Archive for Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tonganoxie City Council hears U.S. 24-40 traffic concerns

January 29, 2013

Traffic improvements are needed along U.S. Highway 24-40 on the east side of Tonganoxie, according to those attending Monday’s City Council meeting.

How exactly to implement those improvements, however, took on a lengthy debate.

About 15 people attended the meeting, with discussion about U.S. Highway 24-40 at Stone Creek Drive/South Park Drive, as well as Laming Road, going back and forth for roughly an hour.

Jim Pickett, metro engineer with the Kansas Department of Transportation, told the council that the Kansas Department of Transportation was looking at installing a traffic signal at Laming Road, building a frontage road to the south of U.S. 24-40 that would connect Laming Road to the next intersection to the east, South Park Drive. The configuration also could include a median on U.S. 24-40 that would prohibit left turns from South Park and Stone Creek drives.

Cost estimates for construction and engineering for the project were about $1.65 million, with KDOT funding all construction and 90 percent of engineering if the city were to pursue the project, Pickett said.

But Steve Kelly, who owns the retail center just north of the highway on Stone Creek Drive, had his concerns about safety and business at the center, which includes Dominos Pizza, Fastrax convenience store and Mary’s Liquor Store.

“Laming is a fine place to have it,” Kelly said. “It’s not bad to have two of them there. I know KDOT’s job is to get traffic through a city, but you also need to be considerate of the business, which keeps your city going. And the safety of citizens.”

Dorothy Rose lives just southwest of U.S. 24-40 and Laming Road. She said the light is most needed at that intersection and that it was “almost impossible” for her to make a left turn onto U.S. 24-40.

“We’re not interested in putting anyone out of business and I’m not sure whether the grass strip is necessary,” Rose said about a possible median.

Asked about installing traffic signals at both intersections, Pickett said KDOT generally preferred spacing out traffic signals in mile intervals.

Residents then inquired about the recent traffic signal at 158th Street and U.S. 24-40 in Basehor, which is close to a light at 155th Street and U.S. 24-40.

Pickett said the light at 158th Street was installed after the already established light at 155th Street. The newest light also was installed after another fatality at the intersection, which claimed the life of a Tonganoxie woman last year.

The council will continue discussion of traffic improvements at its Feb. 11 meeting.

Water, sewer rates to increase

Water and sewer rates in Tonganoxie will be increasing next month by about 3 percent.

The City Council voted, 4-0, to increase rates, which will go into effect in February.

For monthly water usage up to 1,000 gallons, the rate is $7.60, an increase from $7.39. Each increment of 1,000 gallons above that rate will be $4.64, up from $4.50

The rate also will apply to people living outside the city limits who are connected to the city water mains. They also will pay an additional $5 or 25 percent, whichever is greater, for a meter reading fee outside city limits. That’s a jump from the previous $1 charge.

For sewer fees, the new rate for usage up to 1,000 gallons is $12.76, an increase from $12.39; each additional 1,000 gallons will carry a $3.73 charge, up from $3.62.

City Administrator Nathan McCommon said wholesale water rate increases triggered the increase request.

Street repair concerns

Bill Spain, who lives on East Seventh Street, spoke during open agenda about repairs on his street. Spain said the last improvements to his street came in 1984.

Mayor Jason Ward told Spain that the street is on the city’s latest priority list and city staff would be taking a closer look at problems with the street.

Gun purchase agreement approved

The council approved, 4-0, the purchase of eight handguns for $7,695 and an advance-purchase program for all full-time officers wishing to participate. Officers can purchase the guns, with 24 payments being deducted from their paychecks to cover each gun’s cost. If an officer were to leave the department before the gun is paid off, the balance would be taken out of the officer’s final paycheck. Officers must pay sales tax, though one of the guns will belong to the department and will be tax-exempt.

Council discusses fate of houses on city property

The city will tear down one house and give prospective buyers a month to salvage another.

The city owns land on the southeast and southwest corners of Third and Main streets and had advertised the houses for sale with the caveat that they pay for moving costs.

