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Archive for Monday, August 22, 2011

Committee wants Kansas Highway 10 to be a safety corridor

Evening rush hour traffic on Kansas Highway 10 on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.

Evening rush hour traffic on Kansas Highway 10 on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.

August 22, 2011

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Members of a Kansas Highway 10 safety committee had a long list of concerns last week when they proposed a plan to increase fines and enforcement on the commuter highway east of Lawrence.

They wanted a crackdown on speeding after Kansas Department of Transportation officials showed them statistics that 15 percent of drivers were traveling faster than 77 mph within the 70 mph speed limit. Also, they worried about the number of drivers sending text messages as they barrel down the four-lane highway frequently taking their eyes off the road to look at their phones.

As the first recommendation from the group, formed to study whether the state should put cable median barriers on K-10 between Lawrence and Lenexa, it will ask the Legislature to designate the stretch of K-10 as a highway safety corridor, a tactic that some states have been using for several years.

Members of a K-10 safety committee last week proposed a plan to increase fines and enforcement on the busy commuter highway east of Lawrence.

The committee of Douglas County and Johnson County officials and residents was formed at the urging of Gov. Sam Brownback in the wake of the April 16 cross-median crash near Eudora that killed two of the city’s residents, including 5-year-old Cainan Shutt.

Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said at last week’s meeting he intended to begin working on legislation and seek bipartisan support before proposing it in January. Supporters of designating K-10 as a safety corridor do have several examples from other states they can look to in deciding how far they want things to go.

Highway safety officials in other states urged Kansas to focus on getting input from the community and law enforcement agencies before setting up a highway safety corridor that could include more signs warning drivers, extra traffic patrols and increased fines.

“The advice would be to let the community lead it as long as data is their guiding light,” said Angie Ward, a program manager for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, which has used safety corridors since the 1990s, although it’s not legal in the state to increase fines in the corridors.

State transportation officials in Washington, New Mexico and Virginia said highway safety corridors have helped reduce crashes along problematic stretches.

In New Mexico, department of transportation spokeswoman Megan Arredondo said the state saw 275 fewer crashes, or a 28 percent reduction, from 2001 to 2008 in its 12 safety corridors for areas that have a high number of injuries and deaths. Law enforcement has the authority to double fines on drivers who speed in the areas.

“In any safety corridor program, the key to success is high visibility enforcement,” Arredondo said.

New Mexico also installs signs that designate each corridor and posts lower speed limits.

In Virginia, the program has seen mixed results. Transportation officials said one major key is the ability for a state to direct funds for overtime to law enforcement to help with extra patrols.

Stephen Read, the highway safety improvement program manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said the state has seen a reduction in crashes in a more rural area on Interstate 81 compared to two other more urbanized stretches near the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Richmond area. He said in rural areas there’s less traffic and more room for law enforcement officers to target more dangerous drivers compared to heavily congested areas.

“I definitely think if you can keep that in the public eye, that you’ll see some effect,” Read said.

He said the corridor along I-81 has seen an 11 percent reduction in crashes when compared to similar locations. In the Richmond area it was about a 3 percent reduction, and the one in northern Virginia was about even.

But when he heard a description of K-10 between Lawrence and the suburban Kansas City area, Read said he thought it could be a good candidate to become a safety corridor.

In Washington, however, Ward, the traffic safety commission’s program manager, said her state likely wouldn’t designate K-10 and would probably look more to engineering solutions. But she said the key to using the corridors in her state center on increased enforcement and trying to generate an awareness, largely through the media, about safe driving habits.

“The biggest part in making this road safe,” Ward said, “is how you drive on it.”

Comments

hammerhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

It's easy. Put more cops out there. And the signs as suggested above. I saw thevsigns too, and they do make an impression.

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Alceste 2 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps the Douglas County Commission and the Lawrence City Commission could purchase K-10 (or at least lease it); then we'd own it and do as we will with it. Sorta like paying for the SRS lease.....know what I mean Vern?

After we own/lease/control the road, we can give preferential treatment to DG plated cars and such.....maybe a special speed limit for us as well.

Yeah.....the above idea is a good idea.

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rockchalker52 2 years, 8 months ago

I drove through a safety corridor in New Mexico along I-10. I didn't know what the heck it was all about, but it was very well marked & one definitely got the impression that breaking the speed limit was a very bad idea. Lotsa southwest smokies interested in those corridor miles.
Seems reasonable. Pick the bad areas & say 'this is where we're concentrating. You mess up thru here, it'll cost ya.'

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JerryStubbs 2 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully the traffic commission will carefully examine all of the accidents that have occurred on this highway and base their solution on preventing those particular circumstances ( if possible) rather than just following ideas from other states.

Several of these accidents have been people that somehow used the incorrect ramp to get on the highway. Several of them have been very late at night or early morning and there probably have been wrecks with alcohol or drugs involved.

I haven't noticed any massive multi-car pileups like they have in California sometimes, so I don't know if one can really call tailgating the problem. Except for those early morning snow/ice storms we had last winter, I don't think these accidents are from cars travelling at such a high rate of speed that they run off the road .They seem to be more likely somehow not focused for some reason.

