Archive for Thursday, March 13, 2003

Road conditions occupy Eudora Council runners

March 13, 2003

Editor's note: Leading up to the April 1 election, each week The Eudora News is asking Eudora City Council candidates their opinions on city issues. This week the candidates speak out on needed road improvements.

Anyone who routinely drives through Eudora probably has a mental list of desired road improvements. Eudora's four City Council candidates are no different. Douglas County 1061 made each candidate's list, but newcomer Scott Hopson was more concerned with the stretch of the county road that is Main Street in Eudora. Incumbent Tom Pyle said the road, which as Church Street serves as a north-south route through Eudora and a means of entering and exiting Kansas Highway 10, needed to be widened and have better surfacing.

Fellow incumbent Willene Blackburn echoed those sentiments and added that intersection improvements should be included.

The race's other incumbent, Dan Gregg, said he thought the city was moving in the right direction on 1061 with plans its engineers were drawing up as well as traffic hoses that are placed on the road currently.

Hopson also included streets in the Winchester subdivision, which he said had large cracks running across their surface.

"The longer you wait the harder they're going to be to fix," he said.

Looking ahead

Blackburn, Gregg and Hopson mentioned the expansion of 14th Street as a way Eudora could build the infrastructure necessary to accommodate Eudora's growth. It would provide another main east-west route, lightening the traffic load on 12th Street, Blackburn said. Allowing 14th Street to continue east across the now-rejuvenated Whispering Meadows project would ease traffic in that section of town, Gregg said.

Hopson agreed with connecting the road through Whispering Meadows and into Prairie Estates but said he was also concerned with the condition of 14th Street as it currently exists from Church Street to Tallgrass. A stoplight could be needed in that stretch, he said.

"I'm just afraid with that high volume of traffic and school children one of these days we're going to have a really bad accident," he said.

Like Blackburn, Hopson said he'd also like to see 14th extend to the west and connect to the Winchester subdivision.

Pyle said he'd like to see the city look at widening 10th Street, which could lead to its rezoning for commercial use.

"I think there's businesses that want to come in and want to have somewhere to go," he said.

Group effort

Because Church and Main streets and 10th Street are also county roads 1061 and 442, respectively, their improvement requires special cooperation between the city and the county. The city had to do what was necessary to ensure the county's cooperation for needed improvements, Hopson said.

Blackburn said past joint meetings with county officials have taught her Eudora representatives need to decide what they want before asking the county to resolve logistic and monetary issues.

"They have said they don't want to try to design our city," she said.

Pyle said it would be important to to remind the county to concentrate improvements and expenses on roads in the east side of the county rather than those out west that lead people -- and their money -- to Shawnee County.

Eudora and Douglas County have cooperated well in the past, Gregg said, and county officials recognized the amount of growth Eudora was experiencing. However, concentrating on sorting out financing would have to be the priority.

"Their budget is pretty tight, but they've been willing to discuss," he said. "We can't go any further until we have numbers and start finding room in the budget and they find it in theirs."

Next week: See what the candidates have to say about the city's park space.

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