Archive for Wednesday, October 14, 2009

KU wants to alter 11th Street to increase parking for new Gridiron Club

Project would improve traffic flow, add parking

A split formation for 11th Street near Memorial Stadium would be straightened out in conjunction with Kansas Athletics Inc.’s game plan for a new $34 million Gridiron Club.

October 14, 2009


A split formation for 11th Street near Memorial Stadium would be straightened in conjunction with Kansas Athletics Inc.’s game plan for a new $34 million Gridiron Club.

The street’s offset intersections at Mississippi Street — a source of driver confusion for decades — would be consolidated into a traditional four-way stop, as part of KU’s proposed plan.

That’s because a new stretch of 11th would be built, starting from its intersection with Illinois Street and cutting diagonally through McCook Olympic Field, an area currently used by KU’s track and field team for discus, javelin and shot put events. The road would connect into a new traditional four-way intersection on Mississippi at the eastern leg of 11th.

McCook Olympic Field would be relocated to an area south of Anschutz Sports Pavilion.

By moving the field events and rebuilding the road, KU could add as many as 158 new parking spaces — all part of the vision for the stadium’s expanded seating-and-lounge area expected to include 3,000 seats and pump as much as $40 million into academic programs.

“At this point it’s in the planning-and-discussion stage,” said Don Steeples, KU senior vice provost. “We’ve got a long way to go.”

The stadium expansion and road-relocation project is up for review during Thursday’s meeting of the city’s Historic Resources Commission, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets. The proposed plans also envision a new campus gateway to be installed at what would be the northwest corner of the new intersection at 11th and Mississippi.

The commission is involved because the entire project would be near the Hancock Historic District, a collection of more than a dozen structures generally located between the stadium and the Ecumenical Christian Ministries building near campus.

KU’s Campus Historic Preservation Board already has signed off on the project.

No firm timetable had been set for construction, Steeples said. Kansas Athletics Inc. continues seeking donors to pay up front for access to Gridiron Club seats for anywhere from five years to 30 years into the future, starting with the 2010 season.

Construction could begin by year’s end, he said.

“If they’re going to get it active for next season, they’ve got to get cranking,” Steeples said.

Although he has yet to review KU’s proposal, Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works, said that rebuilding the road likely would cost anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000.

Steeples said that the source of financing would be “up for discussion,” considering that the realignment would be an improvement that would benefit both KU and the city overall.

But Soules noted that the change was being requested by KU, on its own property, to benefit one of its own construction projects.

“We’ll work with them if they want to do it, but I’m assuming they’ll have to fund it,” Soules said. “You look at it as a development. … I know it’s KU, but from our perspective it’s a development. Any road improvements or modifications that are necessary to the street network are paid for by the development.”

The offset intersections at 11th and Mississippi generally handle about 13,000 vehicles per day, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. Traffic picks up on football game days, as thousands of fans converge on the stadium.

The city finances a game-day bus service that shuttles fans between downtown and the stadium, and KU’s plans for the relocated street and new parking lots include a “bus transit hub” just south of where Illinois Street now ends.


gsxr600 8 years, 8 months ago

If only 19 people could fit into a car...

gsxr600 8 years, 8 months ago

Before you know it they're going to blow up the hill and turn it into a parking lot. Just wondering, but how many parking places did the "practice fields" take away? At least 200, right? It's hardly used at all.

parrothead8 8 years, 8 months ago

I agree that KU should fund the change they are seeking. I'd like to see an artist's rendering of how it would look, but if it is as described in the article this would be a massive improvement for traffic in the area.

gccs14r 8 years, 8 months ago

Rather than put the practice fields on campus, they should have built a whole new athletics complex out in the open away from town. Then all the space freed up on campus could have been returned to academic use. This would have improved traffic management, parking, and building space for the University, for KUAC, and for Lawrence as a whole.

puddleglum 8 years, 8 months ago

does KU want this, or is it "Lew wants this"?????

blindrabbit 8 years, 8 months ago

I would consider this "if and only" KUAA agrees to give-up on any KU "home game" at Arrowhead.

mfagan 8 years, 8 months ago

Interesting thought on the "Model T street." I'd like to see one come down the hill, then turn onto Mississippi and go left onto 11th -- back up another hill. A push from Darrell Stuckey certainly might help. ... Here's some more history about the street itself: What is now 11th Street (west of Mississippi, along the north side of the stadium) started out as a county road, as noted on some documents back in 1884. By 1909 it was known as McCook Avenue -- named for Col. John McCook, whose name had graced KU's first football field, McCook Field, a project for which he'd donated $2,500 to get a building drive going. Today, the track-and-field area adjacent to the stadium remains known as McCook Olympic Field. ... Anyway, the street became known as Stadium Street by 1923, following up on construction of the stadium's initial sections a couple years earlier. ... A 1927 map refers to the street as 11th Street, and a city ordinance in 1962 refers to it as "11th Street, previously known as Stadium Street." ... KU's preliminary design proposal, by the way, does not propose any name change for the street.

Mark Fagan Transportation reporter

somebodynew 8 years, 8 months ago

puddlegum - I hope that is a rethoric (sp) question. Anybody knows that is KU Athletics is mentions it IS was Big Lew wants.

But, I hope the city sticks to it's guns here. KU wants it, they can foot the bill. Lord knows the Athletic Department is bringing in enough money to pay for it. Plus they will probably charge extra for the people who park in the extra parking this will bring.

hujiko 8 years, 8 months ago

Man am I glad to see this, now when people want to blow through that intersection they only have to deal with one stop sign, WHAT A DEAL!

blindrabbit 8 years, 8 months ago

Great location for the City to install a roundabout.

