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Should the city prohibit left turns at six intersections on 23rd Street from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to speed the flow of traffic?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 30, 2004

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Photo of Richard Cole

“I don’t think it’s necessary. The traffic can be bad, but the left-hand turning lanes take care of most of it.”

Photo of Jeff Seitzinger

“Yes. It will help the flow during the rough hours.”

Photo of Mandy Perkins

“No. Granted, traffic is bad, but it would be really annoying not to be able to turn left, and have to go all the way around.”

Photo of Heather Jorgensen

“Yes, to speed up rush-hour traffic. If they had the money, then more left-hand turning lanes would be a nice alternative.”


missmagoo 10 years, 2 months ago

Reader- Is It Really Necessary To Capitalize The First Letter Of Every Sentence? Just Asking...

jasoniniraq 10 years, 2 months ago

The traffic isn't that bad to deny access for people to turn left. If anything they should make the turning lane bigger so it doesn't interrupt the flow of traffic. I usually drive in a neighborhood to avoid the traffic if I had too. I have noticed more traffic in the neighborhoods, to take shortcuts. The "suicide" lane is always a possiblity. what about the people that are going home that turn left? they would have to drive more just to get home. The traffic lights and intesections seem to be poor planning. Maybe some other better solution is out their

Bronco7fan 10 years, 2 months ago

I would not even allow the turns between 4-6. The traffic traveling west is so bad at that time, i have seen cars backed up to La. There are streets close enough to the ones you mentioned, that people can use, that have turn signals.

lunacydetector 10 years, 2 months ago

the 'reader reaction' address changed to:

as for today's question, i don't see a problem if it is limited to areas that do not have the center turn lane -

quietgirl 10 years, 2 months ago

Yes, Yes, Yes. I have been stuck on 23rd St. going East during rush hour traffic. I don't know why the cars wanting to turn left onto Tennessee do not use the light at Louisiana or go to Mass. Traffic is backed up for blocks and I can't tell you how many accidents I've seen. I think it should be 7 am to 7 pm instead of 4 pm - 6 pm. It really doesn't take any extra time to go around considering the time you have to wait to cross traffic.

Reader 10 years, 2 months ago

For Starters, They Should Turn Tennessee Street Into A Complete "One-Way" South Onto 23rd Street. Let Them Take They're Chances Of Getting On To 23rd Street, Instead Of Getting Off! It Might Be Cheaper And More Cost Effective, In The Long Run. In My Opinion There's No Way In Hell The Other Way Will Work. People "Will" Take Any Opportunity To Make "That Turn" If They Can Get Away With It! And They Will, You Watch And See. They Do It All The Time At 6th And Mass Coming From New Hampshire Street. Where It's Clearly Posted "No Left Turn", But Hey! They Also Have "No U Turns" Posted All Over Downtown Right? "Who?" Pays Attention To Those? Go Figure! And If It's About Taking Away Property? (For Left Hand Turn Lanes) They Already Proved They Can Do That Too! No Questions Asked! They Will Also Need To Do Something To Calm The "Round-A-Bout" Construction Coming Up This Summer At 19th And Louisiana?

mrcairo 10 years, 2 months ago

Yes yes yes. Morning commutes as well.

And - they should build cut-outs for those damn T-Buses to pull into while the drivers take their breaks. I can't imagine why the city invested all this money into the T and didn't build cut-outs for them to pull into and out of when loading and un-loading.

badger 10 years, 2 months ago

I don't drive over there if I can help it, not during morning rush, not during afternoon rush, just not at all, really. I live and work on the other side of Lawrence, and when I was choosing where I would live, distance from 23rd street was actually a factor, as was being a brisk walk from downtown (I can get there in half an hour if I don't dawdle). I think that if traffic is getting hung up, it's the city planners' job to smooth it out, whether that means left turn lanes, disallowing left turns, or putting in more lights with left turn signals.

