Archive for Thursday, March 4, 2004

Information-driven

Kiosks, meetings inform Eudorans about K-10 study

March 4, 2004

Last year, an average of 8,600 vehicles entered or exited Eudora each day on the town's two Kansas Highway 10 interchanges. By 2030, that number could be expected to reach a average of 37,000.
Such stunning forecasts for Eudora and other communities along the K-10 corridor are spurning a cooperative study by the Kansas Department of Transportation and area agencies. Area and state officials met Feb. 27 in Eudora to discuss the future of K-10 and the study itself.
Part of that discussion was how to keep Eudorans and others with a vested interest in the highway informed. KDOT's public involvement liason, Maggie Thompson, said the department had an effort underway to place kiosks at strategic places in corridor communities. It was suggested to place them at the Eudora Public Library and at Eudora City Hall.
The department also has a public meeting planned for June and another in November. Thompson also offered to attend area city council and commission meetings to update communities on the progress.
"It's important to us to keep them informed about what's going on," Thompson said. "To make sure they're aware and they don't just catch it through advertisements."
More information can also be found on the Web at www.kdot.org/projects.
The first part of the study has involved meeting with corridor communities like Eudora to find out what they have planned for the corridor, such as Eudora's hoped-for Winchester Road interchange and how Church Street improvements and traffic will affect K-10.
"More interchanges affects the level of service, even with the same number of cars," said KDOT Director of Planning and Development Terry Heidner.
This year, study leaders are looking at lane-widening, interchanges and alternative transportation, such as transit lines and bicycle paths. Final review of the study and revisions are expected in 2005.
The study hopes to determine how and when to widen the highway, with eight lanes anticipated, although whether they would be to the inside or outside is yet to be determined.
"If you look at the last 20 years, you see traffic increasing more than it has on the Turnpike," said Jim Tobaban, bureau of transportation planning chief. "Four lanes just will not be enough to serve it in the future."
Expanding to the outside would be most costly and have the most impact on corridor communities, while interior expansion would be less expensive and less intrusive, said Joe Brand of HNTB engineers.
Current statistics generally show more accidents on K-10 in contrast to comparable highways. For Eudora, this is especially true in the segment near 2300 Road. However, engineers said in terms of "rural" four-lane highways, K-10 was unique in terms of the number of commuters using the roadway each day.
Those commuters could contribute to the study of a transit system. First the department will have to gather more information about who was driving K-10 and whether there was demand for a commuter system.
Pedestrian and bike trails have also been pondered, although some like Dean Palos, Johnson County interim planning director, suggested such trails should be thought of as recreation facilities rather than as a commuting option.
Although the study is expected to wrap up next year, there are currently no funds set aside to act on the study's recommendations.
"Money will drive what happens on this corridor," Heidner said. "We will probably lag development because of money."

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