I don't know how to get these people that are distracted to change, and I don't think that patrols will necessarily catch them being distracted, at least in time to save them.

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jesse499 2 years, 8 months ago

Just goes on and on its the highways fault are the texting are reading papers are books are talking on the phone boils down to the same thing Idiots out there not paying attention and speeding and still not getting there any faster then they would driving the speed limit.I don't know how many times someone has blown passed me out there and other places and when i get to the other end of my trip they are just in front or sometimes beside or even in back of me they didn't get there any faster then I did driving the speed limit.

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tolawdjk 2 years, 8 months ago

I looked at the caption under the photo and had to laugh.

Thousands of miles of road across the country and that photo qualifies as "rush hour".

Not only rush hour, but apparently problematic rush hour. Rush hour that can kill.

Speed isn't the problem. Cell phones aren't the problem.

Morons are the problem and you can't legislate common sense. You can try. You can certainly put rules, regulations, laws, suggestions, begging, pleading, and outright coercion out there to try to fix a problem. But as sure as the sun rises in the east, stupid will prevail.

And there is a lot of stupid on K-10. Infact, I would go so far as to say 1 in 4 on K-10 suffers from it.

In fact, look at that same photo, on the right set of lanes. On the far hill you will see three cars. You might have to squint, cause one is tailgating so damn close as to be actually in the trunk of the one in front of it. While I'm not a medical man, I can tell you that driver suffers from stupidity. Absolutely nothing would be hurt if he put a couple more car lengths between him and the car in front. He's going to be late or on time regardless.

But nope, has to sniff tailpipe.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 8 months ago

When a highway such as K10 was built and it not well designed, it will never be safe.

Education? It's always about educating. A better education is a big, big billboard , in fact many of them, offering free funerals to the first person who can speed up and take their life and others.

Just imagine as a driver approaches Church street exit in Eudora, the offering a free funeral on signage. Will the driver slow down enough to get the phone number.

No matter how many patrol officers are on the highway, and a speeder is caught, the next driver speeds right on by.

Look how unsafe K10 is as one approaches Lawrence. Anyone coming from the east from the road to the jail, cannot even see cars coming over the hill.

How could the local planning commission,county engineers and the state ever construct such a deathtrap aka K10? And now the city wants to dump more cars into the Farmland site and wanna bet that some one is planning a bunch of apartments north of K10 as well?

Kellog in Wichita has so many cars on it, and it has been rebuilt to handle the traffic. Maybe Mr. Diepenbrock would take a drive across country and look at other highways and what is going on.

All one has to do is travel the turnpike and I-35 to Oklahoma and count the accidents on that stretch of highway. Does it compare to piddly Lawrence, and Eudonkey and, DeSoto stretch of K10?

Do what Winter Park CO, has done. Put some highway patrol cars and/or police cars with dummies in them, and watch traffic slow down. It will work.

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kawman_sense 2 years, 8 months ago

We should all be celebrating!

An estimated 32,788 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That represents a 25 percent decline since 2005 - NYTimes - 4/1/2011

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 8 months ago

If one of the problems identified is speeding, how does lowering the speed limit help.

Raising fines would seem to be taking advantage of the situation. Fines are already very high.

I rarely saw law enforcement on this road until after it became a political issue.

Enforcement and better signage warning drivers. Those are the keys. Education and enforcement.

Why is that so hard to understand?

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classclown 2 years, 8 months ago

Make the highway like the old fashioned car washes. As you drive onto the highway you guide your tire between rails and then place your car in neutral and allow the track to pull you down the highway.

Then you can eat, read, yak on the phone, text, sext, etc. all you want.

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classclown 2 years, 8 months ago

Turn the median into a minefield. That should stop most crossovers. Or just dig it out. Make it a trench about 10 feet deep.

To cut down on speeding simply add traffic calming circles and speed humps.

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rumor_man 2 years, 8 months ago

I only drive on the shoulder. No speed limit there that I know of.

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madcow 2 years, 8 months ago

Excessive speeding is a problem, but your average guy doing 10 over isn't the one causing accidents.

It is the idiots texting/calling/eating/herpderping that cause accidents. Crack down on those people.

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Getaroom 2 years, 8 months ago

In response to Snappy Poppy: If we were all not here, we would not be here.

I response to the issue: It has been the understanding statewide that due to budget woes, fewer offices are patrolling highways no matter what the issues are for those particular roads/highways. I appears that humans need protection from one another as much as anything since there were civilizations and communities of humans. If one does not think speed kills look at NASCAR. Millions of dollars in resources every year are spent on making those cars and equipment more survivable for the drivers and fans outside the cars. Any safety barrier is going to cost communal dollars, not a corporation like NASCAR, but then I guess if you are Romney you believe that corporations are individuals, but I digress. It is all about people protecting people from other people isn't it? Has it ever been any different? What does it take to do that? If you can't prevent a driver from drinking and driving, taking drugs, driving badly generally, as in; too fast, carelessly, while texting, eating a burger and fries, or any other distractions of your own choosing, then how do we protect ourselves from one another. Slower speed limits, enforced speed limits, higher fines, guardrails, cables, concrete barriers, bumper cars, golf carts only.
It seems over the years the answer has been all of the above. We have all been paying for a very long time to protect ourselves from one another and ourselves. How about something protective down the middle of the median. It all costs money, it eventually comes out of everyones pocket and that is true if you are a Natzi sympathizer, priest, grocery store clerk, Obama hater or lover, Sarah Palin hater or lover and etc.. Time tells us that on our highways speed kills, bad driving kills in all it's forms, weather conditions can kill. If you do not want to pay for the common issues of society, then leave society and don't use any of the resources of this country, which basically means, don't breathe. Pay up or shut up.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 8 months ago

