Archive for Sunday, April 20, 2014

City engineers want roundabout at 19th and Naismith, plus two other major intersections

April 20, 2014


Your future trips to Allen Fieldhouse may include a new twist: a roundabout.

City engineers want to apply for state grants to build a roundabout at 19th Street and Naismith Drive, plus at two other high-profile intersections — Kasold Drive and Harvard Road, and Wakarusa Drive and Harvard Road.

City commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday evening will consider approving grant applications for $1.3 million in state funds to construct the roundabouts. If approved, construction work on the roundabouts likely wouldn't begin until 2016. The city likely will learn this summer whether the state will provide funding for any of the projects.

Regardless of whether they are funded, the applications are the latest sign that city engineers are looking to add roundabouts to major city thoroughfares.

"Roundabouts have fewer conflict points with other vehicles and pedestrians," City Engineer David Cronin wrote in a memo to commissioners. "They reduce high severity crashes such as right angle and left-turn/head-on crashes."

The city for several years had not approved roundabout projects on major city streets, but that ended in November when the city commission agreed to replace the four-way stop sign system at Wakarusa Drive and Inverness/Legends Drive with a roundabout. It is being designed as the city's first two-lane roundabout, meaning vehicles can travel through it side-by-side.

Commissioners approved the roundabout despite objections from neighbors, and then last week upheld the decision after neighbors presented new research that raises concerns about bicycle safety and dual-lane roundabouts.

The proposed roundabout at Wakarusa Drive and Harvard Road would be a dual-lane roundabout. The application materials do not make clear whether the roundabouts at 19th and Naismith and Wakarusa and Harvard would be dual lane, and attempts to reach a representative in the city's public works office weren't successful Friday afternoon.

As proposed, each roundabout would cost about $500,000 to $550,000 to build, with the city paying $50,000 to $55,000 for each project. State funds would cover the balance.

Engineers report that the condition of the intersections and their crash histories justify the projects. Wakarusa and Harvard has had 11 crashes during the past three years, with two accidents involving injuries. Kasold and Harvard has had 13 crashes in the last three years, with one involving injuries. The intersection of 19th and Naismith has had 17 crashes during the last three years, with two involving injuries.

Commissioners also will consider applying for two other state grant projects. They are:

• $900,000 to rebuild the intersection of 23rd and Haskell. The project would add right-turn lanes on 23rd Street for both east and westbound traffic, and would include new traffic signals and concrete pavement. The project is expected to cost $1.2 million, with the city paying for $300,000. If approved, construction likely would begin in 2016, which would allow the work to be done as the South Lawrence Trafficway is completed. The SLT will have an interchange just to the south at 31st and Haskell.

• $200,000 to resurface Iowa Street from Sixth Street to Harvard Road. The project is expected to cost $650,000, with the city paying $450,000. If approved, the project would be completed in the summer of 2015.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.


Jim Fisher 4 years, 1 month ago

Lets put roundabouts at all intersections!

Curtis Lange 4 years, 1 month ago

I know you posted that in jest, but it honestly would be nice. Stop lights (and especially stop signs) suck.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 1 month ago

Stop lights (and especially stop signs) suck. Only to those who don't understand them and how smoothly they function.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 1 month ago

Make all major intersections on Iowa St and 23rd St into at least 2 lane or maybe 3 lane roundabouts. Think of how much smoother the traffic would flow

Seth Amott 4 years, 1 month ago

Manhattan has a two lane Roundabout on one of their major roads. I mean, if they can handle it, Lawrence surely can. I really like the idea of one on Naismith, that would create a pretty neat focal point and entrance to what is already a historical area. Put a fountain with a big ol' statue of James Naismith, and that is bound to become some hot B-Roll for ESPN broadcasts.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 1 month ago

Wonderful idea, I love it! That's what we need to do and soon, it would create a lot of jobs too, so, win-win.


Chris Johnson 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm all for a roundabout at Harvard and Kasold. The only challenge I see is dealing with the pedestrian crossing. They do have a crossing guard there on school days. Maybe they could put up a crossing light a half block south, similar to the light at the top of the 9th St. hill.

Brian Hall 4 years, 1 month ago

Why are people always concerned with pedestrian crossing? It's not like roundabouts don't have designated areas to cross at.

Roundabout at 37th & Wanamaker in Topeka, showing designated crosswalks for pedestrians.

Roundabout at 37th & Wanamaker in Topeka, showing designated crosswalks for pedestrians. by bhall87

Kevin Elliott 4 years, 1 month ago

I think it is time to start a support group for roundabout phobics, they need to lower their anxiety level and learn how to use them.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 1 month ago

Right on Kevin, roundabouts are groovy. Say I have another idea for the one at 19th and Naismith, have James Naismith with the left leg bent at the knee and the other leg stretched out behind, and he is holding a basketball in his left hand while a sign revolves around the ball that says, rockchalk, Jayhawk, KU.

Clark Coan 4 years, 1 month ago

I understand that traffic on 19th regularly backs up to Louisiana, so the roundabout should help with that.

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