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Archive for Tuesday, November 5, 2013

City delays action on proposed roundabout on Wakarusa Drive

November 5, 2013

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Before city commissioners agree to build the largest and busiest roundabout in the city, they first want to hear how large roundabouts are working in Topeka and Johnson County.

On Tuesday night, they certainly got an earful about how several Lawrence residents think a proposed roundabout on Wakarusa Drive at Inverness/Legends Drive will work.

"A two-lane roundabout would be a nightmare," said Alan Cowles, a resident of the West Lawrence neighborhood told commissioners.

The city is budgeted to spend about $2.3 million to rebuild a portion of Wakarusa Drive next summer, and city engineers are recommending the project include the city's first dual lane roundabout at the intersection. Engineers told commissioners at their weekly meeting that the roundabout — the first dual-lane roundabout in the city — would improve vehicle and pedestrian safety compared to a traditional traffic signal or the intersection's current set of four-way stop signs.

Commissioners stopped short of approving the proposed roundabouts. Instead they directed staff members to gather information from Topeka and from Johnson County on how large, dual-lane roundabouts work in those communities.

"It is interesting to me that to the east and the west of us they are both doing this," City Commissioner Bob Schumm said. "Maybe we can learn something from them."

Commissioners plan to hear the issue again at their Nov. 26 meeting.

Commissioners heard from more than a half-dozen residents, and the majority either opposed the roundabout or were uncertain whether traffic volumes at the intersection justified the estimated $350,000 price tag for a roundabout.

Angela Heili showed commissioners pictures of broken curbs and landscaping at current Lawrence roundabouts that have been damaged as motorists have failed to properly navigate the turns.

"We have to do more to educate to people about how to use these," said Heili, who urged the commission to hold off on the roundabout project. "They look cruddy when people run over them. And they take forever to get through them because people don't know how to use them properly."

Engineers told commissioners that they believe the larger size of the roundabout will make it easier for motorists to navigate than many of the existing roundabouts in the city.

Commissioners also heard some public support for the idea.

"I'm an unabashed fan of roundabouts," Lawrence resident Michael Almon said. "It all comes down to the design. The one at 19th and Barker is fabulous. The one at Monterrey Way and Harvard is horrible."

In other news, commissioners:

• Unanimously approved a pair of rezoning requests that will allow for a nine-lot single family development and a small industrial area for a woodworking shop at 1146 Haskell Ave.

• Approved an annexation and rezoning for 9.8 acres of property just east of the site for a proposed Menards store near 31st and Iowa. The property, known as the Snodgrass property, has been sold to Menards, which plans to incorporate it into the shopping center that will house the home improvement retailer and other tenants. Commissioners approved the annexation and the commercial rezoning on a 4-1 vote, with Schumm opposed.

Comments

Greg DiVilbiss 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I think the two lane roundabouts in Topeka on Wanamaker and Urish are working great. you can get where you are going without stopping! This has the added benefit of not having cars just sitting there idling.

These types of roundabouts in my opinion are far superior then the single lane circles we have here now.

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Richard Heckler 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Roundabouts are a good concept IF as Almon suggests the design is right. They work and keep the traffic moving. 5-0 vote = smart thinking.

There may be some congestion at rush hours but there is always congestion during rush hours. Even on multiple lane highways.

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Richard Heckler 10 months, 4 weeks ago

"Approved an annexation and rezoning for 9.8 acres of property just east of the site for a proposed Menards store near 31st and Iowa. The property, known as the Snodgrass property, has been sold to Menards, which plans to incorporate it into the shopping center that will house the home improvement retailer and other tenants. Commissioners approved the annexation and the commercial rezoning on a 4-1 vote, with Schumm opposed."

Schumm was the smart vote on this item. Time will prove Schumm right.

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Richard Heckler 10 months, 4 weeks ago

"Unanimously approved a pair of rezoning requests that will allow for a nine-lot single family development and a small industrial area for a woodworking shop at 1146 Haskell Ave"

Thank you city hall. No small feat as all concerned are well aware.

