42nd would be too expensive as it would need two bridges to cross the river.

32nd does the least amount of damage to the "wetlands" other than going back to the original alignment of 31st which was the first (and best) choice.

madameX 8 years ago

...and someone on the other thread just informed me that 31st was vetoed by Haskell. Seeing as how it's been so many years, maybe we should ask them again...

rtwngr 8 years ago

I am starting a new organization:

"Pave the Wetlands"

I like the sound of that.

Hey, Merrill, can't you express anything in one paragraph. You are the most verbose blogger I have ever seen and your posts contain nothing but liberal crap.

madameX 8 years ago

BlessedSap (Anonymous) says…

I am not so much for the road as I am against wetlands.


Michael Caron 8 years ago

Idahowinds has been listening to Roger Boyd's revisionist logic about the SLT. Until Baker was offered $8.5 million and he got a little pressure from his administration to get on board he was as aware as the rest of the SLT opponents that this road project is a disaster for the wetlands. He used to understand this project is really about two things.

First, at the state level the Graves administration was interested in building infrastructure for the nation's major interstate trucking companies based in the KC area. That still underlies the KDOT agenda.

Secondly, local developers who were stymied in their efforts to build a big mall 20 years ago have insisted the road not be a true by-pass, but be routed where it can help bring more traffic to South Iowa commercial schemes.

The 32nd Street plan would be a real disaster for biodiversity in the wetlands, but far more importantly in the eyes of many trafficway opponents, it would create a massive barrier between Haskell and its traditional lands. Roger Boyd loves to dismiss Haskell's cultural, spiritual and historical ties to that wetland with snide remarks about drinking parties. Such mean spirited bigotry would be better left to Chris Merrill, our local Rush Limbaugh wannabe, during his endless pro-SLT radio rants.

jonas_opines 8 years ago

madameX (Anonymous) says…

"BlessedSap (Anonymous) says…

I am not so much for the road as I am against wetlands.


Because he thinks that as a response it will ruffle the most feathers.

Jimo 8 years ago

"I have never lived anywhere with worse roads than Lawrence."

Maybe you should get out more. The majority of people in this country would kill to have your "worse roads."

"Finishing this bypass would eliminate some of the heavy, semi-truck traffic that prematurely tear up our streets."

No, it would not, at least if "some" means a significant amount.

"Our community has grown too much to live with the current infrastructure. I live on the Southeast part of town and work on the Northwest part of Lawrence ..."

No, it's growth to the limit of its capacity for people to live across town from their work. If your situation is intolerable then either find closer work or move your home closer. There's probably even more morons who work in JoCo but bought a house in NW Lawrence and then complain about how long it takes them to drive all the way to SE Lawrence on their way out. Jeez, people, get some sense.

"and it takes me longer to get to and from work during rush hour than it used to take me commuting to Topeka from any number of locations near the Turnpike."

I don't know why this is surprising. Topeka's 20 miles away and the average motorist is going at least 75 mph. SE Lawrence to NW Lawrence is what, about 7 mi.? And you're driving at best 35 mph with frequent stops. How would driving far to the south, all the way out to the lake, then up north, and probably then cutting back east into town lessen more than a few minutes of your time? And what are you going to do when even more development occurs along this route, drawing even more people onto this narrow 2 lane bypass, eating up what little time you've saved?

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

Better drainage & more Astroturf for everybody!

BigPrune 8 years ago

You people are ridiculus. SW2, the bypass is going through a floodplain. Cannot build much of anything in a flood plain so your argument doesn't fly.

Also, to recruit transient students to petition KU is not as bad as terrorists recruiting the mentally handicapped, but one can see an influence.

BigPrune 8 years ago

The Wakarusa River floods on occasion. It is indeed predominately floodplain.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"madameX, 31st street was the original route. 32nd is the compromise."

