Chris_Tilden (Chris Tilden)


Comment history

Editorial: Street strategy

Reducing 4-lane roads to 3 lanes (one lane each way and a center turn lane) is being done successfully all over the country. The Federal Highway Administration has labeled this strategy a “Proven Safety Countermeasure.” Here are a few reasons why these road engineering experts believe this strategy deserves attention:

1. Reconfigured roads reduce excessive speeding, increasing safety for all roadway users, motorists and non-motorists alike.

2. These roads actually tend to have more consistent traffic flow and less accordion-style “slow and go” traffic movement.

3. These roads are proven to reduce the number of crashes and the severity of crashes when they occur. There are dramatically fewer:
• Rear-end collisions;
• Collisions with cars from side streets (in part because they have to contend with only three instead of four possible lanes of traffic); and
• Crashes involving people walking; and on bicycles.

These projects have been shown to work well on roads carrying 20,000 or more vehicles each day. While Kasold Drive may seem like a busy street to those of us who live in Lawrence, daily traffic volumes are less than 15,000. Peak traffic flow on Kasold is also less than traffic engineers believe is appropriate for a road with one lane of traffic flow in each direction.

July 7, 2015 at 9:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Kasold plan support

Each road project should be considered on its own merits, but there is plenty of evidence that taking a four-lane road and reducing it to one lane of traffic in each direction with a center turn lane does not significantly increase travel times and dramatically reduces crashes.

The concept has been applied in large cities from Chicago to Los Angeles and smaller communities like Lansing, Michigan, and Waterloo, Iowa. It has been studied extensively and endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration for roads with as many as 25,000 cars a day. If I am not mistaken, road volumes on Kasold are less than 10,000 a day, so my guess is that congestion will not be a big issue.

I also want to disclose that I work at the health department and help provide administrative support for LiveWell Lawrence coalition. Working with the 150+ community residents in this coalition, I don’t see anyone looking to abolish the automobile. They are simply trying to support system, policy and environmental changes that help enhance opportunities for physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco-free living in our community. They realize not everyone can or will walk or bike to work or school. But there are evidence-based approaches like “Complete Streets” (already an adopted city policy) and Safe Routes to School that can increase the number of people who get to priority destinations around town without a car. We should encourage these efforts.

June 30, 2015 at 9:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Plenty of Lawrence students want to bike, walk to school, study says

Bailey, walking school buses are a very effective way to promote walking to school. However, these programs have been implemented in very few Lawrence schools. The Safe Routes to School program is a comprehensive program that looks at a variety of approaches to enhancing students ability to, and interest in, walking and biking. Walking school buses may well be an approach some schools would seek to implement as part of this program.

The value of a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is that there are substantial grant funds available to schools that have SRTS plans. Partners including the school district, health department, City of Lawrence, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization are working together to help develop both school and community-wide SRTS plans. These plans will be used to seek further resources to support education, encouragement and enforcement activities (probably including walking school buses for some schools) as well as enhanced sidewalks, trails, crosswalks, etc.

January 13, 2015 at 9:44 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local agencies want to make it easier for kids to walk or bike to school

While there is lots of room for improvement, there are encouraging efforts underway to make Lawrence more walkable and bike friendly. The goal of the current SRTS initiative is to complete plans at both school and community level. With a plan in place, the city will be well-positioned to apply for grant funding to improve our physical “infrastructure” to make it easier and safe to walk and bike to school, and also to provide encouragement and education to encourage safe behavior for everyone out on the road.

I encourage anyone interested in this issue to attend one of the SRTS sessions on September 29 and 30, and to get involved with local groups working to make our community better for all users of our streets (pedestrians, cyclists, automobile drivers, and others). A few groups very active in this work are the LiveWell Lawrence Healthy Built Environment work group, the Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, and the Lawrence-Douglas County Bicycle Advisory Committee.

September 22, 2014 at 1:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City seeking grant money to build new hike and bike trail through downtown, East Lawrence

It is important to know that the grant for which the city is applying is a "Transportation Alternatives" grant. These grants are awarded through the state Department of Transportation to promote forms of transportation other than automobiles. This proposed trail is one part of an ever-growing system of trails, "complete streets" and other infrastructure designed to make walking or biking a true alternative to the personal automobile.

For the first time since the advent of the car, per capita automobile mileage among U.S. citizens is declining. Young people, in particular, are driving less and using public transportation or "active transportation" like walking and cycling to get to work, school, shopping, cultural and historical amenities and other priority destinations. Lawrence is wise to compete for these grant dollars (which are available to any town in Kansas through the competitive grant process) to help build a more walkable community.

February 3, 2014 at 2:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Healthy options

Since the beginning of the year Johnson County Parks and Recreation has been collaborating with their local health department to offer healthier options in concession stands in their fieldhouses and other venues. Providing healthier choices appears to have proven popular with patrons, so much so that Parks and Recreation will be expanding the program next year. I commend Lawrence Parks and Recreation for pursuing ways to make healthy choices available to children and their families who want to live healthy, active lives!

A link to one of many stories on the Johnson County effort can be found at:

October 8, 2013 at 12:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Parks and Recreation plans healthier foods at city-owned concession stands

I appreciate Parks and Recreation's leadership in working to provide healthier options. I don't believe this is an effort to take away choice, but rather will enhance choices that are available. I imagine some "unhealthy" food items will, indeed, continue to sell well. However, there is emerging evidence suggesting that the demand for healthier options is increasing. Just look at sales of sugar-sweetened beverages; nationally sales of these products have been flat for some time, while there is a growing market for bottled water, flavored waters, etc. I believe those using our Parks and Recreation facilities will appreciate these efforts to make healthy options available. I also predict that incorporating nutritional standards into concessions and vending at these facilities will prove to be a sound financial decision, as well as one that helps promote a healthier community.

September 16, 2013 at 5:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local leaders unveil community health plan

To me the plan is like a picture of the Grand Canyon. It's a nice picture but doesn't really tell the whole story. What is most important is how we work together to make Douglas County a healthier place. We believe the plan is a good "roadmap" moving forward.

April 25, 2013 at 9:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Local leaders unveil community health plan

Thanks for your input. We are reviewing the clarity of the outcome measures with a goal of publishing a revised version of the plan in May.

April 25, 2013 at 9:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )