Letters to the Editor

31st St. decay

June 13, 2010


To the editor:

The recent protest by the “wetlands advocates” over actions taken by Douglas County to preserve the existing 31st Street (Journal-World, May 27) speaks volumes about their vision of how the wetlands should be preserved, going beyond opposition to the selected alignment of the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Traffic forecasts prepared for the SLT Environmental Impact Statement indicate that 20,000 vehicles a day will use 31st regardless of the final alignment of the trafficway, 27,000 if the SLT is never built. Therefore, the EIS presumes that 31st will need to be rebuilt and/or widened to handle the anticipated traffic load.

The same people who protested the county’s actions, and who are protesting the current EIS, are also likely to be opposed to improvements of 31st Street. Instead of making 31st into an arterial roadway, they seek to rebuild 31st in a way that discourages traffic from using it, if not outright seeking a way to remove 31st from the street system completely. Previous letters in this forum have even suggested that 31st should never have been built in the first place.

In order to achieve effective transportation infrastructure, direct impacts to the Baker Wetlands are unavoidable. Those that find disturbing the wetlands unacceptable would rather allow that system to decay.


anon1958 5 years, 5 months ago

Pointless letter restating the obvious without advancing anything except the view point of the Urinal World News Conglomerate.

anon1958 5 years, 5 months ago

I am 100% for the development of more sidewalks in Lawrence. I would also like for Lawrence to develop better schools and public health facilities. Is that enough development for you?

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

Count me among the folks who think 31st should be removed between Haskell and Louisiana, but I think most of you already knew that.

There is a natural limit to the traffic load the current 31st street can handle. if it is never expanded or otherwise improved, traffic counts will not go up, because they will not be able to. This is not a bad thing.

The sooner we evolve beyond our car-centric me-first culture, the better off we'll all be. Stopping the never-ending senseless building of new roads will go a long way toward achieving that goal.

Richie Kennedy 5 years, 5 months ago

This is exactly the kind of mindset I had in mind when I wrote this letter. People like gccs14r want to, in essence, "punish" those who choose to drive (or, like my family, choose to live somewhere where driving is your only option)

While I'm willing to accept that sometimes improving or building new roads causes additional traffic to be generated, I'm not inclined to believe the inverse - that leaving the roadway system in a vacuum would cause traffic levels to stagnate.

(I know it says "anonymous," I'm trying to get the J-W online people to 'verify' me. Most of you know my 'handle' anyway ;) )

sherlock 5 years, 5 months ago

MORE roads, more traffic! Make a wide freeway, more traffic too---faster & faster, never fast enuf for the average motorist! Gotta hurry, hurry. Slower roads and less so well paved and perhaps Lawrence would not be such a bedroom community. Cover up the country side with more concrete isnt always the answer. Made 31st a wider and faster road and the truck traffic will love it! bye, bye wetlands, hello noise etc.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

The SLT = developers are big budget items = a waste of $300 million big government tax dollars.

Local developers love to increase our big government taxes aka big government handouts aka pork barrel.

BTW 1100 Rd will take cars directly to K-10 Highway and E1900 rd

In 1971 the State Highway Commission recommended a bypass for Lawrence to be built south of the Wakarusa river. NOT through the Baker Wetlands.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Wetlands save taxpayers millions big government tax dollars.

Flood Protection

Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release surface water, rain, snowmelt, groundwater and flood waters. Trees, root mats, and other wetland vegetation also slow the speed of flood waters and distribute them more slowly over the floodplain.

This combined water storage an braking action lowers flood heights and reduces erosion. Wetlands within and downstream of urban areas are particularly valuable, counteracting the greatly increased rate and volume of surface- water runoff from pavement and buildings.

The holding capacity of wetlands helps control floods and prevents water logging of crops.

Preserving and restoring wetlands, together with other water retention, can often provide the level of flood control otherwise provided by expensive dredge operations and levees.

The bottomland hardwood- riparian wetlands along the Mississippi River once stored at least 60 days of floodwater. Now they store only 12 days because most have been filled or drained.

Reference: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1995b. America's wetlands: Our vital link between land and water. Office of Water, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. EPA843-K-95-001.

Wetlands: Protecting Life and Property from Flooding (PDF) (4 pp, 286K, About PDF)

Executive Order 11988: Floodplain Management - an order given by President Carter in 1977 to avoid the adverse impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains.

anon1958 5 years, 5 months ago

I live East of Haskell and the Lawrence Public School District has decided that my son should walk to school (South Junior High School) and refuses to provide bus service to our neighborhood. Thus logic dictates that the road through the wetlands needs to be turned into a safe sidewalk so that children can walk to school safely.

Dont you agree that the current road with no sidewalk is too dangerous for kids that live East of Haskell to use to walk to and from school as the district expects?

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 5 months ago

Without researching the statistics competely, it seems to me that kids are much more likely to be killed in an automobile accidents than to be abducted. But abductions get so much press coverage, and the kids killed in car accidents fly under the radar screen - because it literally happens every day.

Please think of the children - as you buckle them in!

Mike Ford 5 years, 5 months ago

Going back to the dam removal and the fear of the road being undermined, the fact that the county was fearful of roadway damage from rising waters speaks volumes to the point that no major lane highway should be built through there in the first place. I grew up being hauled to my grandparents in Pascagoula, MS from Lake Charles, LA, from 1976 to 1979 on I-10. East of Lafayette was the Atchafalaya Causeway which was at least 10 miles of bridges, levees and water. No one was stupid enough to build roads on grounds that saturated with water. That logic applies here, but none of these full speed ahead capitalists or developers want to hear it. So we will fight them with the laws on our side, dealing with historically deficient opinions devoid of fact and completely ignoring the obvious indigenous connection to the land. McLouth is a lovely place...... NOT!!!!

LadyJ 5 years, 5 months ago

Not entering the debate, just curious. I know the wetlands are man made so my question is which came first, 31st street or the wetlands?

gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

The wetlands were here for thousands of years before European migrants showed up and tried to make captive natives farm them against their will.

applefarmer 5 years, 5 months ago

I can say for a fact that the area was indeed farm lan before the they were MAN MADE into the wetlands. The people who come here for a short amount of time instead of the ones who are born and raised here should just shut up and leave this up to the real residents of Lawrence and Douglas Cty. to decide.

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