That's like telling someone that you're going shoot them in the head, and when they complain, shooting them in a lung instead, and calling it a "compromise."

stuckinthemiddle 8 years ago

right or wrong... it isn't going to happen...

so... you people all fired up about "gettin' it done" need to find some other way to be happy...

gccs14r 8 years ago

I don't know why they don't use N1100 Rd. That avoids the wetlands completely. That would also keep most of the traffic noise away from the residential neighborhoods north of 31st.

lwctown 8 years ago

Wait till some of the students decide when they graduate to get jobs in KC and stay in they will want the SLT then.

overthemoon 8 years ago

I don't understand why there hasn't been a win/win proposal for this stalemate in the--how many years?--time its been on the table.

Build a bridge, make it nice, won't have a lasting impact on the wetlands. At the Haskell end, build a berm/barrier. make it nice and it will have second benefit of buffering noise at prairie park.

Make it nice. Lets show the world how a community of smart people deal with a simple problem in a way that gives everyone a better long term solution.

The west end of the trafficway would not be a good example to follow. Its just a paved country lane with an incomprehensible access point at the end of clinton parkway. Incredibly stupid design and engineering.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years ago

I would like to write something in behalf of Mohammed Alnasiri, Qassim, Saudi Arabia, I am horrified at the amount of prejudice shown against him. He pays good money to go to KU so he has a right to sign the petition. After all the KU students are encouraged to participate in activities and not just stay on the hill. Those big box stores and The Exchange, etc. are bringing in a lot of tax money. And, before someone else writes it, no I am not going to assume he is wealthy/has wealthy parents because he is from Saudi Arabia or is is KU student. We don't have that information do we?

2002 8 years ago

Those uninformed, idiotic twits! South of the river? Of all the stupid ideas that have ever come across throughout the ears, moving the road south of the Wakarusa is by far the worst. That suggestion alone proves that environmentalism is not what is behind this so-called movement. What it probably suggests is that none of these spoiled little snots have ever been to either the wetlands area or the south side of the river.

wagonburner23 8 years ago

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FlapJack 8 years ago

THESE ARE MANMADE WETLANDS PEOPLE!!!! DO I need to stress MANMADE?? I vote for the SLT!!!

wagonburner23 8 years ago

I am sorry. I meant anybody who votes for the SLT.

boxturtle 8 years ago

This road is the biggest waste of tax payer money right now. Lawrence should spend 144 million on something that will benefit its own citizens, not just people trying to drive through it. This doomed road just bleeds money at every step, let's drop it, and do something important today, not something dreamed of decades ago.

BigPrune 8 years ago

Finishing the SLT will do more to create jobs than anything else Lawrence could do. Plus, our reputation should improve as well.

In a perfect world, the anti-SLT people can stay confined to their East or Old West Lawrence neighborhoods and finally support the downtown they profess to love.

50YearResident 8 years ago

Seamus, it's called progresss. Do you understand what that is?

darkagent 8 years ago

I hope they build it ..mabey it will make the "I have to blog everyday, all day" move away, I think it might be the baker wetland water seeping in to cause such an addiction.

Mandie Eutsler 8 years ago

i say build it. give the commuters a route that doesn't go through lawrence. i'm sick of traffic! there is no alternative way to get from one end of town to the other but to go right through it. it's sad that 6th and 23rd streets ArE the highways in this "city".

Danimal 8 years ago

What I love about the whole SLT debacle is when supposed environmentalists plead with whoever is listening to build it on a different alignment. Every developer within 100 miles of Lawrence gets a strange tingling in their loins when they hear that kind of talk. The southern alignment would be a huge bonanza for developers as we come out of the recession, but a disaster for pretty much everyone else. If we'll just listen to these protesters we can have traffic lights, Wal-Marts, McDonald's and neighborhoods full of Johnson County beige houses that look like they're all punched out of the same mold south of the never-used SLT overpass on Iowa/US-59.

