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Are there things about Lawrence traffic that you dislike or are frustrated by?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 18, 2012

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Photo of Sarah Melody

“The intersection at 31st and Louisiana — I think it should be a light rather than a four-way stop.”

Photo of Elizabeth Boyles

“As a pedestrian, all the intersections crossing 23rd are difficult.”

Photo of Aftan Jameson

“23rd and Haskell is frustrating.”

Photo of Marcus Hase

“I wish the parking meters were a little less expensive.”


Phoghorn 5 years, 11 months ago

Compared to Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, no. BUT the crummy roads in many parts of Lawrence can not handle the traffic that we do have. It is not the volume of the traffic that is the problem in Lawrence. It is the lack of left turn lanes/signals, uncoordinated lights, poor pavement markings, lack of good through roads, and dumb or oudated intersection design.

Kenny Nall 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree. Those are death traps.

I also think the roundabouts have completely backfired, Just think of the bother it poses to the fire department and ambulances.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 11 months ago

Roundabouts have NOT completely backfired, they've been in use for 109 years, since the first one was built in the UK in 1903.

That was 6 years before the first Ford Model T was built.

One of the biggest advantages of roundabouts is that deaths and injuries are almost unheard of at roundabouts.

Loki 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't think that is a traffic problem.......

Kenny Nall 5 years, 11 months ago

You're right, it's not a problem specifically related to vehicle traffic but I still find them cumbersome.

Kenny Nall 5 years, 11 months ago

None of the incidents mentioned above do I have a problem with. Plus, there are numerous intersections with lights that are terrible. So adding a stoplight to an intersection doesn't always make it more convenient or even more safe for that matter.

pace 5 years, 11 months ago

The traffic patterns at the Lecompton turnpike exiting onto Highway 40, especially around 5 pm, and at night, is horrible. Same set up on hw 4 in Topeka exiting onto Hw 40 has lights and makes sense. Highway 40 and the western turnpike road is oddly confusing and dangerous.

ECM 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes it is. Especially because some drivers turn right and then U turn to avoid waiting in line to turn left onto 40!

jonas_opines 5 years, 11 months ago

I had the thought, not a few times, that the resistance to doing anything there, such as putting in a light, was because the stupid amount of traffic backed up at that 4 ways stop sign intersection made the SLT seem more necessary.

Either that, or good ol' fashioned incompetence. I suppose that neither would surprise me terribly.

puddleglum 5 years, 11 months ago

here's a crazy idea (solution) NOT involving another stupid stop light:

make the southbound k-10 traffic go underneath the bridge, then exit in a loop, right up to east-bound 6th st (aka hwy 40) just like it does off of the west lawrence turnpike exit at 6th and Iowa streets. wow, a clover leaf? who would have thunk it? or should we ask, why didn't they thunk it?

no stop lights, constant flow, easy to use and understand (low risk of missouri drivers)

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 11 months ago

puddleglum, that would be nice, but it would be even nicer if the oncoming eastbound traffic at that intersection was on only the left lane, so that merging would not be necessary.

I don't see why that couldn't be done, since the eastbound traffic on I-40 is all on one lane anyway until you get close to Lawrence, then there's two lanes.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

"I also think the roundabouts have completely backfired, Just think of the bother it poses to the fire department and ambulances."

Fire and Emergency services have been consulted on traffic calming devices. They also have special privileges when approaching a traffic calming device during emergency runs in order to not compromise their efforts.

RoeDapple 5 years, 11 months ago

As a life long professional driver I do not get frustrated with traffic problems. . I anticipate them. (if driving makes you angry, you are the problem.)

funkdog1 5 years, 11 months ago

All of the left-hand turn lights in town that only last about 20 seconds. Invariably, the first driver isn't paying attention when the light turns green, wasting about 10 seconds before the second driver will honk to get their attention, because we're polite in the midwest. Also, all of the Missouri drivers who seem to think that every large intersection in town is equipped with double left hand turn lanes. I don't know how many times I've seen a Missouri driver make a left hand turn from an outside lane that is NOT designated for left turns.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 11 months ago

Exactly! I am walking across 23rd, almost to the curb, about five feet away and a car getting ready to turn is waiting for me. He is where he is supposed to be and the driver being him is honking furiously, expecting him to go. Cannot he see that I am in front of the first car? Ah, question for the pro, if someone behind you is honking and honking and no way can you move, still not frustrated?

pace 5 years, 11 months ago

be careful. I was stopped at a crosswalk , filled with a family, and a yahoo sped around me and almost took them out. I do remember the old days, when yellow meant stop, now red doesn't even mean stop.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 11 months ago

pace, they would certainly would not have been the first pedestrians to have been killed in Lawrence exactly that way.

