Archive for Tuesday, October 18, 2011

City to campaign for lower speed limits on U.S. Highway 24-40 in east Tonganoxie

Although it didn't reject it outright, the Tonganoxie City Council indicated last week the city would pass on an opportunity to apply for a $2 million grant to place a signal at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Laming Road and make safety improvements at that intersection and those on the highway at Stone Creek and South Park drives.

Although it didn't reject it outright, the Tonganoxie City Council indicated last week the city would pass on an opportunity to apply for a $2 million grant to place a signal at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Laming Road and make safety improvements at that intersection and those on the highway at Stone Creek and South Park drives.

October 18, 2011

The Tonganoxie City Council agreed Monday to pass on a Kansas Department of Transportation grant to make safety improvements at two east side U.S. Highway 24-40 intersections.

Instead, the city will campaign KDOT to lower the speed limit from the current 65 mph on the highway in the eastern part of the city to 45 mph.

Last month, the Tonganoxie City Council was presented with the opportunity to apply for a KDOT corridor management grant that would provide up to $2 million to make improvements at the highway intersections of Laming Road and Stone Creek/South Park drives. The deadline for the grant application is Nov. 1.

The grant’s approval would have required the city pay for right of way acquisition, utility relocation and all engineering. City Administrator Mike Yanez said a quick preliminary estimate of those costs to the city was $285,000.

Dorothy Rose, who lives just south of the U.S. 24-40/Laming Road intersection, was the only resident speaking in favor of the proposed safety improvements, expressing doubt a reduced speed limit would make the two intersections safer.

Although they, too, agreed the intersections were dangerous, the plan was unpopular with businesses in the Stone Creek business park because it called for a grass median at Stone Creek/South Park drives. Those associated with the businesses in the business park said the plan would mean lost business from eastbound traffic unable to conveniently turn north, particularly during morning rush periods.

“Stone Creek is a dangerous intersection,” said Steve Kelly, the Overland Park man who developed the Stone Creek business park. “Something has to be done there. It makes more sense to put the traffic light at Stone Creek.

“I would like to get the rest of the area developed. This would kill us.”

Among those adding their opposition to the safety improvements as proposed because of the consequences to Stone Creek businesses were Mary Krause, owner of Mary’s Retail Liquor, and Pat Kelly, owner of Domino’s Pizza, and Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce Director Susan Freemyer. Krause and Kelly also called the intersection dangerous and supported the traffic light at Stone Creek. They also supported the speed limit reduction.

Council members, too, favored lowering the speed limit.

After prefacing his remarks with the memory of losing a daughter at a bad intersection, Councilman Dennis Bixby said the businesses put the faith in the city and its government when they located at Stone Creek. Should the city take action to harm them, it would raise taxes on homeowners and make it more difficult to recruit others to invest in the city, he said.

Bixby, too, said lowering the speed limit with more enforcement was the solution.

But it was noted the state, not the city, sets the speed limit on the highway. Assistant City Administrator Kathy Bard said KDOT rejected an annual city request to lower the speed limit on the stretch.

There are also complications with altering the proposed plan to put the traffic signal at Stone Creek/South Park drives. The U.S. 24-40 corridor plan, developed with local public participation, shows the signal at Laming Road, because Laming Road is now a collector street north of the highway and is to be extended south to Fourth Street, another future collector street.

KDOT would “push back” against any plan to place a traffic signal at Stone Creek contrary to the corridor plan, it was agreed. And any attempt to alter the plan would require approval of KDOT, the Leavenworth County Commission and Tonganoxie and Basehor city councils.

With no support for the grant application on the council, it was agreed to request KDOT lower the speed limit on the stretch. To add weight to the request, the city will seek support of that measure from Leavenworth County and the city’s state and federal legislative representatives.

Comments

Michael Vestal 2 years, 6 months ago

I believe this is a great idea with the Cities budget consrants they way they are today. I've always thought the speed should be 45 MPH as it is on the South side near Washington. I truly believe this WILL cut down accidents in the area with the lower speed also some regulat enforcement, (Not talking about a speed trap) Just enforcement with a sign warning folks that the speed limit will be vigorously enforced.

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getagrip 2 years, 6 months ago

I also hope the speed limit is lowered in front of the high school buildings. The crosswalk is very dangerous even with the flashing lights.

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h0218 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the speed limit should be reduced down to 45 right after 206th street, right as you are going up the hill entering Tongie. I live off of South Park Drive and there are many days that I fear having to cross this street with the speeds the way they are. It is not reduced to 55 until the intersection going west and going east the speed increases to 65. This is rediculous. It would be nice to have a stop light here, not at Laming. There is Woodfield Drive that you can take that will go to Laming. Why the extra expense of the proposed plan? Also it seems that the city is more concerned with the CR 1 project than helping to reduce traffic accidents. they would rather spend hundreds of thousands on a "possible" plan that "may" work rather than to fix a problem we most definitely have right now.

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12345 2 years, 5 months ago

Apparently the issue is emergency access to the highway with the stop light at laming and the county annex right on the corner.

I also live in south park and share the same concerns as you. I've seen too many close calls at that intersection. The stop light at laming, while not ideal, would be much better than what we have now.

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