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Archive for Wednesday, November 25, 2009

City gives signal for traffic lights

Traffic flows north and south along Iowa street between the stoplights at Harvard Road, at top, and 15th Street. Portions of Bob Billings Parkway/15th Street, for several hundred feet east and west of Iowa Street, will be closed in May, while crews in the area rebuild the road.

Traffic flows north and south along Iowa street between the stoplights at Harvard Road, at top, and 15th Street. Portions of Bob Billings Parkway/15th Street, for several hundred feet east and west of Iowa Street, will be closed in May, while crews in the area rebuild the road.

November 25, 2009

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Smarter signals get green light from commission

City commissioners at their meeting Tuesday night elected to move ahead with a plan to sync the traffic signals on Sixth Street and on Iowa by installing fiber optic cable. Enlarge video

By this time next year, Lawrence should have a smarter batch of traffic signals.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday approved a nearly $60,000 contract to design a project that will better synchronize traffic lights on portions of Sixth Street and Iowa Street.

“It is going to give us the tool to give more green lights to get people dispersed quicker,” said Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works.

At their weekly meeting, commissioners approved a timeline for the project that calls for construction to begin in June and for work to be finished in November 2010.

The project will involve running fiber optic cable along Sixth Street from Massachusetts to Iowa streets, and along Iowa Street from Sixth to 23rd streets. The cable will allow the traffic signals to be synchronized via a city computer, which will give the city the ability to change the timing of traffic signals on Kansas University game days, snow events and other unusual traffic days.

Other features of the new system will include:

• Automatic notification of traffic signal malfunctions, which should lead to quicker repairs.

• Video monitoring of intersections with 360 degree cameras. The video monitoring will allow city crews to make adjustments to the lights to deal with traffic accidents or other unusual traffic situations.

The Kansas Department of Transportation already has committed $250,000 to the project. The remaining $250,000 will come from city funds, though Soules said he’s approaching KU and county leaders about a possible cost-sharing arrangement.

Soules said additional fiber optic cable could be added to the project for a minimal cost. If the university and county were willing to contribute to the project, the additional fiber could be used to create a communication system that connects county and university facilities. Soules said with the cost savings, the city could perhaps expand the project farther west on Sixth Street or begin to run cable down a portion of 23rd Street.

The city has an overall plan for synchronizing lights on major streets throughout the city. The cost estimate for that plan is about $3 million.

City Commissioner Mike Dever said he’s excited to see how much the new system will help improve traffic flow.

“I think we’re going to have to wait and see how efficient it makes us,” Dever said. “I think it is going to be a nice pilot program. When you have a street grid like ours with so few roads going all the way across the community, it is really important that we keep the ones we have moving efficiently.”

Comments

3up3down 5 years ago

Our City leaders at their best again. Let's spend money we don't have. Sure the State is going to fund 250 grand of this, and they don't have the money either. More proposed budget cuts at the State level. No more money for schools and they want to stuff it under the ground so the Nebraska fans can get home quicker? So we can move more effeciently on snow days? How many snowy days do we have in 365 days? Why not put it into education or the food panties? I guess they are trying to keep up with the stupid crap the school board does, like build on-site sports facilities.

Ignorant_Yokel 5 years ago

Rargghh! I channel my anger into comments on the LJworld! I'm anonymous so you don't know if I'm a professor at KU or the janitor at the Jayhawk Motel. Listen to ME!

Happy Thanksgiving!

jehovah_bob 5 years ago

Hey, how do I get into the food panties?

jehovah_bob 5 years ago

Py- Read the second line from the bottom of 3up3down's comment.

Joshua Montgomery 5 years ago

That is the Lawrence Freenet Project's offer to cover a sizable percentage of the costs of this project. So far the project team has rec'd no official response.

puddleglum 5 years ago

oh boy, where's girlfriend? I thought he always attax freenet?

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years ago

Might I suggest traffic light synchronization as designed by the Esther Williams Corporation?

bd 5 years ago

I have traveled(6240 trips total)) to work and back from Baldwin junction to 9th st. every day for the last 21 years and count on one hand the days that I missed all of the red lights.Those days are lucky days so I buy a lottery ticket, not so lucky one win for a free ticket that was a loser! The most frustraighting days are when I hit every red light !

Maybe they could spend that money on the SLT????

RKLOG 5 years ago

Ignorant_Yokel (Anonymous) says…

"Rargghh! I channel my anger into comments on the LJworld! I'm anonymous so you don't know if I'm a professor at KU or the janitor at the Jayhawk Motel. Listen to ME!

Happy Thanksgiving!"

I agree. This group is a bunch of morons who don't realize that when they post anonymously that they have, in effect, the credentials matching those found on a grade school playground. And, Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

scott3460 5 years ago

A comment by the city commissioners on the level of congestion on 23rd Street? If 23rd is sooooo bad that we need the SLT, you'd think that would be where the money was first spent.

Alternatively, nice to see that the perpetual state of road repair on 6th Street will continue for a few more years. I swear some portion of that street has been under some sort of repair or construction since I arrived in town in 1988. Funded several college educations and retirements for well-connected road paving contractors, I suppose.

workinghard 5 years ago

Wasn't the signal lights on Iowa synchronized some years back? I remember an article where the traffic department was bragging how many minutes they were saving the drivers on Iowa. I'm thinking about 10 yrs ago. Does anybody remember? Will this system be obsolete in a dozen years too?

sheriearly26 5 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

conservative 5 years ago

Scott3460 asks why they don't start with 23rd. Biggest reason is because the computer control center will be on 6th street according to previous articles. Does no good to run the fiber optics down 23rd if they don't connect back to the command station. Second issue is that 23rd has so many curb cuts that synchronizing the lights will be spotty at best. That is why newer stretches of commercial development restrict access to the main road and use shared parking lots and access roads.

cowboy 5 years ago

I'm sure the city employees could do it but it would take three decades for them to get it done.

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