RoeDapple 5 years, 11 months ago

Nope! If they are in that big of hurry they should have started sooner. Their problem, not mine. My spouse waits much longer than most for traffic to clear, sometimes getting a blast of horn from the car behind. I have coached her to drive at her comfort level, not someone elses (sp?)

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

Didn't a prolific poster on this award-winning website say that potholes were good traffic-calming devices?

50YearResident 5 years, 11 months ago

Center of street barriers. With streets not wide enough already, Lawrence has to install pedestrian ilands and curbs in the center of the street to make sure cars stay on their side. If the city had to pay for damages done when a car doesn't quite clear the barrier, it would run into millions of dollars. Iowa street was one of the worst before they took some of them out just to put more in. Now Lousiana St. from 19th to 31st is the #1 vehicle destroyer in town. Do we really have a Street engineer?

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

People hit those? How? It's not like they're not obvious.

Phoghorn 5 years, 11 months ago

After a deep snowfall, perhaps not, especially for out of town drivers.

50YearResident 5 years, 11 months ago

Just look at the tire marks on every square inch of those where they have been run over. People hit them. after dark, in heavy rain or snow falls, and all other times when visability is limited.

50YearResident 5 years, 11 months ago

Hit one just once and you will have several thousand dollars damage to your vehicle. Try it sometime and see for yourself.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

Sorry, no. I don't hit things when driving. Maybe it's because I look through the windows when going down the road.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 11 months ago

Give him a break. Maybe his steering wheel is broken.

FlintlockRifle 5 years, 11 months ago

For a small town we don't really have much of a problem, most of the problems are caused by the drivers in a hurry, should have left home 10 min. sooner, and get of my back bumper, most drivers are relaying on the brakes to stop real quick, buddy they do fail--

friendlyjhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

All that necessary road work botches up the traffic flow and makes drivers crazy. Is that a remedy for that? Yep, control yourself. Wish drivers using phones would be ticketed. Also wish drivers would get the hell out of the way for emergency vehicles quickly.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

I wish the city would leave the light at 19th and Haskell operational overnight, instead of converting it to flashing red/yellow at 2200.

JackMcKee 5 years, 11 months ago

People that drive 35 on Clinton Parkway.

JackMcKee 5 years, 11 months ago

I've seen some blow right through red lights on 9th. It's one thing if they can see the traffic and make it through a stop sign without impeding other traffic. A total kamikaze run through 9th and Kentucky is a totally different ball game. People that get their panties in a wad over someone blowing through a stop sign when it didn't affect them in any way are a hoot. They typically get the double bird.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 11 months ago

I betcha tailgaters have the lowest average IQ of any sub-group of licensed drivers. The blinking left turn arrows are nice traffic movers.
Sure has changed from when I was riding my bike on a gravel road south of 23rd. You prolly know it as Alabama street.

Richard Payton 5 years, 11 months ago

No problems if you own that Terrafugia (flying car). The Jetson's must live in Lawrence, KS.

purplesage 5 years, 11 months ago

Roundabouts. Construction on the SAME roads, year after year after year (e.g. Hwy 59 from the river brindge north). Lack of clear striping on the roadways. .

Bob Harvey 5 years, 11 months ago

Cell phones and texting. It's getting to be that I see the top of people's heads more than I do their faces. After being run into by one texting fool while sitting at a traffic light I wish there was something that could be installed in the cars that would disable them.. They are pretty easy to spot, swerving from side to side looking down at their crotch. Stop it. You are going to kill somebody.

acg 5 years, 11 months ago

I came across a guy a few weeks ago who was looking down and swervy so I thought, automatically, texting, right? Got up next to him at a light, turns out he was rolling a joint! I mean, seriously folks, can't we pull over for that stuff?!

booyalab 5 years, 11 months ago

“I wish the parking meters were a little less expensive.”

