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Archive for Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Engineers recommend reducing speed limit on three-mile stretch of County Road 1061

June 22, 2010

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County Road 1061

Drivers on County Road 1061 south of Eudora feel comfortable cruising above the posted speed limit of 55 mph.

They shouldn’t.

The road is too hilly and otherwise inappropriate for such speedy travel, according to county engineers, who recommend reducing the speed limit along a three-mile-long stretch of the road to 45 mph and posting advisory signs to take speed down even farther, to 40 mph in some sections.

The plan is up for review Wednesday night.

“The very alignment — the hills, the sags and crests — don’t really allow for enough stopping distance for cars going 55,” said Keith Browning, country engineer and director of public works. “We do think it needs to be reduced, but this is kind of an interesting case.”

By interesting, Browning is referring to some contradictory facts of the case.

Turns out about 2,200 vehicles make the trip each day along County Road 1061, between North 300 and North 600 roads, making it a busy path of travel, he said. The area is south of Eudora, and northeast of Baldwin City; North 300 Road is a mile north of U.S. Highway 56.

And many of the drivers apparently don’t feel like they need to slow down to stay safe, Browning said.

“Typically engineers measure the 85th percentile of drivers, with the theory that most people are reasonable and prudent and will drive at a reasonable speed,” Browning said, discussing traffic counts conducted along the road in March. “In this case, the 85th percentile speed is 59 (mph), which indicates that 55 (mph) should be fine. But after taking a detailed look at the road’s geometry, we just do not feel that’s an appropriate speed.”

Turns out there are too many driveways that empty out onto the road, just after hills, he said. And there aren’t adequate shoulders to handle vehicles that need to make quick moves to avoid hitting a car that’s pulling out, or a pedestrian walking across the street to get mail.

In all, 21 property owners in the area wrote in to county officials, asking for the speed limit to be reduced. They cited all kinds of problems: accidents both seen and experienced firsthand; worries about children boarding school buses; an increased presence of large trucks using the road; cyclists using the road; drivers described as “hill jumpers” driving through the area; and risks taken on by employees of the U.S. Postal Services, UPS, FedEx and others who need to make frequent roadside stops in an area where driver visibility — coupled with relatively high rates of speed — have led to plenty of close calls.

“We know this stretch better than anyone as we live and drive it daily,” said Tricia Crowe, in her letter delivered to county officials with signatures seeking the reduced speed limit. “It is dangerous. Many have had accidents and there are daily ‘close calls.’ This decrease would help in the safety of the residents of this stretch.”

From 2003 through the end of 2009, there had been 24 accidents along the stretch of road, said Terese Gorman, the county’s engineering division manager.

Commissioners are scheduled to consider the request from neighbors, and the resulting recommendation from Browning, during their regular weekly meeting, which begins at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.

Comments

tomdirt 3 years, 9 months ago

We the people of Douglas county, need to stand up, and change those who represent us! The math doesn't add up to the change. (99.9996 safe passage). We can belly ache here all day about those who turn a blind eye to the facts. Someone who must have friends on the commision, and that means more than the 2200 people who some how have made it safely all these years. We need more common sense!

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whatadrag 3 years, 9 months ago

Over a 3 mile stretch, traveling 45 mph will take about 44 seconds longer than it would take to travel 3 miles at 55 mph. If the sacrifice of 44 seconds for an increase in safety (stopping distances, reaction times) is too much for people, then society has a problem.

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Khublai_Juan 3 years, 9 months ago

The lowered speed limit is a great idea on this stretch of road. It is very hilly and visibility is poor at best. Anyone who drives it regularly knows this. I drive several of the county roads on a regular basis and this particular stretch of road sticks out in my mind as being quite dangerous. I have had several close calls here, both from pulling out of residential driveways and gravel roads. When I was pulling out of a driveway once a large Nebraska Furniture Mart truck came barreling over a hill and would have crushed the car we were in if the driver had not veered into the left lane. At this point instead of slowing down and letting us in, the truck continued and passed us in the right lane, leaving us facing another hill in the left lane and hoping no car was coming. Unfortunately I have heard many more stories similar to this from those that live in this area or drive it regularly.

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Joe Hyde 3 years, 9 months ago

I've driven on this section of CR-1061 many times. The roadway goes over quite a number of sharp up-and-down hills (as opposed to flatter hills that are easier to see over). These hills conceal not only the concentration of private residence driveways, they also conceal slower-moving rural vehicles such as farm tractors. The bunched-together hills set the stage for deadly T-bone crashes, where a vehicle on CR-1061 inflicts a lethal broadside strike on a vehicle turning into or out of a residential driveway. T-bone crashes there are especially likely to victimize families that have a teenage driver who is only beginning to master the skill of turning onto a busy road and accelerating to speed.

