Final configuration of Old West Lawrence traffic-calming project to be installed soon
photo by: City of Lawrence
A much debated traffic control effort in Old West Lawrence continues, with the third and final configuration of the pilot program set to be installed soon.
The revised configuration of traffic calming devices results in fewer turn restrictions and adds other new features, such as planters that take up a portion of the driving lane. The new configuration will be installed next week, weather permitting, according to an announcement in the city’s newsletter. The third configuration is based on the recommended plan from the members of the Old West Lawrence Traffic Safety Team, according to the project website.
“City staff has worked with residents of the Old West Lawrence neighborhood to address traffic concerns while considering neighborhood preferences for traffic calming treatments,” an announcement states.
The OWL Neighborhood Association applied to be part of the Neighborhood Traffic Management Pilot Program last year, and the first configuration of temporary traffic diverters were installed in November. The diverters, which prohibit motorists from making certain turns or entering streets at certain intersections, were meant to reduce cut-through traffic and were met with mixed reactions from residents, with some expressing frustration at having to take longer routes to and from their homes. The city subsequently proposed the second configuration, which was based on traffic data and responses from residents. That configuration was installed in March.
The third configuration replaces traffic barriers with traffic circles, adds more speed bumps, adds traffic signs with radar, and half-lane planters. Specifically, traffic barriers were removed and replaced with small traffic-calming circles at four intersections: Seventh and Missouri; Eighth and Arkansas; Eighth and Illinois; and Eight and Indiana. Four speed bumps or cushions were maintained and six were added: one on Arkansas Street, one on Main Street, one on Mississippi Street and three on Indiana Street. Two traffic signs with radar were added to Maine Street and six half-lane planters were added. A map with all the changes is available on the project website, lawrenceks.org/mso/safer-speeds/.
With the third configuration, the Traffic Safety Team is interested in collecting traffic volume data on Michigan Street, Maine Street and Mississippi Street, which were the streets most affected by the second configuration, according to the announcement. The third configuration will remain in place until November, when it will be removed for the winter. The city will issue a survey to residents in the middle of the installation to evaluate their response to the new design.
The project team anticipates presenting the traffic data, survey responses, and a recommendation regarding whether there should be a permanent traffic-calming configuration to the Multi-Modal Transportation Commission on Dec. 5. The transportation commission will then decide if it wants to proceed with a recommendation to the Lawrence City Commission, which makes the ultimate decision regarding the installation of any permanent changes.