H_Lecter 8 years, 8 months ago

Instead of eliminating the only grassy tailgating area, why not move the monument to stupidity at the other end of the stadium, the football practice field. The field that was placed so that 100% of the practices could be viewed, filmed, and studied by opposing teams. I assume we'll also get rid of the marching band and student seats because Lew thinks he can make more from those seats. I'd love to have Lew for dinner at my house.

TopJayhawk 8 years, 8 months ago

H_Lechter. You are a moron. How hard was it to watch practices at the old fields along Clinton Pkway? But you just go right on hating. It's what you do best.

killjoy 8 years, 8 months ago


Who's the moron? You can't even spell his name and you think the football team practiced on Clinton Parkway? Put down the bong. (But, I'm guessing it's what you do best.)

I think we all eschew Lew.

He's ruining the tailgating for the loyal fans and catering to the guests of corporate sponsors. He could just as easily have a shuttle from the alumni center and Oread Inn.

Have you ever experienced the tailgating at schools who have the space to do it right? Even during their down years, the KSU parking lot is filled with tailgaters and that keeps their stadium full. Look at the last forty years at NU.

You need a different login name. You don't have the intelligence to call yourself "top" anything, especially associated to KU.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 8 months ago

It'll happen. KU gets whatever they want from the city. Who's really running this town anyway?

ralphralph 8 years, 8 months ago

Pave all of Lawrence for the Pretend Football Program.

Danimal 8 years, 8 months ago

Well, there goes my tailgating spot. I knew it would happen eventually, but it looks like Big Lew is going to snap up our beloved little lot sooner than I thought. I always thought it would just become more premium, catered "tailgating" tents and not just a street. It won't be long before the common fan won't be able to tailgate within 500 yards of Memorial Stadium.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 8 months ago

Staying home, drinking and watching it on TV is cheaper, warmer and you get a better view of the game.

Aisling 8 years, 8 months ago

Mark: thanks for the info on the area. I am fascinated by what Lawrence use to be. My parents both grew up here I loved listening to them talk about 'their Lawrence'.

billbodiggens 8 years, 8 months ago

Isn’t the some type of endangered toad or something living where they want to make this “improvement?”

lounger 8 years, 8 months ago

Can we have some real news, please! Not just "Hey K.U. Athletics wants to do this so its going to be done no matter the cost". Im REALLY tired of the Athletics department getting ALL the news about K.U.

Angel Gillaspie 8 years, 8 months ago

Hey, they should rename the part of 11th street that goes through the grass - Farmbrough Drive!

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

So KU wants to cut into the downtown revenue one more time. What local developers are pushing this?

knowyourfacts 8 years, 8 months ago

"sports sports sports"..."KU cutting into revenue"....If it werent for KU athletics alot of these downtown merchants wouldn't stay around. The amount of revenue a KU home game both basketball and football brings to Lawrence is insane. You people need to stop complaining and be thanking KU. Go sit in a tree or something.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 8 months ago

It should be OK there, Agilla, It's a ways from where Missouri_Street lives!

shorttrees 8 years, 8 months ago

I just wish someone would send that underworld spawned fiend known here on Earth as "Lew" back to wherever he came from. Otherwise we are on track to live in "KUville" rather than Lawrence. He can take his corporatist ideas and buddies with him.

Practicality 8 years, 8 months ago

If it wasn't for KU, Lawrence would just be a smaller version of East Topeka!

flux 8 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence is the home of KU, not the other way around.

knowyourfacts 8 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence would be a crappy little town just like Baldwin or Ottawa if it werent for KU. Merchants in this town should be thanking Lew Perkins for the giant he is turning the athletic department into.

grimpeur 8 years, 8 months ago

We don't need a student tax. We need a freaking Kansas Athletics, Inc. parking space surcharge. Count up the parking spaces in AFH garage and in front of Burge, Missisippi lots, and any other lot where parking is reserved (i.e. students and faculty have to leave their paid-for spots) for game days. Multiply by $100/year/space for existing spaces within the KAI sphere of influence, $300/year/space for the JRP hill lots and for any new spaces installed within the fiefdom henceforth. Lew signs the checks. The city cashes them to pay for the streets which deliver the fans to KAI. A good first step.

Hey, you know what? Lookie over there! There's still some of the hill left unmolested! We can't have that, now can we?! The defacement initiative remains unfulfilled. When you're done ruining one of the finest open spaces still existing among midwestern campuses, then we can talk about more parking. Mmkay?

"Steeples said that the source of financing would be 'up for discussion'...

Wow! Presumptuous arrogant disingenuous fairy fart much?

Maybe if someone came up to Strong Hall and beat the living daylights out of Steeples with a sheaf of newpaper stories about budget crunches in the city, cutbacks in maintenance and manpower, and the general inability of the streets fund to keep up with KU's traffic problems (see recent sales tax making milk and shirts more expensive to pay for streets) interspersed with articles about KAI's unbridled spending, exorbitant salaries, indulgent facilities and new hotel (yea, it's a KAI hotel), maybe, just maybe, THEN he would understand just how completely inappropriate his suggestion is.

No? How about a sheaf of stone tablets, then? Just wondering what it's going to take to get the message across...

Um, actually, DON, it's not up for discussion. KAI pays for this project 110%. No discussion. Unless you'd like to persuade us that you think the surcharges described above are just too low. Thanks for playing, though.

Wait a be fair, Steeples might have meant "discussion" about which KAI employee, donor, or Williams fund contributor--Mangino, Perkins, Anderson, etc.--would be the "source of financing."

In that case, carry on, then.

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