Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2001

Traffic study shows Eudora’s streets are roads well-traveled

August 30, 2001

Pop quiz: Which roadway has the most people passing through it? Fourteenth and Church streets? Guess again.

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, Church Street just south of the K-10 interchange had approximately 6,755 cars travel across its counter hose May 2.

KDOT conducted the counts on county roads running through Eudora. Church Street is County Road 1061 and 10th Street is County Road 442.

The number is what's called a raw count, said traffic count coordinator Terry Barnes. In other words, the hose records the number of times it's been driven over and divides by two, considering all automobiles have at least two sets of tires. So trucks with five axles can throw that count off slightly. Barnes said that because those types of vehicles aren't as common in town as they are on a highway, counts inside a city are usually pretty accurate.

Tenth Street between Main and Elm came in second with about 5,265 vehicles, and Main Street just north of 10th Street came in third with 4,445 vehicles. Aside from the Church Street and K-10 number, all other figures are from May 1.

"These numbers that are in the city, we don't put on a map," Barnes said. "These type of counts out in the (unincorporated areas of the) county we make a map of and distribute to various organizations," he said.

Harried drivers may think an intersection deserves a stoplight, but that doesn't mean it warrants one.

Linda Voss, state traffic engineer with KDOT, said the department adopted a manual on uniform traffic control devices (MUTCD) used nationally.

"It's not something Kansas just decided to make up on its own," Voss said.

The MUTCD has 11 special considerations that determine whether a traffic signal is needed. For instance, Voss said one scenario warranting a traffic signal begins with a major street with one lane approaching another street with one lane. If the minor street has 150 cars approaching the intersection per hour in an eight hour day, and if the main street has 500 vehicles per hour in an eight hour day, that intersection might warrant a traffic light.

"These are just minor thresholds," Voss said. "Just because you meet a warrant doesn't mean you put in a signal. "We also have what we call peak hour turning counts."

If enough traffic passes through, but it's all on the minor street turning right, the intersection probably doesn't warrant a traffic signal, she said.

In addition to traffic counts, the department also looks at accident numbers and drivers' sight distance.

Mayor Ron Conner took a look at the counts Monday. He said the city would probably use them to facilitate discussion about road improvements and changes rather than act on anything immediately.

"Hopefully we'll get some input from KDOT if these numbers are heavy or light usage," Conner said. "Some of the numbers look pretty big. I'll get some input from the traffic side on the magnitude."

Because 10th and Church streets are county roads, the city must get approval from Douglas County to make upgrades.

"You've definitely got to get county approval, and then you have to find out how it's going to get paid for," he said. "Once you've reached a certain threshold, the county pays for it. Otherwise it's on the city budget."

The approved 2002 budget doesn't include major changes, like adding stoplights at certain intersections.

"That would be a big enough project you have to do it by a different method," Conner said. "You have to do some debt financing of some sort."

In other words, drastic changes are long-range plans. Conner said a personal goal of his was to widen Church Street to four lanes. He also said Main Street needed surface improvements.

The counts don't include numbers for traffic on 12th Street. Some Eudorans are concerned about the lack of sidewalks on the road students often use to walk to West Elementary School.

Conner said the city had no definite plans but had discussed the issue.

"I think the first thing is whether 12th Street is going to continue to be the main east-west route through town," he said. "If it ends up being somewhere else, then (sidewalks) end up being somewhere else."

He said the city hadn't heard complaints recently, but some Eudorans had brought up the issue before.

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