Archive for Wednesday, January 15, 2003

The lights are on at KDOT, but …

January 15, 2003

It was with unfettered joy that I soaked the words in from City Administrator Larry Paine Monday -- Baldwin will get a stop light at U.S. Highway 56 and Sixth Street at long last.

I was on another call when I jumped over to talk to Paine, so I wrapped it up quickly and said we'd give a call back for the details. I told Kristen Dymacek, our reporter, to give him a call and then I left for lunch feeling good that the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) had finally come to its senses.

It didn't last too long.

When I got back from lunch I asked Kristen what she'd found out. "Yes, we're getting a stop light ... but it won't be until late 2004."

You're kidding me, was my immediate response. It still is. We've had numerous traffic studies at the intersection over the years and KDOT has always said we don't need a light. We've all known better.

Now KDOT, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that we do, indeed, need a stop light. But, we don't need it for about two years.

Unbelievable.

I realize we now go on a "list" for a traffic light. I know government works slowly. I know we should feel lucky that we're finally going to get one.

For the life of me, though, I can't understand why it will take that long.

We've always said it will take someone getting killed at that intersection to get KDOT to put a light up. Unfortunately, that may still happen.

But, we've limped along for years with the present intersection situation. What's a few more years?

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  • As long as were talking about the wonderful wisdom of KDOT, let's don't forget about the U.S. Highway 59 debacle. The public comment period ends Jan. 24 on the department's latest choice of the "preferred route" 300 feet east of the present U.S. 59. That costs $11 million more and displaces many more homes and businesses than the former "preferred route" a mile east of the present highway.

I know, it makes perfect KDOT sense. I often think the lights are on at the agency, but no one is home.

With that in mind, I've decided we should all switch gears and publicly comment for all it's worth that we in fact back the 300-feet east route 100 percent. We're all for spending more money than we need to.

Surely then the switch will be made back to the mile east route. They certainly wouldn't want to make anyone happy. Well, it's worth a try.

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