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Pair of traffic calming projects — including a blue light at traffic signals — set for city


We’ll see if talk of traffic calming produces a calming feeling for you on a Monday. I’ve got word of two projects in the works at Lawrence City Hall.

• If you drive in the area behind the new Dillons store at 17th and Massachusetts streets, you may want to get a new set of shocks. Seven speed humps are coming to the neighborhood behind the store.

As part of the store’s City Hall approval last year, Dillons officials agreed to provide $40,000 for traffic calming devices in the neighborhood just east of the store. City officials are now set to begin that project.

Plans call for two speed humps on 17th Terrace between Barker and New Hampshire, and two more on 18th Street between Barker and New Hampshire. In addition, three speed humps are planned for New Hampshire Street, with all planned for the general area near 17th Terrace and 18th Street. Click here to see a map.

The city will accept bids for the project on July 16. Work is expected to begin in late July. Project is expected to be completed by the end of August.

• Red light, green light, yellow light. Blue light? I’m hearing talk around City Hall that Lawrence motorists may start seeing some blue lights at a couple of intersections in Lawrence.

No, I don’t think this is a sign that Kmart is now sponsoring traffic control in the city. (Remember the Blue Light specials in the old Kmarts?) Instead, my understanding is that this is part of a pilot project that involves KU’s engineering school.

I’m still waiting to get official details, but here’s what I’ve heard thus far: Crews, perhaps beginning today, will be installing a blue light on the top of traffic signal poles at 23rd and Iowa and 23rd and Louisiana. The blue light is meant to provide police officers another way to monitor whether motorists are a running a red light.

The idea is that the blue light will be able to be seen from a 360 degree radius. Currently, the best way for a police officer to know whether a motorist has run a red light is to be behind the motorist, where the officer can see both the light and the vehicle. The blue light will come on the moment the traffic signal turns red. Since the blue light can be seen from almost anywhere, an officer can be anywhere near an intersection and monitor it for red light runners.

I’m still a little short on details on the project, but when I hear more, I’ll let you know.

UPDATE: My colleague Ian Cummings is now looking into this story for us. He is reporting that the installation of the lights indeed was scheduled for today, but some technical difficulties have postponed it. No word yet on when the installation may occur, but it might be a few days now.


oletimer 9 months, 2 weeks ago

how the h*ll is a speed hump a traffic calming device?


LJ Whirled 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems that there still are a vast number of drivers who have no idea what the flashing left turn signals mean ... they just freeze and sit there trying to decide if they are supposed to stop or go.

Don't make the mistake of assuming, just because you now understand what the flashing turn lights mean, that the matron in the silver Buick isn't going to stop, or go, or turn, unexpectedly.


bliddel 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The whole concept of traffic calming is hopelessly flawed. It's basis is the assumption that drivers are enraged because their governments are not tyrannical enough, and only ever-increasing governmental control will calm the enraged motorists. This absurdity is an outgrowth of the 70+ year-old mantra of "speed kills", even though that notion is also patently false. Traffic calming increases road rage, decreases respect for absurd governmental controls, and increases the costs of road and vehicle maintenance.

A comprehensive study commissioned by the ITE and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on traffic calming projects in the United States concludes:

"Traffic calming in the U.S. is largely restricted to low volume residential streets. Collisions occur infrequently on such streets to begin with, and any systematic change in collision rates tends to get lost in the random variation from year to year. This limits our confidence in drawing inferences about safety impacts of traffic calming."

For more information:


jafs 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't really see why we need all of these alternative traffic signals, with flashing yellow and red lights, that many people don't know how to use - not entirely their fault, since the city doesn't provide directions.

Plain old vanilla stop signs and regular light signals should work fine, and most drivers should know what the correct procedure is (even if they don't follow it).


Currahee 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Why not just have traffic cams to take photos of the plates of those who run red lights? Last night on 6th I saw a crazy idiot run a red...


trailertrash 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If the officer is not in the lane from which he can see the light turn from yellow to red, then is he in the crossing lane where the light turns green when the other turns red? Does the blue light come on at the same time both of these events take place. Do the officers not understand this? As just a driver with no formal training of the law, even I understand this.


