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Sixth Street traffic light project proposed in budget


A small portion of Sixth Street may become less of a stop-and-go proposition for motorists, if commissioners approve City Manager David Corliss' recommended capital improvement budget. The capital improvement budget is kind of like the city's version of a Christmas list. The city provides residents all sorts of little gifts throughout the year - a patched pothole here, a new sidewalk there - but the really big toys have to be put on a list. The CIP generally is that list. For 2009, the cool gadget that may get city residents excited is a traffic light synchronization project. Corliss' recommended CIP budget has $250,875 in it for a project to run fiber optic cable along Sixth Street between Massachusetts and Iowa streets. The state already has agreed to provide $250,000 in funding. The project would allow all the traffic lights on the stretch of road to be linked together and synchronized using a computer, said Chuck Soules, the city's director of public works. Soules has been championing the project for years as the best way to get traffic moving on Sixth Street. "We can't really add any capacity to Sixth Street unless we build it out to six lanes, and I don't think we want to do that in Lawrence," Soules said. The basic concept behind the project is that if Sixth Street motorists get the green light at an intersection, they should stand a good chance of getting the green light at the next one as well. Plus, city traffic engineers would have the ability to remotely change traffic signal timing for special events or when accidents affect traffic flow. But here's one key point to remember about the project: Getting an item on a Christmas list and getting it under your tree aren't one and the same. The traffic light project [also was in Corliss' recommended 2008 budget.][1] But then tight financial times hit home, and lumps of coal became a more common gift at City Hall. [1]: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/jul...


Ragingbear 9 years, 8 months ago

Lynn, the interesting thing about hybrids is that for the most part, the engine turns off when not in use. Therefore, the only time one would idle at a light is if the power cells were low. The interesting thing is that they are actually MORE efficient in city driving vs. Highways. However, as most people still have gas powered vehicles, they are wasting massive amounts of gasoline just idling at certain locations. I would challenge alot of people to get a stop watch, and every time they stop anywhere to idle, whether it be a light, parking lot, stopping to talk to a friend, etc. They will see how many hours they burn in just a week.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 8 months ago

Rush hour traffic simply cannot be controlled no matter what technology is thrown at it. Computers are good but cannot second guess what drivers will do next or how fast they will travel. This will probably work best under other than rush hour. Fewer cars on the road is the only answer to traffic congestion. That seems to be the goal to keep in mind.

Ragingbear 9 years, 8 months ago

Merill, as a driver myself, I can vouch for the value of a project like this. Too bad it's like 30 years too late. So many lights (Particularly at the 6th and New Hamphire/Vermont area) are horribly out of sync. While this will not solve the traffic problem, if it is implemented properly, you will notice a significant improvement in traffic flow. Think about it, no more idiots stopping on the railroad tracks because two lights out of sync are only 200 yards apart. Some cities have an optimum cruise speed setup going. What that means is that if you get stuck at a red light, when it turns green, if you go at the suggested speed constantly, you will catch every single green light along that road. According to people I have talked to, they noticed a massive decrease in needless traffic congestion.However, you don't need fiber optic cables and such unless is rather silly. We are not a big enough city to warrant such. Simply time, and sync the lights. It would take a calculator, and a set of synchronized watches, perhaps a few people in vehicles driving back and forth, as well as some basic math skills. I would say 10k would allow us to take care of the vital roads in town (6th, Kasold, Wakarusa,23rd/Clinton Parkway,etc.).

Ragingbear 9 years, 8 months ago

It's the stop and go driving that kills mileage. Unless your in a hybrid.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 9 years, 8 months ago

The amount of gas wasted sitting at traffic lights is enormous. Anything that can be done to keep traffic moving is a good idea . Thank you, Lynn

gccs14r 9 years, 8 months ago

There aren't any lights around here that stay red long enough to stress out anyone. Kellogg and Rock in Wichita back in the 80s took so long to cycle that the City should have provided meal service. That was a bad light. Every time the City has messed with the lights at 6th and VT/MA, they've made things worse and had to put them back. They don't get any better than they are right now, and they're not bad right now. Take the $250k and use it for the bus service and have the State use its $250k to fix something else.

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