I used to live in KC, and honestly, you just get used to the 'No Left Turn' signs, and you get a map in your head of how you need to go places. I found, by the way, that when I had to plan ahead and couldn't tell myself I'd be able to make a quickie left off of Southwest Trafficway, I was on time a lot more often because I really knew how much time to plan for, instead of getting bottlenecked when traffic snarls jumped up.

Of the options, this is the least expensive. It's also the least likely to tie up the intersections with construction delays and the least invasive to property owners in the area.

Mrcairo, they do have cutouts, at 9th and Mass where the buses park. Since the buses stop wherever you ask them to, it would be hard to have cutouts where they pull over. Where are the drivers taking long breaks that there aren't cutouts? The only place I've seen them take more than the time necessary to drop someone off or pick him up is at 9th and Mass, where they have cutouts, and at the I-70 Business Center, which isn't exactly a high-traffic location.

Fangorn 10 years, 2 months ago

If they ban left turns, I will engage in a little civil disobedience. They're not solving the problem; they're simply moving it. Turn left at Louisiana? What a pile of smoldering horse dung! I could already spend half my bloody life waiting in the left turn lane from eastbound 23rd. If they ban these turns, the left turn lane will be backed up past Alabama during rush hour. That's really going to help! And turning at Mass doesn't help at all either. I turn at Tennessee because it's easier to get to Kentucky. Turning at Mass. means backtracking and another left turn at 19th. Turning at Lou. means going through the light at 19th (eventually on most days) and then hoping the light at Tenn. is green. Turn on Tenn. instead, right turn at 19th (you can turn right on red if there's no traffic), and get immediately into the left turn lane for Kentucky. Forget Lou. and Mass! What's the point of having these one-way streets to funnel traffic into and out of the downtown area if they make them difficult to access?

If you've been stuck behind someone trying to turn left at one of these streets, use the right-hand lane. It's not difficult. I do it all the time.

[I hope some of the regular posters in this forum will appreciate the irony of a conservative complaining about not being allowed to turn left.]

coldsplice 10 years, 2 months ago


Do you have an opinion on everything or have I just been lucky enough to look at the postings here on 4 occasions and seen your opinions each time...? Perhaps therapy would be a good way to get some "me" time with someone? Just a thought.

PS-are you on the clock right now?

italianprincess 10 years, 2 months ago

Someone removed my post, so therefore I will let the city do what they with their streets, roads, signs, roundabouts, and I will not gripe anymore.

If they want drivers to drvie faster and cause accidents then lets speed up all streets to a 50 MPH zone.

Its crazy and someone in the traffic division has a screw loose somewhere.

Maybe someone should tell him/her to take life a little slower, because lifes to short to be in such a hurry all the time.

Jay_Z 10 years, 2 months ago

Badger, mrcairo is right, those damn T buses have stops along 23rd street and block traffic when they stop to pick up the very few people that ride that worthless system. Traffic gets backed up really bad, and defeats the purpose of a transit system, which is to make traffic flow more efficient (b/c of fewer cars of course).

As for no left turns on 23rd, it is a great idea!! This might be the first smart thing this city commission wants to do. Now if only we could get that south lawrence trafficway built......

Hi_Jinks 10 years, 2 months ago

Jay_Z put his finger on something that does need to be addressed. (I think so, anyway!) This plan/idea is, in fact, just a "band-aid fix" for a wound that requires much more than a band-aid!

And that "wound", of course, is no south Lawrence Trafficway link-up on the southeastern edge of town.

Okay! Sure! There is a lot of traffic on 23rd in both directions (at certain times of day)......and there probably always will be, no matter what happens. However, I'm pretty sure that if Lawrence had a (complete) atlternative route around Lawrence, people would use it! I would! And that (complete) alternative route would alleviate the congestion on 23rd to some degree, I'm sure! ----But the way things have been going...a completion of the SLT in my lifetime is wishful thinking on my part, I guess! (Oh, well!)

So in the meantime....A little something is better than nothing, I suppose!

italianprincess 10 years, 2 months ago

I agree with Hi-Jinks when it comes to alternative routes.