I say build it where it was supposed to be built all those years ago. And build it to the original specs which called for a 4-lane, limited access highway, none of this "super-two" business. Further, the wetlands stand to gain a tremendous amount of new land that is being reclaimed as wetland. Why does it seem like every idiot with a bleeding heart in Douglas county is jumping on this bandwagon, but none of them are concerned with the greater threat posed by sprawl or the loss of (what's left of) our tall grass prairies?

IdahoWinds 8 years ago

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wagonburner23 8 years ago

I think I will but an ancient church here in Lawrence and tear it down and turn it into a basketball court. That would be so cool.

IdahoWinds 8 years ago

Patrick, I appreciate your attempt to bring calm to the conversation. The voice of reason. I can tell that you are passionate about the wetlands. But to be effective, passion should be tied with truth. Mr. Caron has never been too concerned with truth, he is constantly in the world of fiction. This is what he is good at. He is an excellent story teller. But in reading your plea for civility and truth I see that you are also guilty of fiction. To be fair to you, since you seem to be fairly new to this long-running saga, you are probably unaware that what you speak of is not totally accurate.
1) If there is evidence that tribal cultural practices have ever occurred on what is currently the Baker Wetlands, why did Brockington fail to find anyone that knew about it or was willing to speak of it? What is your personal experience in this area? 2) It sounds like you may be willing to say that the Santa Fe Mitigation is successful after more than 10 years. At what point did it become that? Why is the need to mow considered failure? Would you also consider burning a sign of failure as well? 3) You say that the current mitigation can not replace what would be destroyed within a lifetime. What criteria are you using to measure this? Wishful thinking? 4) You are also continuing to perpetuate two myths that I believe where first conjured up by Prof. Haines: the sewage system (in what part of the EIS and engineering is this discussed?) and the compaction of soils damaging the “Haskell Wetlands”. I assume you are referring to the wetlands along 31st street that are part of the HINU campus as the “Haskell Wetlands? 5) You should have a conversation with Dr. Boyd (his contact number is on the mitigation signs) about compaction of soils and their effect on wetland functioning. You might learn something about wetlands that you don’t know? Good luck with getting rid of the hatred from many of the single-minded idiots that blog on the SLT issue.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"You should have a conversation with Dr. Boyd (his contact number is on the mitigation signs) about compaction of soils and their effect on wetland functioning."

It'd be interesting to be able to compare his answers pre and post $8.7 million.

gl0ck0wn3r 8 years ago

"Captain Lawnmower (Anonymous) says... Why don't Americans walk anywhere? There is no sidewalk outside the front door, school is 5 miles away, and there's a six-lane highway between home and the supermarket."

Richard must be grasping for new material given that he doesn't support building new sidewalks. However, I accept the trade - if it means that the SLT can be finished, let's put sidewalks on it so Richard can walk along it. Are you cool with that, Richard?

Michael Caron 8 years ago

Brockington is an archaeologist hired by HNTB (KDOT contractors) because they thought he would repeat Ramon Powers ---the then state historic preservation officer's--- ruling that the wetlands had "no historical significance". Brockington had enough integrity to buck the big boys who were paying him by declaring the entire historic Haskell property should be a heritage district. He did not claim that he couldn't find any Indians who knew about traditional ceremonies and other cultural uses of the wetlands. He and others did contend, however, that oral traditions were essentially unreliable rumors unsupported by the school's written reports and papers. Anyone who has bothered to spend any time with Haskell students and alumni will have a hard time believing that Brockington was unable to find anyone who knew about the area being used for anything but farming.

IdahoWinds 8 years ago

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kcwarpony 8 years ago

“You should have a conversation with Dr. Boyd…”

Hard to converse with someone who can’t make up their mind.

