The Lawrence City Commission put the brakes — at least for the next 90 days — on a two-way stop at the intersection of 11th and Indiana streets.
On Friday, stop signs returned on 11th to create an all-way stop at a busy intersection just north of Kansas University.
Concern over the intersection arose at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting during a discussion on The Oread hotel’s recent street closure for a block party.
While neighbors didn’t complain about the street closure, they did have concerns about the safety of the intersection.
“There is general chattering that someone, someday will have a bad accident there because it is confusing and not natural,” Oread hotel general manager Nancy Longhurst said.
“Everyone stops and looks at each other and then goes,” she said.
Her concerns were echoed by the city commission.
Mayor Mike Amyx spent time observing the intersection last Saturday afternoon.
“Drivers really didn’t know how to use the intersection,” Amyx said. “It just didn’t seem like it worked to me. And rather than someone getting hurt, let’s make it a four-way stop.”
For years, the intersection had been a two-way stop with stop signs along 11th. When construction started at the Oread hotel, the intersection changed to an all-way stop.
After the hotel was built, traffic studies showed about twice as many vehicles traveled on 11th than on Indiana. Plus, the city had designated 11th as a collector road and Indiana as a local one, city traffic engineer David Woosley said.
And the intersection didn’t meet the criteria laid out for an all-way stop in the traffic engineering bible know as the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Those factors prompted the city’s traffic safety commission to recommend keeping stops signs on Indiana and taking down the signs on 11th.
That was about a month ago.
The city commission’s decision to make the intersection a four-way stop will be in effect for 90 days, which will allow time for the issue to return to the traffic safety commission, which will make another recommendation to city commissioners. Woosley said he thought staffers would compile additional data to provide to traffic commissioners.