Archive for Thursday, December 18, 2003

Church, 14th intersection vital

City engineers outline Church Street upgrades for Eudora, county leaders

December 18, 2003

Fixing traffic problems at 14th and Church streets is one step the city of Eudora can take as city, Douglas County and Kansas Department of Transportation officials hammered out a comprehensive plan up to upgrade Church Street, engineers said. During a meeting with city and county officials Monday night, city engineer Cecil Kingsley outlined several steps for initiating improvements to Church Street from 12th to 28th streets.
City and county leaders talked about how they might approach cooperating on a plan for improving Church Street, including both street upgrades and pedestrian/bike paths. In the meantime, Kingsley said:
¢ The city could take steps to improve traffic flow 14th and Church street with the road as it is.
¢ Traffic "calmers" like streetlights or "Welcome to Eudora" signage could be used near 28th Street to signal drivers they were entering an urban area and thus slow them down.
¢ Officials could look at the growth and development patterns of the whole Kansas Highway 10 corridor.
¢ Officials could aggressively pursue KDOT for improvements to the K-10 overpass.
¢ And the city could look at development fees, like excise taxes that assess new development by the square foot.
County administrator Craig Weinaug said it would be important for Eudora to come to the Douglas County Commission with a specific proposal, knowing that in the past the county's policy has been to pay what it would cost to upgrade roads to their original intent -- rural traffic. However, he said the county could be flexible.
Before that happened, Eudora City Administrator Mike Yanez said it would be important for the city and county's legislative bodies to agree to a master plan for Church Street.
Taking into account different variables like development and traffic counts, engineers' suggested Church Street improvements might include left urn lanes and traffic signals for intersections at 14th and 28th streets and at both K-10 ramp intersections.
Engineers also suggested widening lanes:
¢ To three lanes (including center shared left turn lane) from 12th Street to just north of the K-10 overpass.
¢ To four lanes just north of the K-10 overpass and to five lanes (center left turn lane) on the overpass.
¢ To four lanes south of the K-10 overpass with left turn lanes at Meadowlark and the middle and high schools.
Changes to the lane structure, coupled with deteriorating abutments, necessitated changes to the overpass, Kingsley said. Although having the existing overpass with changes made to the rest of Church Street would create a bottleneck at K-10, Kingsley said it would be better than the alternative -- having a revamped overpass with the bottlenecks on the rest of Church Street.
A cooperative effort should give the project more leverage with KDOT, Kingsley said.
Given the existing circumstances, Kingsley said it would make more sense to focus effort on improvements north of K-10, where many homes and businesses already exist. Moreover, the city still had the opportunity not to exacerbate the problem south of K-10, where development isn't yet complete. That could mean limiting traffic to arterial and collector streets as well as assessing new development, Kingsley said. Yanez said he anticipated proposing an excise tax to the Eudora City Council next month.

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