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Archive for Monday, December 10, 2012

Support grows for loop highway in Douglas, Leavenworth, Johnson counties

December 10, 2012

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— Policymakers have been considering the need for a loop highway on the outskirts of suburban Johnson County in part to deal with the swelling population in the county’s rural areas.

An outer loop is being examined as part of a state study on changing transportation demands in Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami, Douglas and Leavenworth counties in eastern Kansas. The study is expected to be finished next year, The Kansas City Star reported.

Last week, Gov. Sam Brownback said he’s among those who’d like to see more serious discussion of such a roadway. He said a loop that would run from Interstate 70 near Tonganoxie south to Gardner and then east toward Missouri would help deal with the growing population and a BNSF shipping hub that’s under construction in Edgerton.

But any plans for a new loop are only in the discussion phase. Money from the state’s transportation budget already has been allocated for major projects, and it generally takes several years to plan such a highway.

“We’re talking 20, 30, 40 years down the road,” Johnson County Commission Chairman Ed Eilert said. “It’s a concept rather than a firm proposal.”

The county has urged state officials to consider the outer loop as a “freeway,” which could cost more than $2 billion to build. But the county also has suggested the state could make it a toll road, which could be a hurdle because Kansas requires any new toll road to pay for itself.

There have been two previous failed tries to build a similar highway. In 1995, the county killed plans for a 36-mile loop, and then about five years ago, the county considered and then set aside the idea of building a parkway connecting Cass County in neighboring Missouri with Johnson County in Kansas.

Comments

Ken Lassman 1 year, 4 months ago

A relevant study worth looking at was done in the 90s where they compared Des Moines, IA and Lincoln, NE, each roughly the same population, but Des Moines spending a billion dollars more creating a transportation loop around itself. Guess what: the congestion rate was LESS on the Lincoln roads than the Des Moines roads, because the ribbons of asphalt promoted sprawl, folks living further away and commuting further, and businesses locating way out in the boonies. KC metro is already seriously sprawled; this will only make it worse.

http://www.ctre.iastate.edu/pubs/semisesq/session2/kelly/index.htm

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KiferGhost 1 year, 4 months ago

Imagine the types who support Brownshirt and this kind of road building nonsense are the same people who were driving the biggest suvs they could in the '00 with their support the troops ribbons, the troops over getting blown up while the typical pig American was wasting resources without any thought of the sacrifices it required.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 4 months ago

But don't make them pay any taxes for it. Maybe if businesses and people really want this road they should be willing to pay for it. You know, with evil taxes. Or make the businesses build the road and charge a toll. Isn't that the conservative's solution? Oh no, they want the government to do all that, without charging taxes, while they take all the credit for it. Then they accuse the liberals of wanting free stuff. Did you know that the tax raise that the president want will affect more blue states, than red states? Already the red states are the takers, this will just make them even more takers. Funny.

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none2 1 year, 4 months ago

It also appears that due to fiscal restraints the JO is cutting some routes, and making some other modifications:

http://www.thejo.com/pdf/Rider/2013RouteSchedules.pdf

Under such circumstances, it sounds like the trend in this area is away from public transportation. It sounds like the worst hit are those in other smaller towns that feed into the metro area -- such as Paola, Spring Hill, and DeSoto.

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none2 1 year, 4 months ago

Are people aware that the JO's K-10 Connector fares are going up? Currently $3.00 one way, it will go up to $3.50 on 2-Jan-2013, and again to $4.00 on 1-July-2013. Coinciding, all other JO routes will have a 20% increase fares on 1-July-2013:

http://www.thejo.com/pdf/Rider/K10Fare.pdf

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Gootsie 1 year, 4 months ago

Highway 54 that runs through Wichita and to the southern part of the state?

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ShePrecedes 1 year, 4 months ago

I would rather see HWY 54 expanded to 4-lane. The land has already been bought.

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kuguardgrl13 1 year, 4 months ago

Eliminate commuter drivers by making parking astronomically expensive and hard to find. My brother has lived in Boston since going to school up there and gave his car to me to have here. He takes the T and the bus system everywhere. On the rare occasions he needs a car to get somewhere, he gets a ride with friends or rents a car for a day. My parents relocated to Baltimore after my dad took a job opportunity in DC. He leaves ridiculously early in the morning to drive to the commuter train station near the Baltimore airport. Then there's the 45 minute train ride to Union Station with a transfer to the metro and the walk to the office. All of that was exchanged with an 8 minute commute from one Minneapolis suburb to another. But you do what you can to get the house you can afford and get to work so you can put food on the table. If you didn't know, it's a lot less expensive to live outside of DC and commute than it is to live in the city or the immediate suburbs. So you can see that public transit commuting isn't easy and you have to make sacrifices.

In this case, we might look at Minneapolis/St. Paul as a model for what could be done in the KC area. While the MSP metro area is less spread out in some ways, there are people making the hour+ commute from western Wisconsin. What many of the suburbs around the cities have done is added a commuter bus route from a central part of their town that goes directly to Minneapolis. While a few of these suburbs have a bus system like the T, several of them only have this commuter router. Several cities have even banded together to benefit from one system. All of these routes integrate into the MSP bus system using the already existant stops and hub. They go to large shopping and business areas as well as the University of Minnesota. The system for where I lived has a large hub near the mall with a free parking garage. There are commuter buses that go to several parts of Minneapolis that leave every few minutes. From there, you can connect to many metro bus routes to get almost anywhere in MSP. Perhaps a similar system could be built by expanding the JO and integrating it with the KC metro bus system. It could go to more than just JCCC if several communities contributed.