With no interest in the white house on the southeast corner, which is south of Tonganoxie Water Park, the council agreed to have the house torn down. City crews will demolish the house for an estimated $5,000.

McCommon said a potential buyer of the gray house on the southwest corner backed out last week.

Councilmember Bill Peak suggested that the city expand advertising of the house in the Lawrence Journal-World in hopes of reaching a larger audience.

The city will continue to advertise the home for sale in the next month. If no buyers come forward before the Feb. 25 meeting, the city will look to tear down the house.

Signage for police department discussed

Peak said the police department needed better signage to direct people who were unaware that the department no longer was at the northeast corner of Fourth and Delaware.

The department moved across the street to the west last year, but there still was signage on the former station and minimal signage at the new location.

McCommon said signage on the former station, which is vacant, came down last week. McCommon will look into signage for the new station.

In other business, the council:

• Approved, 4-0, minutes of the Jan. 14 regular meeting.

• Approved, 4-0, pay ordinance A-1699.

• Approved, 4-0, payment of $11,176.52 to Kansas Board of Public Utilities for monthly water purchases, $41,069.30 to First State Bank and Trust for ball field payment and $5,500 to Huber and Associates for annual software licensing for Enterpol database for the police department. The Tonganoxie Recreation Commission reimburses the city for the ball field payments, which occur twice per year.

• Approved, 4-0, funding for the third and final phase of street signs, making all signs compliant with state requirements. The council approved the low bid of $14,967.05 from National Sign Co. USA Traffic Signs ($27,288.95) and Traffic Sign Store ($24,580) also bid on the project. City staff will install the signs.


oletimer1955 5 years, 3 months ago

I hate to break anyone's bubble, but traffic lights will not help anything. How many times do you read about folks running lights? Until you get drivers to slow down, respect others, and pay attention to their surroundings, nothing helps. As for the light at 158th. Not needed. brownback just sucking up. Quit protecting people from themselves. Make them step up and do the right thing.


12345 5 years, 3 months ago

Not so sure I agree with you there oldtimer. This intersection is bad because it's difficult to see east in the morning and it's hard to tell which lane another driver is in when pulling out. There's two lanes each way and a turn lane to watch out for!

I know the morning in the south park subdivision is terrible. Everyone is taking their kids to school and turning left, and you can't hardly see right because the sun is in your eyes. What's worse is that the highway is so wide that people can come up on you too fast. I don't know how many times I've pulled out with a trailer or large truck and am not through the intersection before someone has to slow down to avoid hitting me. They weren't there when I pulled out!!

I think that intersection is far more dangerous than the one at laming road. The city wants the light at Laming for the ambulance, but the ambulance can turn and go around the back behind the post office to make a left turn on the highway. It wouldn't add five seconds on to the trip. But someone is going to get killed at the south park/eagle valley subdivision if something isn't done. It's ten times worse than laming road.


getagrip 5 years, 3 months ago

I believe that both intersections are equally dangerous, but not sure that two lights are necessary. I feel that the speed limit on 24-40 through Tonganoxie needs to be slowed down considerably. For vehicles to be traveling 50 mph past B&J intersection is not necessary. There have been serious accidents there as well. I wonder what the outcome would be to slow down traffic at Conoco to 40 or 45 mph, keeping it that speed until Main Street, then dropping it down to 30 mph past the high school and through the South area of town. Its a miracle that someone using the crossing light at Sonic has been hit yet because of the prevailing speeds there. Just some additional thoughts.


paydirt 5 years, 3 months ago

Is this going to be yet another issue where we, as a city just sit by idely and are reactive instead of proactive? It's amazing that making our city safer comes with resistance. We can't just sit around and keep hoping the community doesn't grow and ignore that it has. There is quite a bit of traffic and it's simply not safe. Let's get it together and do the right thing for safety, not for our pockets.


12345 5 years, 3 months ago

I agree that all those intersections are equally dengerous but I think that putting the traffic interruption as far east as possible will offer breaks in traffic at the other intersections making all of them safer. Plus laming and the ridge intersections have better sight lines each way.

I'm not convinced that slower is better though. We want traffic through town to patronize local businesses.


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