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Renovations of the Santa Fe Railway depot in Lawrence could cost more than $1 million. Do you support making those renovations?

Response Percent Votes
51% 528
41% 426
Not sure
6% 68
Total 1022


Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

This railway depot is worth saving. It will be used in the future as so many will be using these tracks as public transportation. Stations of this size are not uncommon on the east cost as riders gather for commuter trains.

The actual cost is not yet known.

Where did the million dollar number come from? It would be better to know. The last estimate I saw was less than a million.

LawrenceKSHomeBoy 8 years, 3 months ago

We need to prioritize. We are education funds but we have a million for the railway depot. That project will wait for better times.

notajayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"This railway depot is worth saving. It will be used in the future as so many will be using these tracks as public transportation. Stations of this size are not uncommon on the east cost as riders gather for commuter trains."

Put down the crack pipe, mertle.

Seriously - have you ever been outside of Lawrence? Do you have ANY frikkin' idea what the difference is in population density between the places you're talking about?

A million dollars - that works out to what, a little over $83,000 for each person that uses the train station on a typical day?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Commuter trains are one way this area will progress once gasoline gets into the wallet deep enough. Some USA cities have been doing it for at least 50 years.

Rehabilitating this for real future use does make dollars and sense.

Yes USD 497 spending $22,763.16 an acre X 76 acres for land and 20 million on athletic fields etc etc is quite stunning. It's amazing how quiet taxpayer are about this activity ...... must be why school district money continues to be recklessly spent.

Perhaps building a new train station at a later date would be far more expensive.

notajayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"Commuter trains are one way this area will progress once gasoline gets into the wallet deep enough. Some USA cities have been doing it for at least 50 years. "

'Some USA cities', dipstick? You mean cities of less than 100,000 population?

Just out of curiosity, mertle, just where do you think all these people are going to be commuting TO? Topeka? On one daily train per day?

Whether or not your drug-induced delusions of people flocking to mass transit come about, mertle, the station is not the limiting factor. It's the rails. You can't schedule enough trains between Lawrence and Topeka or Kansas City to make it a workable schedule due to the freight traffic. Or did you forget that little necessity from those other USA cities? That there's more than one trip daily?

"Rehabilitating this for real future use does make dollars and sense."

Again, mertle, put the crack pipe down and back away. More people will use the SLT than will ever use your choo-choo stop. More people will use the land the school district just bought than will use the train station in 20 years.

Speaking of which - does this sound familiar, mertle?

6 December 2009 at 10:16 a.m. merrill (Anonymous) says…

"It is imperative that communities conduct market capacity studies to understand their market potential, before any vote can be taken on USD 497, retail,residential or light industrial proposals."

So - the school district shouldn't spend money on land you don't think will be needed, but somehow in your addled brain it makes "dollars and sense" to spend a million dollars on a train station used by a dozen people per day?

notajayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

oneeye_wilbur (Anonymous) says…

"Burlington Northern should put the building up for sale. It would make a great 24 hour diner."

Lousy location.

No traffic.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for keeping my notes close by. I'm honored that one respects sound economic tools.

“It is imperative that communities conduct market capacity studies to understand their market potential, before any vote can be taken on USD 497, retail,residential or light industrial proposals.”

This tool if used frequently would provide Lawrence taxpayers with a tighter strong economy. Instead Lawrence runs on economic displacement aka wreckanomics.

I stand by this......

Commuter trains could fit in if necessary . It's all a matter of scheduling. As a matter of fact spending $200,000,000 on commuter rails and commuter trains make far more dollars and sense that the any new highway. Consumers will receive far more mileage life out of rails than out of asphalt = fiscally responsible spending.

nbnozzy 8 years, 3 months ago

Tell you what Merrill, YOU pay for the renovation of the railway station out of YOUR pocket. Once you're done with it, we good citizens of Lawrence will decide whether or not we want to use your depot and will pay a "user" fee.

Sounds fair, right?

labmonkey 8 years, 3 months ago

Merrill...your priorities are screwed up. You want the people to just give more of their hard earned money to the government. You advocate tax increases in other threads and want $1 million spent on this. It is crap like this that needs to be cut in hard times.

ksarmychick 8 years, 3 months ago

Has anyone actually looked at using the amtrack station? The prices are outragious and the trains have a very select route. It would have taken me over a day by train to get to Denver, Including a 14 hour bus ride half way across the country the other way, at over $600 a ticket. Maybe if prices were better and more direct route were added it might be worth saving, but not now, and not until the economy gets better.

walkthehawk 8 years, 3 months ago

This question could have been conceptualized in a less all-or-nothing way. I definitely think the depot, or a depot, is worth saving/having in town, and that regional rail is a smart investment in the future. That said, I don't necessarily think the price tag needs to be $1 million, or close to it, and I'm not sure we need to do it this year.

