Archive for Tuesday, March 26, 2013

U.S. 24-40 intersection talks continue to heat up

March 26, 2013

Everyone who spoke at Monday’s Tonganoxie City Council meeting agreed about one thing regarding improvements to U.S. Highway 24-40 on the east side of town: a traffic signal is needed.

But as discussions about future improvements pushed on for a fourth meeting — this time before an overflow crowd in council chambers — coming to a consensus about where to install the signal could not be made after nearly 2 1/2 hours of discussion.

Roughly 75 people attended Monday’s meeting, most of whom were interested in the U.S. 24-40 debate. Capacity is 65 people, so some stood outside and eventually were able to listen to the discussion with the door to the chambers left open.

The city is weighing its options of how to handle traffic issues at Laming Road at U.S. 24-40 and Stone Creek Drive/South Park at U.S. 24-40.

Council members Jim Truesdell and Kara Reed said they favored accepting all proposed Kansas Department of Transportation improvements, which consist of a signalized intersection at Laming Road and frontage road on the south side of U.S. 24-40 from Laming Road to South Park Drive. There also would be no-left-turn-out at South Creek/South Park, but movement the other three directions. KDOT would fully fund construction of the option and likely start work later this year if the council approved the proposal. Cost of the project is estimated at $1.65 million, with KDOT paying for all construction costs and 90 percent of design costs.

“I don’t want to wait two to three years to do something to this intersection,” Reed said.

The city could apply for funding for improvements at U.S. 24-40 and Stone Creek/South Park, but it would be a competitive application process, so it’s uncertain whether the city would receive any funding for that project. If that were successful, construction is expected to be completed in 2015 or 2016.

The inability of drivers to turn left does not sit well with council member Bill Peak, who prefers acceleration and de-acceleration lanes at Stone Creek/South Park.

“It puts the city in a bad position,” Peak said. “You’re trying to retrofit something.”

Peak said he didn’t have a preference whether the traffic light were installed at Laming Road or South Park/Stone Creek, but he continued to voice concern about how restrictions of a three-quarter turn at Stone Creek/South Park would affect businesses.

Steve Kelly, who owns the retail center, and Mary Krouse, owner of Mary’s Retail Liquor, say the traffic light should be installed at Stone Creek/South Park and any plans to prohibit left turns would be detrimental to business.

Several residents who attended Monday’s meeting — many of whom live in the Stone Creek and South Park subdivisions — said Stone Creek/South Park was the intersection that needed a traffic light, saying it was the more dangerous intersection.

“I don’t know whether we’re waiting for body bags or what,” one resident said.

Other residents said a sound barrier was needed between residences south of U.S. 24-40 and a frontage road if the road were to be built.

As for the Laming Road intersection, another resident suggested a roundabout be placed at Woodfield and Laming Road if a light were to be installed at Laming Road and U.S. 24-40 to help with traffic flow.

Council member Chris Donnelly said he would abstain from voting because of a conflict of interest — he owns about 60 acres of undeveloped land just east of Kelly’s retail center — but he said he preferred improvements to the Stone Creek/South Park intersection.

Council members said they wanted to work with KDOT to see whether proposals for a light at Laming Road and improvements to Stone Creek/South Park can be tweaked.

The next council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, April 8, in council chambers.

Comments

Paula Crook 1 year, 9 months ago

This is a NO Brain-er!! The city needs to go with KDOT proposal. KDOT will pay all cost but 10% of design cost. The changes will not be detrimental to the business. What will be detrimental will be that the city will screw around and lose the funding from KDOT.

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LoneRanger 1 year, 8 months ago

I concur with the comment - NO Brainer!!! Don't let the tail wag the dog!!! If the city decides to take other option(s) and disregard funding opportunity for KDOT funds, perhaps a special assessment district should be formed to cover the city's costs for the selected option(s). This would greatly reduce the taxation burden of the majority of city taxpayers.

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Newby 1 year, 8 months ago

Has the commission considered lowering the speed limit as the entrances to those subdivisions are within the city limits. A signaled intersection is the best idea. However, lowering the speed limit is a couple thousand dollar fix and will decrease the stopping distances which will increase reaction times and hopefully lower crashes.

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12345 1 year, 8 months ago

Those of you arguing against the south park/stone creek intersection must not live there. Not sure about Paula though.

The interection at stone creek and south park is very heavy at rush hour and visibility to the east in the morning is very poor. Laming road is much more steady throughout the day so the traffic numbers don't represent the real problem. I also think that a stop light at Stone creek will help the laming road intersection significantly but that a laming road stop light won't do as much for the stone creek intersection.

Some of you should try driving a vehicle with a trailer or large truck across the intersection. The lack of visibility to the east makes a condition where you physically cannot get across the intersection fast enough to get across before traffic gets there that you couldn't see when leaving.

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Bumpkin 1 year, 8 months ago

Can't wait until we can have a traffic light at every intersection and roundabouts everywhere. We can be just like the big city and get us a Wal-Mart and everything. Fast food Avenue and strip malls. Woo-hooo. Big time, here we come. Of course, if that's what I wanted, I could have stayed in the big city. I really hope we don't kill our small town.

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paydirt 1 year, 8 months ago

I get it. Let's sacrifice safety and lives for what you want. The region is growing, therefore, traffic is more plentiful. In turn, it is our responsibility to adjust accordingly for the safety of our kids, not gripe. As much as we'd all like to go back to 1985, we can't. Who said anything about a WalMart or fast food? By the way, when you live 15 miles from the city, eventuallly, your town is going to grow. Want a true small town? I'd suggest moving a little further to the west.

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I_Like_Tongie 1 year, 8 months ago

It's way past time to make changes to the entrances to South Park and Stone Creek. The only way that intersection ever becomes safe, is by making it right-in-right-out only. Let's hope City Council accepts KDOT's recommendations, and puts a light at Laming, with access roads leading back to the subdivision entrances. It's the safest option and also happens to be the least expensive for the citizens of Tonganoxie.

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