If this were a state highway or U.S. highway, then in view of the number of private driveways and type of hills involved, odds are the speed limit would be posted slower than 55 mph. Probably it would be posted at 45 mph. I personally never drive 55 mph through this zone because 55 feels like way too fast a speed given the presence of all those driveways ahead -- driveways I can't see but I know are sitting right over the crest of the next hill.

So I'm 100% in agreement with the county implementing Mr. Browning's recommendation to drop the speed limit through that zone. It's the most prudent safety improvement for that particular environment. And bolting new 45 mph signs to the existing sign posts is also the most cost-effective safety improvement.

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Jim Eckler 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree,after being in a wreck on 1000rd and 458 I think all county roads should be 45 mph or less,It takes along time to stop at 55+mph,and most folks go 75mph ,we are all going too fast these days to get to OZ and nowhere mostly?

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nekansan 3 years, 9 months ago

Never mind that it was the county engineer that approved zoning/plans for the driveways just over the crest of hills. I'd further like to know how many of the accidents on that road were even speed related. I drive that road on a regular basis and numerous times have had drivers pull out right in front of me on sections that sight lines and visibility are not an issue at all.

Lets also not forget that section of road will continue to see usage grow. The new Eudora Turnpike exit and someday (I'm an Optimist) the completion of K10 will continue to add traffic, the solution is road improvements for higher speeds, not ridiculously low speed limits.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 9 months ago

The 21 people who want the limit changed have taken the position the road is THEIR private road, just as some in town too the position that roundabouts were needed in THEIR neighbrohood.

But none of these persons have taken the responsibilty to maintain the streets and roads they want something changed on.

Go figure.

It the road 1061 has this much traffic then the road must be needed to move the vehicles that are traveling on it. It is time for the COUNTY to now widen the road for the future, but that won't happen in Douglas County. Decisions are always made after the fact or made when one of the backroom decision makers decides widening the road is to their advantage.

Widen the road!

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sierraclub 3 years, 9 months ago

How about the people who live next to a school and then complain about what the school does??? lol.....lawrence, go figure......

How about the people who move in next to a train track and then complain about the train track being to close to their house?? lol

Lawrence, go figure.....

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conservative 3 years, 9 months ago

I hate people who buy a house knowing the roads in the area and then lobby to have the speeds changed. They knew what the traffic was like when they bought their property. We see it all the time in lawrence with neighborhoods asking for reduced speed limits or installing speed bumps.

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sierraclub 3 years, 9 months ago

Okay, let me see if my math is working today! 2200 vehicle per day and 365 days in a year would result in 803,000 vehicles in a year. 7 years would result in 5,621,000 vehicles in that time period. 24 accidents does not seem like that much. But, hey, if it saves or reduces accidents, it has to be a good ideal. Strange that they think a road in the middle of now where needs to have a lower speed limit, but a 2 block stretch of 23rd Street is 45mph, between Haskell and Harper, is fine. I bet they is more than 24 accidents a year on that 2 block stretch!!!! Engineers rock!!!! lol

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hurlingchunks 3 years, 9 months ago

How fast were the vehicles going that were involved in the accidents? Was the 55 mile per hour speed limit being obeyed? Sounds like the beginning of another fantastic Kansas speed trap.

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macon47 3 years, 9 months ago

more and more stupid city slickers are moving to the country every day they need to be protected, they dont like the dusty roads, and the smell of manure. however, those roads do have more traffic and more stupid people driving on them so i guess it makes sense, about as much sense as driving 80 or more on k-10

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LJ Whirled 3 years, 9 months ago

Speed Limit, Schmeed Limit! Nobody will obey it anyway.
It's a waste of good signs.

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cheeseburger 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree with the above posters. That roadway has functioned appropriately for a lot of years, and suddenly since Ms. Crowe delivered her letter, now all of a sudden it is a major problem? Looks like the county is starting to play like the city of Lawrence - inconvenience a multitude of people just because one or two complain. Gimme a break!

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kansasredlegs 3 years, 9 months ago

"Trckle Down Engineering" at its best - County Engineers just trying to support the reduction with anecdotal stories instead of crunching numbers. Apparently, the powers that be (commissioners) have expressed their desires about the reduction and not to make waves the engineers are just following orders.

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OonlyBonly 3 years, 9 months ago

24 accidents in 7 years - not all that bad considering the accident rate on other county and city roadways. Plus the types of accidents are indicated. could've been almost anything and qualify.

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thelonious 3 years, 9 months ago

Hills, lack of shoulders, and rural driveways emptying onto the road - how is this any different than any other stretch of county highway? Stick to your 85th percentile rule - it works!

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