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Archive for Monday, June 9, 2014

Editorial: Road woes

Traffic problems being caused by multiple major construction projects are an embarrassment to the city.

June 9, 2014

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The Lawrence traffic situation is a mess and apparently will continue to be a mess until sometime in 2015. It is an embarrassment that the construction work wasn’t better planned to avoid the current major problems.

The mess is maddening, frustrating and dangerous. It is causing serious losses for businesses located on the streets where construction work is rerouting or backing up traffic. The entire community is being hurt because out-of-town shoppers and visitors are less inclined to come to Lawrence and risk being entrapped by major traffic delays. It’s far easier and less stressful to drive to retailers in the Topeka or Kansas City areas. Many residential areas also are being affected by the increased traffic spurred by drivers trying to avoid major construction zones.

It continues to be puzzling why Lawrence officials don’t try harder to speed up construction projects. Last week, a bridge spanning the six-lane Interstate 435 was demolished overnight as part of a highway construction project in Overland Park. The wreckage was cleared and the highway was reopened the next day. Crews worked through the night to complete the project.

Why can’t at least some of the current Lawrence projects be put on a fast-track schedule with crews working with lights at night and over the weekends in an effort to cash in on incentives for getting the work completed ahead of schedule?

What’s done is done, and Lawrence residents, visitors and merchants will have to live with it. City officials say the convergence of projects was driven primarily by when state funds for the work became available. Nonetheless, there should be evidence that city officials are doing everything within reason to speed up the projects and adjust traffic signals to try to ease the traffic flow.

The backups and slow traffic the community are experiencing now will pale by comparison to the jams that will occur when the fall semester starts at Kansas University and the Lawrence public schools — not to mention the Saturdays when spectators are trying to make it to Memorial Stadium for home football games.

Again, this is an embarrassment. Lawrence can do better.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 months, 1 week ago

For once, an editorial that I am in completely in agreement with! Truly, the lack of planning, thought and some common sense is completely lacking.

It is sort of like some of the traffic planners are in league with the anti-auto crowd, those misguided trolls who feel everyone ought to walk or take a bike to work and grocery shopping.

Richard Heckler 6 months, 1 week ago

Had the SLT been put off for a few more years this might not be a problem. No doubt there is a rush on this. However if the state runs short of cash Governor Sam Brownback might need to pull the plug on this pork barrel project.

The editorial is correct that for many Oak Park Mall/95th and Quivira is not that far away either by K-10 or I-70. Downtown Lawrence can still be reasonably accessed as well as IWIG milk in North Lawrence.

Neighborhoods will definitely bear the brunt of this unfortunate situation…… yikes.

Richard Heckler 6 months, 1 week ago

What about our walkable community? http://www.bikewalk.org/pdfs/ncbwpubwalkablecomm.pdf

Walkable communities are thriving, livable, sustainable places that give their residents safe transportation choices and improved quality of life. They are the oldest, and until quite recently, the only towns or cities in the world.

Walkable Communities are designed around the human foot, truly the only template that can lead to sustainability and future community prosperity. Increased walkability also helps improve resource responsibility, safety, physical fitness and social interaction.

Most Walkable Communities http://www.walkscore.com/cities-and-neighborhoods/

KCMO made the list http://www.walkscore.com/MO/Kansas_City

Richard Heckler 6 months, 1 week ago

To achieve such a Walkable Community vision, a community needs to address the following elements.

◆ Coherence. A clear, understandable and organized sidewalk, street and land-use system consistent with the scale and function of the surrounding urban context. The sidewalk and street system should link points of interest and activity, provide clean lines of sight and travel, and include simple instructive signage.

◆ Continuity. A pattern of design and usage that unifies the pedestrian system.

◆ Equilibrium. A balance among transportation modes that will accommodate and encourage pedestrian participation.

◆ Safety. Pedestrian protection from automobiles and bicycles. Adequate time to cross intersections without interference. Physical separation from fast- moving cars. Signalization protection when crossing intersections.

◆ Comfort. Secure and negotiable paving materials for sidewalks and crosswalks. Unobstructed passage on the sidewalk and at corners. Signals timed to enable safe and quick crossings.

◆ Sociability. A sense of hospitality and suitability for individual and community interactions. Sidewalks should provide for a variety of uses and activities characteristics of the diverse urban scene.

◆ Accessibility. The opportunity for all individuals to utilize the pedestrian environ- ment as fully as possible.

◆ Efficiency. Simplicity and cost-effectiveness in design and function. Minimum delay along a walking route.

◆ Attractiveness. Clean, efficient and well-maintained surroundings, with adjacent storefronts and activities that provide sidewalk interest.

Carol Bowen 6 months, 1 week ago

All this construction is enough to make a driver want to become a pedestrian!

Ron Holzwarth 6 months, 1 week ago

Pedestrian (noun) definition:
1) A person walking towards or from his/her automobile.
2) A person whose automobile is inoperative.
3) A person not yet old enough to drive an automobile.
4) A person that has lost his/her driver's license for one of many possible reasons.

Carol Bowen 6 months, 1 week ago

  1. A person who chooses not to spend a lot of money on an automobile.
  2. Someone who is disabled.
  3. Someone who is too old to drive.
  4. Someone who enjoys the pleasantries of walking.
  5. Someone who lives too close to destinations to need a car.

Bob Smith 6 months, 1 week ago

I recall Richard saying on this award-winning website that potholes made excellent traffic-calming devices.

Rex Hargis 6 months, 1 week ago

Too bad we didn't get the SLT started back when we voted for it. We wouldn't be in this mess now.

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