I'm guessing there are others who feel similarly, but this "up or down" vote of a poll makes it hard to see that, especially when it's tied to a number guaranteed to incite public ire given current cash shortfalls.

walkthehawk 8 years, 3 months ago

and ksarmychick--it depends where you're going. You are right that Denver is totally out of the question, because there's no direct route. You have to connect in Nebraska; that would be because the feds scrapped the line running across Kansas decades ago (the rails are still there, and used by CSX and its regional carriers, ie UP/BNSF, etc., but the service is not.) For Chicago, though, the train makes decent time, compared to car travel. St. Louis takes longer than it should, but that's because we have ceded all right-of-way for rail travel to the freight haulers. That's national policy at this point, and it's reversible.

Additions to the Amtrak route system are now being studied (for the first time in my lifetime--it's an interesting change), but the real major opportunity of a functional Lawrence depot lies in regional rail. It's fast, affordable, safe, and an engine of economic development. Check out FrontRunner in the Ogden-Salt Lake-Provo area for an example of what this can look like.

dickmerkin 8 years, 3 months ago

After we blow up the turnpike bridge, we should blow this building up too. Why not sell tickets and generate some revenue from it. Maybe have a lottery and the winner gets to drive the bulldozer.

One million dollars for an empty building...I have a few empty buildings...

Georgine McHenry 8 years, 3 months ago

The train depot is in pretty bad shape BUT now is not the time. This is Lawrence however, it wasn't the time to double merit pay for city employees or for the school to buy land for a future sports complex or to even consider moving the shelter to the old sight of Don's steak house. Lawrence does whatever it wants, when it wants. I have to live on a budget but it seems Lawrence does not.

dickmerkin 8 years, 3 months ago

Or drive an empty T bus into it as it blows up. We'll need a driver....Lew...

quimby 8 years, 3 months ago

I support this - What the survey doesn't tell you is where the funding comes from. Much of it would from a KDOT grant, if approved - not from the city.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 3 months ago

& KDOT's money comes from .... wait for it .... taxes. You still wind up paying for this project! It's just spread out among more Kansas taxpayers.

Mel Wedermyer 8 years, 3 months ago

Why over one million? They just completely remodeled a historic 9 story, 120+ room hotel in KC for $10 Mil, why so much for a one story train station.

BigPrune 8 years, 3 months ago

This equates to only $250 per square foot. This is chicken feed for the broke City of Lawrence.

BigPrune 8 years, 3 months ago

....I mean the broke state of Kansas.

pace 8 years, 3 months ago

I think the building is worth saving, I don't think the poll's money figure is worth saving. Hey LJW get with it.

remember_username 8 years, 3 months ago

walkthehawk - I'm all for train travel but I'm not sure you're right about the right-of-way comment. As I understand it the rails are owned by the freight haulers and Amtrak leases them for it's routes, so I can't envision that policy reversing. Plus, hauling freight is rough on the track and the Amtrak trains are required to move slower on freight rails due to the rough conditions. Best to use the existing right-of-ways and put in light rail track for commuter use but there just isn't the demand in this area for the investment. Sure, eventually as fuel prices climb there will be the demand for light rail. Of course, by then the resources will be needed elsewhere for things like wringing the last of the water out of the aquifer to halt the desertification of the plains, tidal barriers to protect our coastal cities, and military actions to maintain our standard of living.

beawolf 8 years, 3 months ago

The monies are KDOT available grants. It's going to be spent, so why not in Lawrence? Passenger train travel is up and will continue to increase. Amtrak carried nearly 27.2 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2009, marking the second highest ridership total since the National Railroad Passenger Corporation started operations in 1971. Through the fiscal year 2009, 4,500 passengers boarded or alighted Amtrak's Southwest Chief at the Lawrence, KS Santa Fe Station. This represents an increase of 12.3% over last year's ridership.

Based upon a 10% increase in ridership over the next 10 years, the average cost per passenger will be around $15.00 for the $1,000,000 renovation.

notajayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says…

"Thanks for keeping my notes close by. I'm honored that one respects sound economic tools."


merrill actually responded to a post rather than cut-and-pasting another of his canned diatribes!!!

LJW editors, where were you? This is front page stuff!

The point, merrill, is that you demand the school system do 'market capacity' studies before spending money. (I didn't exactly keep your notes close by, you know, they are listed under your user name.) It's a pretty safe bet Lawrence residents will continue to have kids, but we only have your delusional pipe dreams to think people will ever use the train depot for commuting, and right now you're advocating spending a million dollars for something a dozen people use (and even at that our taxes pay half their fares).

Let me spell it out for you, as someone who commutes 56 miles each way between Douglas Cty & eastern Jackson Cty every day.

First, I'd have to leave my 7-year-old standing outside a school building for three hours in the dark and the cold to drop her off in time for me to catch the train. Then I'd have to drive more than a third of the distance I'm already driving to get to the train station, and find a place to park.