“The Wetlands will be enhanced by the SLT.'' This is a ridiculous statement derived by selective reasoning. Whether or not any mitigation is every completed and whether that mitigation has any positive impact on even the 2 percent of the wetlands it will relate to, is questionable. The long-term impacts of increased pollution, noise, congestion and development around the Baker University Wetlands will be negative and will in no way enhance this natural area. Letter to the Editor: by Roger Boyd

“Roger Boyd, a biology professor who oversees the Baker Wetlands on behalf of Baker University, welcomed the improved prospects of the trafficway not being routed through the wetlands. "Thirty-second Street is still in the wetlands and I have a problem with that, but it's better than the 35th or 38th Street alignments," Boyd said. "I'd prefer to see it go south of the river."

“Boyd and his university are working with state transportation officials on a plan that eventually would run a six-lane portion of the South Lawrence Trafficway right through the wetlands. In exchange, the university would get ownership of more land to the west and east for new wetlands to be created by the Kansas Department of Transportation and Baker.”

“Boyd said he was confident he can work with the new ground to produce something that looks like wetlands. The question is whether it would function like wetlands. "That's just all going to depend on your definition of functioning and there will probably be lots of definitions. But I should say that I don't think it will ever be as diverse as the Baker Wetlands are.”

“Boyd is the Baker official most involved with the state's proposal to add from 200 to 400 acres of new wetlands.”

“It will be painful to see a small portion of these restored wetlands destroyed again. But in my heart I know the mitigation that KDOT, the county and Baker University have agreed to is a good one.” “The chosen alignment of 32nd Street is the best choice in the 20-year history of the SLT.”

IdahoWinds 8 years ago

Patrick, Thanks for answering my question about walking to the Baker Wetlands. So do you walk down the road through the water or are you walking the high ground to the west of the north entrance?

IdahoWinds 8 years ago

Mr. Pony, WOW! You should be Boyd's press agent and straighten him out. Sounds like an EVIL person doesn't he!? Or could it be a fairly thorough documentation of the transition of a person who, on the one hand knows the evils of road construction anywhere, not just the wetlands, and on the other, a person that has the ability to work with a variety of people, understand the larger picture of the future of Lawrence and be adult enough to change through time to develop a compromise that will possibly end up benefiting the Lawrence community in the long run?

gccs14r 8 years ago

I think someone mentioned an $8 million incentive in that regard. For all we know, someone offered to break his legs, too. Land, money, and power can make some people do evil things.

Draining the wetlands in an ill-fated attempt at farming was bad, but not an irreversible event. Paving the wetlands and dumping toxic runoff into it will be effectively irreversible.

kcwarpony 8 years ago

"My immediate reaction was 'Are you nuts? I've been fighting against this. Why in the world would I allow it to be built on our property?' Dr. Lambert (former university president) said 'you need to hear the full story here. They're willing to mitigate for the damage,'" Boyd says as he plods across the boardwalk. "So I'm thinking, well, you know this isn't a pristine wetlands. We only restored it beginning in 1991."

"There are people that think I've sold out, who think I'm being subjective, that I'm not being a scientist about the whole thing, and that I'm just doing this to get the money for Baker," he says. "A good friend of mine once said, hey, people tell you that, just smile and say, 'Well, at least you sold out for a good price.'"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Sounds pretty pragmatic to me."

Well, of course it would to you. It's quite consistent with your life's creed-- "Greed is Good."

Bob-RJ Burkhart 7 years, 6 months ago

As a federally commissioned (state trained & certified) Kansas Watershed marshal, I made a personal commitment in 2005 to Kansas Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Gernon, Esq. I promised to preserve the community stewardship spirit of KSC "Golden Case" guidelines for granting special land-use permits.

This landmark ruling aligns with maritime case law governing navigable waters (to the sea) known as the General Prudential Rule (GPR). The GPR which I'm sworn to exercise as a retired USNR Line Officer (1105) requires overriding regional rulings or local regulations compromising HEALTH, Safety or environment of the Wakarusa Watershed's sustainable well-being.

My Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) indicates material USACE & USEPA errors and omissions in performing prior environmental impact assessments which became the basis for subsequent "decision traps" ...

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