Curtis Lange 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I've been to other cities where this blue light is used. Simple, effective and unobtrusive...other than the occasional passenger asking, "Wonder what that blue light is for?" Like others have said, this means absolutely NOTHING for drivers. It is only to help benefit police to catch red light runners...which I am 100% for.


bearded_gnome 9 months, 3 weeks ago

... and Frank Zappa was a prophet.


toe 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Why such high traffic locations for an experiment that risks lives if misunderstood by a driver. Why not use at 14th and Tennessee or Kentucky? Oh, the police are never there to ticket anyone except those under 21..


Richard Payton 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Your probably from Lawrence if you remember Kmart's blue light specials.


Steven Gaudreau 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If spotting a person running a red light is to difficult for the LPD, why not have the lights take a pic of the cars tag running the light and mail the tickets eliminating this difficult task? Can we get pink lights for jaywalkers and maybe purple for cyclists not coming to a complete stop at stop signs as well? Brown lights for pet owners not scooping would be nice as well.


ontheright 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Someone is just sitting around trying to dig up dumb ways to spend tax payers money!


akt2 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't think it will make much difference. Even more so since it's malfunctioning before it is even installed. It's just an experiment. The vantage points aren't that great for 23rd and Iowa either.


ksjayhawk74 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Not too long ago, stopped at a stop light, the driver in front of me started inching forward in anticipation of the light changing to green. Except, he was actually pulling into the middle of the intersection while the light was red. By the time the light actually turned to green, his truck was almost underneath the traffic light, having traveled almost completely across the intersection and he was staring straight up at the light, waiting for it to change.


Leslie Swearingen 9 months, 3 weeks ago

What will this mean to people who are colorblind? Personally I think the money that will be spent on the traffic calming devices and the blue lights could be better spent elsewhere. I would like to see a place on here where people can list things that they would like to see the city spend their money on and then have the city commissioners go by that.


Ron Holzwarth 9 months, 3 weeks ago

"Crews,,, will be installing a blue light on the top of traffic signal poles at 23rd and Iowa and 23rd and Louisiana."

Apparently we have some commenters who are not close readers. The blue lights will be mounted on top of the signal poles, not on top of the traffic signals. At those two intersections, the poles and the lights are quite some distance apart.


bearded_gnome 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Blue Light= "I am the Central Scrutinizer!"


Phoghorn 9 months, 3 weeks ago



Rae Hudspeth 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I think you mean "nowhere else out in the country".


CriticalThought 9 months, 3 weeks ago

PLEASE, CITY OF LAWRENCE, DO NOT DO THIS!! Every year we have new people coming to town for the VERY FIRST TIME. Students, their families, new hires... Please do not throw lights at them that are nowhere else in the country AND NOT LISTED IN THE RULES OF THE ROAD!!

Why does the city insist on torturing/monitoring even more carefully every driver?

Please – keep things simple and "normal". Invest the $$ in repairing potholes and screwed up sidewalks –- NOT in more "monitoring"!!! you want ppl to want to live here or not???


Liberty275 9 months, 3 weeks ago

So if the blue light is not on, does that mean we can go through the intersection?


Karl_Hungus 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Law-rence, you don't have to put on the blue light. Those days are over, just let the car run de traffic light. Law-rence, you don't have to spend our tax dollars this way. we are running out of de-money and it be you one the ones to blame

Law-rence, pull your head out of your roun-de-bout Law-rence, Law-rence...


msezdsit 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This is a waste of money. All the cops have to do is say you ran a red light whether you did or not. The deck is stacked from that point on. They got the guns and the court and the judge, why do they need a blue light. I can see it now.

Officer. I pulled you over because you ran a red light. Innocent driver, " no officer the light wasn't blue." Here is your ticket and your court date and your fine is 220 dollars. case closed


gccs14r 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Won't matter if the blue light is visible or not. LPD still won't pull anyone over for anything other than speeding, and only the traffic cops do even that.


cheeseburger 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm all for traffic enforcement, but I think the blue light thing is going a bit far.

And I hope all that traffic calming BS finally satisfies the east Lawrence whiners. Tired of hearing them cry about the Dillon's store and all that 'horrendous' traffic behind it.


Steve Jacob 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It's hard enough to get through New Hampshire behind Dillions when the farmers market is going being Cotton's.


Lynn731 9 months, 3 weeks ago

How special. Already we have yellow turn signals that flash, and now blue lights. Shopping in Lawrence is such a treat.


consumer1 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I am sure there will be those who freeze, when they see something they don't understand. I still see people once a week sitting at round a bouts waiting for the light to change. "that's right, there is no light at round a bouts.


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