Once I got to Kansas City, I'd have to find a way to get out to where I work. I can take two buses, taking about an hour and a half, which means my total commuting time (drive to Lawrence - 0:20, train to KC - 1:37, bus - 0:57, plus waiting/transfer times) is 3-1/2 hours. (My drive takes approx. 55 minutes.)

Total cost: Over three times what it costs me to drive.

Oh, but there's more - there are no buses by the time I leave work. So I'd have to take a cab. And the only train returning doesn't get back to Lawrence until 12:30 in the morning. So I'm home at 1:00 am at the earliest, to get approx. 3 hours of sleep before getting up to do it again.

And what happens when, as happened last week, I get the phone call that my wife is rushing my daughter to the hospital? 'Sorry, honey, I'll be there about 1:00 in the morning.'

Seriously, merrill - you really, really think this is the way to travel? You really need to put down the pipe, man. Help is available, seriously.

olddesk 8 years, 3 months ago

Let's see this town can't find the money to keep streets in proper repair and talking about raising trash pickup fees because of lack of revenue but we want to spend $1 million or so on this project. Then we want to spend money on buying a building so that a certain pharma company will stay in town and create maybe 20 new jobs. I could go on but what's the use in trying to reason with the Narcissistic Schizoid personalities that we have on our City Commission.

pace 8 years, 3 months ago

a lot of people have approached the rail road for over 30 years for purchase or lease to do a cafe, a few blocks from down town and good parking. The rr always said no, they did no maintenance. I think they wanted to wreck it. The depot is worth saving, and I wouldn't mind a little innovation, lease it out for commercial use. Yes to the diner idea.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 3 months ago

This station can be preserved with an occasional new roof and new paint. I saw the roof going on this summer. paint isn't that expensive. I'm sure that with a 1mill. price tag that there are other issues at hand, but the building isn't going to fall down for many more years even if we don't spend money on it now.

Clark Coan 8 years, 3 months ago

The original SF depot was a magnificent stone structure. This one is rather ugly. However, it can serve as a multi-modal transportation hub. It can be restored in phases as federal funds become available. The transportation enhancement funds are federal funds administered by KDOT.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago


Posted 10:27 a.m., August 25, 2008 Suggest removal

don't buy the $500,000 price in the article! with "design" maintenance and other routine costs, and the underestimated ADA compliance figure, this is really at least a $1 million building! I applaud the volunteers for their work. I also enjoy rail travel. however, we're not able to take care of street repairs properly unless sales taxes rise. we're needing a tax increase to continue the fixed-route T. Now is certainly not the time for our city to sink $1 million or perhaps more into this. The passenger rail station is being cleaned and repaired by Depox Redux, Lawrence Moderns and other volunteers.merrill's use of "smart" stems from a nonstandard definition of that word. and it seems jackieriper is opposed to free enterprise. it really is fantasy to believe that rail is going to grow substantially as a passenger carrier nationally. but then, these two are among the greenie-wheenies who hope for higher gas prices, and prevent us from drilling for our own oil. same could be said for quoted in the article yDOOM-dranyam. let's see, she came in dead last of the candidates in the last city commission election. she has expressed opposition to the south lawrence trafficway, primarily because people will actually drive on it! really.

pace 8 years, 3 months ago

gpoor marion posting and posting, he needs attention, he doesn't have to make sense he just needs attention. He needs it so much. I wonder why? Oh who cares. As before, several people tried for years to get permission to set up a diner, the rail road would not entertain the idea. Several people were willing to put up the cash.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 3 months ago





de jure



















Randall Barnes 8 years, 3 months ago


Godot 8 years, 3 months ago

Do the city fathers really believe that Warren Buffet needs/deserves a taxpayer bailout? If Buffet does not see the viability of renovating this station on his own railroad, why should the city of Lawrence taxpayers fund it?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 3 months ago

Diner idea: this isn't 1956. So some dude HAD diners along railways? Guess what: people actually used the trains back then. It was a different time. Those days are in the past.

Merrill: You cannot be serious. IF the poeple in metro KC would pay for a light rail system, we could get on board and link in to it... but they don't care. KC will not have a commuter rail system, ever. So why all this talk about how other communities have been doing it for 50 years? Those communities have had those for 80 years, and they are well integrated into other rail systems and run up and down the east coast and that has nothing to do with whether or not we should blow $1.3M to save a non-descript building that no one will use or care about. No one in Lawrence will ever ride a train to work as long as KC doesn't have an existing system.

notajayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

rando1965 (Anonymous) says…

"would make an awesome homeless shelter,,,,,,"

Thought that was the primary purpose of any train station ...

Flap Doodle 8 years, 3 months ago













Boston_Corbett 8 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

notajayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

oneeye_wilbur (Anonymous) says…

"Any items to go will cost a special “fee” just for the privilege of the food items leaving the buidling. Fee yet to be determined."

Doesn't matter. Anyone leaving (or arriving at) that building has half their cost paid through tax dollars.

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