Letters to the Editor

Letter: Wider sidewalks

November 9, 2013


To the editor:

Wakarusa Drive is ready for improvements, no question about it. What is more fun than waiting at an intersection for a green light or stopping in an intersection during slow times for no reason, aka no other vehicles in the intersection? More fun is being able to continue motoring without stopping in addition to saving more gas than we know. Roundabouts are not the impossible creature and are less expensive than traffic lights. The 19th and Barker roundabout is doing the job.

Will the roundabout eliminate congestion at rush hours? Is this possible anywhere on the planet?

Sidewalk improvement on Wakarusa gets a big yes. City says 6 feet wide. Some want 10 feet wide like the shared use path on 23rd/Clinton Parkway. Why? Safety. And to encourage exercise for our children that is constant conversation. I have noticed children riding bikes on the walks during morning rush hour, likely on their way to school. A perfect reason for 10 feet wide like the shared use paths on Wakarusa. Parents are not going to encourage their young children to use the new designated bike lanes on Wakarusa. These paths also are friendly to strollers going both ways. Wakarusa can be busy with pedestrians absolutely like 23rd/Clinton Parkway.

Off Kanas Highway 10 onto Woodland towards Olathe, I measured 48-inch designated bike lanes with my Stanley tape measure. Woodland and Wakarusa have two things in common. Active homeowners and lots of homeowners.

Shared-use paths are safer for children. Mind your manners. There is room.


Scott Burkhart 4 years, 6 months ago

Good LTE. Wakarusa is a great corridor for outdoor fitness but the sidewalks are too narrow and in disrepair through several sections.

Re: The Wakarusa/Inverness roundabout; I agree with the writer that 19th and Barker does a great job. I passed through there yesterday and remarked to myself that that intersection handles a great deal of traffic and the flow moves well. I would also suggest a roundabout at Wakarusa and Harvard while they are at it.

Chris Bohling 4 years, 6 months ago

While I support the idea of a roundabout at Wakarusa and Harvard, I disagree about the 19th and Barker roundabout. I live on Barker and use that roundabout daily, and am frequently close to hitting other cars. The problem is not that it is a roundabout, but rather that the roundabout is too small.

I've posted this elsewhere but it bears repeating: there is a science to building roundabouts and they are not all created equal.

As I understand it, the idea behind a roundabout is that two cars entering the roundabout at a right angle from each other at close to the same speed ought to be able to continue through the roundabout without hitting each other. In theory, this should work well in the Barker/19th roundabout, because the speed limit on both streets is 30 mph. However, in practice, it's quite rare the the two vehicles are actually traveling the same speed, and because the roundabout is so small, even a difference of 5 mph can result in a collision if the two cars enter the roundabout at the same time. If the roundabout were a bit wider, it would compensate for speed differences by allowing more space between vehicles. As it is, I frequently come very close to getting hit.

Of course there's no way they could expand the 19th and Barker roundabout; the houses are too close. So, I support roundabouts elsewhere in town - as long as they make them wide. Narrow roundabouts are awful.

Scott Batson 4 years, 6 months ago

Most modern roundabouts are designed to operate at 20 mph or less. What do the advisory speed signs approaching the roundabout say? Many people confuse 'less delay than a signal' with 'don't have to slow down'. The reduction in speed to 20 mph is the key to both the safety and efficiency of a modern roundabout compared to a traditional signal. At 20 mph users can interact with each other, react quicker to slow vehicles - avoiding serious crashes, and minimize the number of vehicles that have to stop.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

I believe entering roundabouts at 15 mph would work better. For roundabouts are about traffic calming while keeping traffic moving simultaneously.

When entering an intersection when no other cars are anywhere to be seen it is nice not to stop for no reason.

Wakarusa has plenty of room for 10 ft paths in several areas so maybe 8 ft paths could work. Going 10 ft the entire way would require losing too many trees.

Scott Batson 4 years, 6 months ago

 Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world.  Visit http://tinyurl.com/iihsRAB for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts.  Modern roundabouts, and the pedestrian refuge islands approaching them, are two of nine proven safety measures identified by the FHWA,  http://tinyurl.com/7qvsaem

The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works. The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 3,000 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way. Modern roundabouts are designed for trucks and trailer towing vehicles by including the center flat area around the circle. It’s not a sidewalk, it’s called a truck apron, and it’s for trucks to begin a sharp right or end a left or U-turn on. Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsCoI7... Or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nVzsC... for examples.

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