Label it a "Demolition Derby Zone" Clearly K-10 is populated by "urban style" drivers who have no business attempting to operate a deadly weapon.

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overplayedhistory 2 years, 8 months ago

I want to eat whatever I want and live to 100, and never have to pay for any of the amenities offered by civilization. I want to be protected from every possible danger, did I mention I don't want to have to pay for any of it. I want food to be cheaper than the cost of producing it. I want freedom unless there is someone or something I don't like. I want to drive really fast and never get a ticket, did I mention I also want to be protected by ridiculous measures, and not have to pay for it? I want to vote for Preachers instead of Scholars.
I want to be number one, and not have to do anything to be it. I want the facts to say what I want instead of what they are. I want to be a child who pretends to be an adult.

Signed, Most normal American citizens

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bklonnie 2 years, 8 months ago

Maybe I missed it in the article, but where was the correlation between speed and the accidents that have happened on K-10? Yes, obviously speeding can lead to accidents. However, from what I've seen in the news about the accidents on that highway in the last couple of years, they have not been caused by speeding.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

If we were all driving 15MPH golf carts, this wouldn't be a problem.

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jimurich 2 years, 8 months ago

Time of travel is almost a non-issue. The difference between driving 70 mph and 60 mph between Lawrence and Lenexa on K-10 is only 2 minutes. It will also improve your gas mileage by 10%.

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omnedon 2 years, 8 months ago

They will never be able to call the K10 Speedway a "Safety Corridor" until they can enforce the existing speed limit, let alone reduce it, and get the Mario Andretti's (Jeff Gordon's if you need a more current reference) to slow down. In order to get rid of the drinking and driving, we would have to set up checkpoints on every entry point to K10 to keep the drunks off of it, and then set up interference towers to block all cell phone signals for the attention impaired.

Not a likely scenario, but that's where we are headed if you want to control behavior.

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 8 months ago

Speed is a serious issue, but so is tailgating. I rarely drive K-10, but when I do it seems most of the people out there flunked high school physics. When one is less than 100 feet behind another vehicle at 70+ mph, there is nothing to do when something happens in front of you except hope your air bags work and that your seatbelt tightens up just before you crash.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 8 months ago

Pardon me for stating the obvious, but if the goal is "safety," then lower the speed limit to 45 mph, and enforce it.

Otherwise, just accept that as a society we value scratching the itch of our impatience over safety, and the carnage on the roads that comes with it

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Keith Richards 2 years, 8 months ago

How many of the fatal accidents were caused by speeding? To my recollection most were caused by inattentive driving, alcohol, drugs, or some combination. I really don't see how changing the speed and having more visible enforcement would fix most of this highway's problems.

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Orwell 2 years, 8 months ago

Don't expect any state money for highway safety. Sam will tell us we can increase local taxes for it.

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KS 2 years, 8 months ago

Highway 10 between Lawrence and Johnson County has had safety issues for a very long time, even before the new highway. Maybe a lot of immature drivers? Folks don't read the Kansas rule book and do not pay any attention. Left lane driving is horrible. People get into the left lane and appear to fall asleep. I think the last time they "may" have looked into their rear view mirror is when they backed out of their driveway. When entering a Interstate road (Highway 10 is built on those standards), it seems that the rule is to just gun it and push any and everything in the way over to the left lane. There is no yeilding, and the law requires it even if there is no sign. It is my understanding that when one now renews their license, there is no written test. I guess the state figures folks just cheat on that part. I sort of like the 75 mph limit, but I also believe this is one area where 70 is enough. Too many goofy drivers. The State should do whatever they can to improve it and make is as safe as possible.

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Alceste 2 years, 8 months ago

Excellent idea. Cut the speed limit back to 65 and plaster the place with John Law, making certain John Law has many, many "extra" ticket books in the cruiser.

A select group have demonstrated that the 70mph can't be respected or even "stretched" properly. Perhaps "commuters" will start leaving for work in a timely fashion.

Maybe the select group will band together and build their own private deluxe motor speedway and play Parnelli Jones on it. Good Riddance.

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sad_lawrencian 2 years, 8 months ago

Maybe I'm ignorant, but how exactly does changing a highway to a "safety corridor" change anything about the highway? How does it make it more safe?

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coryweber 2 years, 8 months ago

Fill the median w/ sand. Cheap, easy & effective.

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Multidisciplinary 2 years, 8 months ago

No disrespect, but based solely on the headline..Oh please, like Farmer's Turnpike, let's nickname it Trojan Road.

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