Consider approving the following rezoning requests for 1146 Haskell Ave. Submitted by Struct/Restruct LLC for BK Rental LLC, property owner of record. Environmental Study - Added 11/05/13

a) Z-13-00350, approximately 2.186 acres from RS10 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District to RS7 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District. Adopt on first reading, Ordinance No. 8932, to rezone (Z-13-00350) approximately 2.186 acres from RS10 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District to RS7 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District, located at 1146 Haskell Ave. (PC Item 2A; approved 9-0 on 10/21/13) Staff Report Map of Area Correspondence - Updated 11/04/13 PC Minutes

ACTION: Approve rezoning (Z-13-00350) of approximately 2.186 acres from RS10 District to RS7 District, located at 1146 Haskell Ave, and adopt on first reading, Ordinance No. 8932, if appropriate.

b) Z-13-00351, approximately 1.785 acres from RS10 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District to IL (Limited Industrial District) District. Adopt on first reading, Ordinance No. 8936, to rezone (Z-13-00351) approximately 1.785 acres from RS10 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District to IL (Limited Industrial District) District, located at 1146 Haskell Ave. (PC Item 2B; approved 8-1 on 10/21/13) Staff Report Staff Memo Map of Area Correspondence - Updated 11/04/13 PC Minutes Zoning Conditions Staff Memo - Added 11/04/13

ACTION: Approve rezoning (Z-13-00351) of approximately 1.785 acres from RS10 District to IL District, located at 1146 Haskell Ave, and adopt on first reading, Ordinance No. 8936, if appropriate.

c) Z-13-00408, approximately 2.384 acres from RS10 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District to OS (Open Space) District. Adopt on first reading, Ordinance No. 8933, to rezone (Z-13-00408) approximately 2.384 acres from RS10 (Single-Dwelling Residential) District to OS (Open Space) District, located at 1146 Haskell Ave. (PC Item 2C; approved 9-0 on 10/21/13) Staff Report Map of Area Correspondence - Updated 11/04/13 PC Minutes

ACTION: Approve rezoning (Z-13-00408) of approximately 2.384 acres from RS10 District to OS District, located at 1146 Haskell Ave, and adopt on first reading, Ordinance No. 8933, if appropriate.

http://lawrenceks.org/assets/agendas/cc/2013/11-05-13/11-05-13_agenda_click_here.html

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Angela Heili 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually, the story I gave with the picture I showed the City Commissioners last night was a semi-truck with a large flatbed trailer full of house building materials had no choice but to take out part of the retaining wall in the center of the roundabout at George Williams Way and Harvard. The roundabout is too small for these large trucks to navigate around without having to take out the retaining wall that houses all the landscaping. While the centers of the roundabouts are very pretty, they become a problem for the larger vehicles like the semi-truck. It had nothing to do with a driver who didn't navigate it correctly, he had no choice.

Chad Lawhorn, if you could correct that I would much appreciate it. Thanks!

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Ron Holzwarth 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Angela, are you claiming that no houses have been built since that roundabout was constructed since no materials can be transported by truck to that location anymore? And moving trucks can't come and go there anymore either?

Driving a semi truck requires a great deal of skill, as I quickly learned on the two occasions that I was at the wheel of my Dad's rig a few decades ago. It was a 1967 Mac cabover, and I had no CDL!

This is probably not the same accident, as I notice it is not a flatbed truck, but it is on the same street, and possibly the same roundabout. With this accident, I can't help but notice that there is a huge amount of room on the right that the driver could have driven on instead of colliding with the retaining wall.

At least tens of thousands of semis have navigated the streets of Lawrence since roundabouts have been in use here in town. And, there were only a very few accidents, I would hazard a guess that the number is less than 12. For comparison's sake, there are an average of about 9 car accidents in Lawrence every single day!

A clip of the comments following that article:
Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 4 months ago:
There have been two posters on this forum that have a CDL. That means they are qualified to drive semi trucks. Neither one of them saw any problem with that intersection, and both of them noted that it was simply driver error.

I don't have a CDL myself, but I have driven a semi truck. Even I can see what he did wrong.

DillonBarnes 2 years, 4 months ago
Do you think that in all the years that that roundabout has been there, this is the first time a truck has attempted to go through it?

I've seen trucks go through roundabout this size or smaller, like the one at 19th and Barker.
-end clip-

But, you are certainly correct in your general statement that roundabouts, as with any other road construction project, should take into account all possible contingencies that may arise, and the safety of all who will be using it, vehicle drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians should be the first priority.

Of course there have been mistakes made in the past, I wouldn't argue that point at all.

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10 months, 3 weeks ago

We could use a really well-designed roundabout at 31st & Louisiana. That's one of the worst spots for a jam during rush hour.

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Greg DiVilbiss 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I believe 31st and Louisiana is being redesigned with the SLT.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The problem with 31st and Louisiana is people who cannot read signs. The outside lane is for traffic that wants to proceed straight ahead on 31st stree. The inside lane (left lane) is for turning left onto Louisiana Street . NOT FOR BEATING THE GUY IN THE OUSIDE LANE ON TO THE STRAIGHT AHEAD ROUTE!!!

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