When I need to head out to Target, Walmart, or over in that area I take Lousiana all the way to 31st St. This way I pass up 23rd Street completely. Iowa is always to crowded to use so taking 31st Street over to this area is always good. Yes, sometimes its a bit backed up on Lousiana to get to 31st Street, but I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere anyway.

An alternative route would be a good idea and I'm sure people would use it. What ever happened with the highway road by the theater that leads to no where? Wouldn't that have been the alternative route to use to go around the city?

mdecoste 10 years, 2 months ago

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a pain in the rear not to be able to turn left. What about all the business that would be disrupted. If you are in that big a hurry, take an alternate route. What a mess for out of towners going to games, etc. and for out of town students. I think it would cause more problems that it would solve.

Liberty 10 years, 2 months ago

How about installing a couple of round abouts for the left turners! Ha! Sorry, couldn't resist the temptation...

italianprincess 10 years, 2 months ago

I truely think the traffic/city planning commission doesn't look at the whole spectrum of things when they make decisions.

They look, talk and make their minds up without hearing from the citizens. It seems like the LJWorld is always asking the questions when it comes to issues at hand.

Before anyone makes a decision thats going to effect drivers in the long run, they should really think about what the effects are going to be on everyone.

badger 10 years, 2 months ago

mdecoste and others outraged:

You do understand that this is 10 hours a week total, with regard to six primarily residential streets, correct? I can't recall off the top of my head that the area directly north and south of 23rd St on Ohio, Tennessee, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island streets and Learnard Avenue is a particularly bustling business district, with stores whose hours extend until 6pm. If it were a few blocks east or west, that might affect businesses more. Before raising a fuss about how much something "will hurt business," please demonstrate how much business will genuinely be affected.

I understand your concerns, Fangorn, and salute your commitment to making yourself heard through civil disobedience. I don't like the idea myself, but it's the best of the available options.

In an ideal world, where I could pick the traffic control means without repercussions, I'd put in left turn lanes. However, to do that now would mean widening 23rd Street in at least a couple of the areas, which would mean road construction and taking land away from landowners to do it. I'm generally opposed to the city taking land from people unless it absolutely must (yes, I'm a liberal advocate of individual property rights; I realize it's a little ironic), and I have noticed that when the city starts construction projects, like most other cities it has a difficult time getting them completed on time and on budget.

If they prohibit left turns, and it doesn't solve the problem, they're out some money for signs, a little money for extra law enforcement to patrol the area initially, and some time. Then, they can look at other, more invasive and fiscally involved ways to solve the problem.

Sorry, I didn't realize the buses on 23rd were such a problem. When I've seen them stop, it's perhaps different drivers, who stop just long enough to pick someone up or let someone off, and who won't make more than one stop in a couple of blocks unless the weather's really bad or someone's on crutches or what have you. I've ridden the transit system, and found it to be very handy if you don't mind walking a couple of blocks here and there. I've taken it downtown on nice Saturdays to do some shopping and wander about, as parking is such a nuisance. It's been a while since I did that, though, so I may just be out of touch with current policy on stop length. Ah, well.

And coldsplice? No, I don't post when I'm 'on the clock.' I also don't post when I'm sleeping, or reading, or eating, or spending time with friends, family, and loved ones, taking walks, or any of the other things that account for the grand total of about 23 hours a day that I don't spend goofing around on the Internet. I'm sorry that the 20 minutes or so a day I devote to the LJWorld message board has given you such grave doubts as to my emotional well-being, but I assure you I'm quite all right.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

How about we rezone the 19th-25th/Mass-Iowa area. See, the problem is right now it's very linear, and that makes people more, psychologically speaking, apt to drive like morons. And we all know that, when it comes to things that are just frankly too linear, there's only one solution. . .