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none2 1 year, 4 months ago

Talk about commuter rail in this part of the country. In Lawrence, no one even wants to subsidize the K-10 Connector which comes all out of Johnson County funds. Before you get pie in the sky grandiose ideas such as this, you need to see that such buses have a rise in use. The K-10 Connector is fine for those going to JCCC or KU Edwards Campus, but the hookups to the Metro bus system once you are there makes it prohibitive time wise as others pointed out. You would have the same problem with commuter rail. If some bus system was at capacity, then one might make a case for commuter rail. If you are thinking that cars will go away, it is going to take a lot more than some commuter rail. People work, live all over the place, and when they work it is not necessarily all 9-5 M-F.

Now as for one more outer loop interstate quality road in the metro area, I cannot see the need for it. Odds are I-35 is going to get widened anyway as it is an important interstate to connect between Mexico, the US, and Canada. If the intermodal location needs more roads, they should have considered that before building where they built.

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flloyd 1 year, 4 months ago

People complain about Amtrak getting subsidies. What about the oil & gas companies getting these roads built at tax payer expense? Talk about a subsidy...

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disappointed_regressive 1 year, 4 months ago

I think traumatized progressives deserve this access to other successful areas. Little Blue Islanders can now set their sites on more wallet-happy areas. No? Money is going to be flowing like Niagara falls shortly. Afterall, Niagra falls is essentially a 'cliff' with water flowing over it. Who can not like that? Regressives will support this too I'm sure.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Where's the money?

For the sake of tax dollar efficiency kill the wetlands route and put that 200-300 million tax $$$$$ in the loop pie.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Bring on commuter rail. Prepare Kansas for the real world.

BTW Kansas has the 9th highest sales tax in the nation. Lawrence must be in the top ten.

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KiferGhost 1 year, 4 months ago

"gccs - give me a realistic estimate. I'm going from where I live at 23rd. and Iowa to where I work in the Country Club Plaza. I take the "T" to the commuter to the city bus in K.C. Taking into account their schedules and add in some wait time, how long would you estimate the trip to be? Don't forget to add in all the stops along the way."

Step one, consider why do you live in Lawrence when you work in KC? That is if we really want to get to the real issue. Oh I know, it is your right and all but imagine you are one of those who complains about evil oil companies and Obama whenever gas prices go up. Look at the facts, look at what is going down.

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KiferGhost 1 year, 4 months ago

rvjayhawk 4 hours, 4 minutes ago Commuter rail has not worked anywhere other than highly populated areas. And Kansas is not highly populated.

What is the definition of "worked"? Not making a profit? So where is the profit from the roads? Explain how building roads which is done from taxes, just like Amtrak, is producing a profit.

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KiferGhost 1 year, 4 months ago

cheeseburger 58 minutes ago It will be if your friends Caron, Eye, and tuschie become involved in their traditional obstructionist practices

While the sheep follow obediently, too ignorant to explore the facts.

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KiferGhost 1 year, 4 months ago

All these roads are sure goin to be purdy when the cost of extracting oil and gas is prohibitively expensive to think we'll be driving like we are today. Trucking companies are already aware of this and moving to more piggybacks on trains. In 30-40 years it is unlikely people will be able to afford commuting 50 miles one way every day.

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KiferGhost 1 year, 4 months ago

Since the stupid reply button under the comment isn't working for me I'll do it the old fashion way-

Liberal 56 minutes ago

As long as you were willing to go back to the days of not having a car to go where you want when you want. How often would this system run in smaller communities once a day? How do you get from the rail line to where you are really going? Rent a horse? Anyone seen a cab lately? In rural, small cities especially one that is spread out like KC is...you are talking major boondoggle.

There use to be an interurban between Lawrence and KC that ran every hour and stopped in towns that don't even exist today (ie small towns) and then you could take the trolleys in Lawrence and KC to get to where you were going.

Years of carcentric urban planning, Lawrence is a perfect example, is the real problem. There are people in hick towns like NYC where people don't have cars and don't believe they are using horses either. Proper planning and working to fix the mistakes of our sprawling growth should be a priority.

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biggunz 1 year, 4 months ago

Lol. Here come the B*tch and Moan crowd. Right on time!

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KansasLiberal 1 year, 4 months ago

Over two billion dollars to build a road less than 50 miles long that will only serve a few thousand people? Does that seem like a good use of tax dollars? And we know how well projects like this stay on budget, so why not just say that it's a four billion dollar project?

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 4 months ago

Get ready for industrial parks in Leavenworth county. Trucking hubs. Lawtence runs off these kinds of projects. Trucking terminal just west of St Pats church on state ave.lomgtime friend architect predicted this trucking , intermodal years ago. He lives on State ave and has watchedthegrowth in western Wyandotte county while Lawrence runs off business.

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Milton Bland 1 year, 4 months ago

Commuter rail has not worked anywhere other than highly populated areas. And Kansas is not highly populated.

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gccs14r 1 year, 4 months ago

Commuter rail would be a better use of resources and could run on renewable energy.

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