They are actually very cheap. Few cities' meters accept nickels and dimes and usually you can't get any time for less than a dollar.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

And be grateful that they're actually meters. Some cities have you walk to a ticket dispenser, buy one for the amount of time you anticipate being there, and place the ticket on the dash. If you overpay and leave before time expires, the next person does not get to use your extra time. You also can't surreptitiously slip a spare nickel in someone's meter that's about to expire if there's no meter.

booyalab 5 years, 11 months ago

For the most part, Kansans do not know what traffic is. I have witnessed native Kansans in other states that don't even have the worst traffic problems in the nation, like MN or TX. They express shock and dismay when they decide to go anywhere at 6pm, as if the concept of rush hour is totally new...which to them it is. (having your drive take 5 minutes longer than it would at 2pm is not rush hour)

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 11 months ago

I certainly do know what you mean. It's quite a bummer for a 60 mile trip on the Interstate to take 3 hours, and sometimes more. That's the case during rush hour in Los Angeles suburbia in many places. That is, if traffic is moving at all.

That's why many people in California really like motorcycles. Because, it's legal for a motorcyclist to drive on the line between the lanes, passing between cars that are stuck on the Interstate. Here's the downside about that law: The speed limit is 10 mph faster than the cars you are passing.

Geiiga 5 years, 11 months ago

23rd street at night is a clusterf....

I mean, seriously. I come in to town every night at around 11pm, and if I'm obeying the speed limits, every single light is red for me. Haskell, Harper, Barker (!), Mass, Louisiana, and Alabama (can't get too upset about Naismith since that's my left turn).

On the other hand, if I drive 7-10 mph over, I've got a fighting chance for my first red light to be when I turn left on Naismith. Which is impossible on the 45mph portion of 23rd east of Mass because only about one in ten drivers appears to notice the white signs with the giant black 45 on them.

Seems like after about 11 we could go to flashing amber on 23rd/flashing red on the cross streets.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 11 months ago

"Are there things about Lawrence traffic that you dislike or are frustrated by?"

Yes. I dislike the fact that there are so many traffic accidents in Lawrence and many other places, and I am frustrated because there is very little I can do about it other than to drive very carefully myself.

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

Mass is one lane southbound from 6th to 15th. Where you think it's two lanes, curbside parking is permitted. Note that there is no dashed white lane divider between 11th and 14th. On Iowa north of 9th, there are three conflicting needs. There needs to be room for a substantial left turn lane for 6th, a well-defined lane for turnpike access, and room for a center turn lane for businesses on the east side of Iowa, especially the hotels. What the engineers came up with seems to be a reasonable compromise.

Joe Hyde 5 years, 11 months ago

So many aggressive, rude drivers (male and female equally, even the handicapped get into the act); tailgaters; stop light runners; stop sign runners; drivers on Mass St. whipping illegal U-turns across the double yellow line to steal an opposite side parking stall; drivers and passengers tossing litter (esp. burning cigarettes).

LPD, DCSD and KUPD could work wonders improving local driver behavior (and thereby improving general public safety) if each department would add to their respective patrol fleet at least one totally unmarked traffic unit. For moving violations of all categories Lawrence is a target-rich environment deserving of a focused enforcement campaign.

pace 5 years, 11 months ago

When I was in Peru, during heavy traffic, it was quite simple, I closed my eyes and prayed. I admit I was in a taxi, but oh my.

Liberty275 5 years, 11 months ago

Not the traffic. but the extremely foolish way the light is set up at barker and 23rd. If you are turning north off of 23rd, you can get caught at a red light while cars come up from behind accelerating to 55 as the hit K10. I won't usually sit at that light unless I see a cop.

acg 5 years, 11 months ago

I think the fact that Tennessee and KY are one way up to 19th street is very confusing for newbies. Each year I see a student (assuming cause it's always a young'un with out of state tags) driving down Tennessee street in the wrong lane. They should make those one-ways all the way to 23rd or someone's going to get killed.

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