Now bear with me, 'cuz I know what you're thinking: "C'mon, jonas, how is a bunch of roundabouts going to help here?" And I say, not a whole bunch of roundabouts. No, I'm talking about THE MOTHER OF ALL ROUNDABOUTS!. Picture a 60 square block roundabout, 2 layers deeps. On the outer layer, all the resteraunts, video stores, paper warehouses, etc. On the inner layer, all the car dealerships, gas stations etc. Nice, ecologically designed narrow tree-lines streets, branching off to what remains of the existing street grid. And in the inner part of the giant circle, we could make a park. NO, a. . . a wildlife preserve!!! Import some Buffalo, Get some quail, prairie grass. It'll be beautiful. It'll be my primary platform when I run for city-czar, I mean, commissioner, in 2020. All of you living in that area bet get on finding a new place to live quick. You've got 16 years left.

pimp11 10 years, 2 months ago

everyone should just give up cars and walk...... hahaha go ahead and pass the no left from 4-6.......thats really gonna stop me from turning left if no one is coming. c'mon get real. even if it is passed no one will listen to it. the bus system sucks a$$. whats the point. only 3-4 people at most use it at each stop. thats a waste of money. how 'bout everyone drive mopeds and scooters!!!!!!!!

remember_username 10 years, 2 months ago

Pimp: Mopeds? In January? Seriously I recently spent several months in China and I can tell you that mopeds are not the solution to traffic congestion.

I think no left turns between 4 and 6 are an ok idea for the problem, but there is no easy solution - somebody is going to be unhappy. It has to be said that as traffic congestion goes 23rd is not so bad.

I'd like to see 23rd re-zoned. Is there any business from Mass to Iowa that we really need - all the time? Maybe it is time to limit the access and turn 23rd into an expressway.

pimp11 10 years, 2 months ago

hey tool I was only kiddin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pimp11 10 years, 2 months ago

Is it really necessary to capitalize the first letter of every word? Just asking.....

coldsplice 10 years, 2 months ago

That's good to hear Badger. Just giving you a bit of a hard time-no offence intended. By the way, not to bring up an old subject but this afternoon, I had a Salvation Army bell ringer follow me into a store-not to ask for a donation (which I didn't give when I came in by the way), but to ask if he could give my two kids a sucker. Maybe there's hope for us yet. CS

Fangorn 10 years, 2 months ago

I frequently travel to NJ. They use a lot of traffic circles there ("roundabouts", if you like a little British flavor). It didn't like them at first, but I think it was merely because they were unfamiliar. They really do work well. No left turn, just go three quarters of the way around the circle.

Also, NJ has a lot of "jug handles" at major intersections. Some are almost like the cloverleaf ramps at freeway interchanges. Go through the intersection then take the lane that veers right and loops all the way back around. Other ramps veer off right before the intersection so you're making the left turn away from the crossing. I don't think that explains it very well, but they are very effective. The problem is that they use quite a bit of real estate. And I'm with Badger on this. I don't like "pubic takings" of private land. There is a Constitutional guide for this (one of the "other" Fifth Amendment rights) and sometimes it is necessary, but too often it is abused.

Jay_Z 10 years, 2 months ago

Mdecoste, no businesses will be affected by the no left turn rule.....the commission wants to put this rule in affect for residential streets.....if you hadn't noticed, the parts of 23rd street that have businesses have a middle turn lane which avoids a left turn problem.

The traffic situation here in Lawrence is terrible. That South Lawrence Trafficway must be built soon or the gridlock in Lawrence will become even stupid transit system is going to relieve our traffic problem. The traffic problem is due to the fact that many people live in Lawrence and work in KC (which I do) and there is really only one entry point into east Lawrence, which is K-10/23rd street. As a side note, whose bright idea was it to turn the light at 23rd and Harper into basically a four way stop (for instance, southbound on harper goes first, then stops, then northbound on harper goes, stops, and then traffic on 23rd is allowed to go)......this does a really good job of backing traffic up coming into Lawrence in the evening when I come home...just genius.

Jeff Goodrick 10 years, 2 months ago


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