Archive for Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ticket leads to petition drive for crosswalk light

Shai Jackson is going door-to-door in Baldwin City with a petition asking for support for a crossing light at the crosswalk at U.S. Highway 56 and Fourth Street. Jackson received a ticket at the crosswalk because she couldn't see a pedestrian waiting to cross the highway when she was blinded by the sun.

Shai Jackson is going door-to-door in Baldwin City with a petition asking for support for a crossing light at the crosswalk at U.S. Highway 56 and Fourth Street. Jackson received a ticket at the crosswalk because she couldn't see a pedestrian waiting to cross the highway when she was blinded by the sun.

September 24, 2013

A driving citation she received two months ago has Shai Jackson walking.

Jackson didn’t lose her driver’s license from the ticket, but it did provide her with the incentive to correct what she sees as a dangerous problem. This past weekend and again early this week, the 18-year-old carried a petition door-to-door in Baldwin City to build support for her solution to the danger.

Jackson was ticketed about 7:30 on a July morning for failure to yield to a pedestrian at the crosswalk on U.S. Highway 56 at Fourth Street.

“I was driving east and was blinded by the sun,” she said. “I couldn’t see the young woman standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street. If I had seen her, I would have stopped. If there was a hazard light visible, I surely would have stopped.”

She talked to her grandparents, Ray and Shirley Williams, and uncle, Scott Ikenberry, about the ticket and learned they all thought it was a dangerous pedestrian intersection. She decided a manual pedestrian stop light, like that on U.S. 56 at Eighth Street, is needed at the crosswalk, Jackson said.

“That crosswalk at Fourth Street is just two blocks south of the junior high school,” she said. “Students cross there early in the morning when they go to the school to eat breakfast when the sun is coming up. That crosswalk qualifies for a light. There should be one there.”

Jackson, who works part-time in the office of Lawrence attorney Kathy Perkins, said she decided to start a petition drive in support of the light after getting advice from her boss.

She’s collected nearly 50 signatures so far and plans to get 150 before asking the Baldwin City Council to support the crossing light at the location.

“When I speak to the city council, I want them to know it’s not just me standing up there, but 150 people are standing there with me in support of a light at that crosswalk,” Jackson said.

The response as she’s gone door-to-door has been encouraging, Jackson said.

“One elderly lady told me, ‘I’m really glad you’re doing this. Finally, someone is doing something to help the safety of this community and the children using that crosswalk.’”

Baldwin City Police Chief Greg Neis agreed a crossing light was needed at the crosswalk and said the city would like to see one there. But because the crosswalk is on U.S. 56, the Kansas Department of Transportation has the final authority of what kinds of traffic controls are placed on the street.

“The last time we asked, they didn’t show any interest in installing a light at the crosswalk,” he said.

Neis predicted Jackson would get the support of at least some city council members. But he said KDOT would probably remain reluctant to place a crossing light so close to the stop light at U.S. 56 and Eighth Street.

Jackson said she realized the decision would ultimately be KDOT’s. But she said the city council’s support and her petition were the first steps in approaching the agency for the change.

Jackson said she also will approach state Sen. Tom Holland and Rep. John Wilson about supporting the light,



Stacy Napier 6 years, 8 months ago

how do you get a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk if the pedestrian is on the sidewalk? Seems to me the Pedestrian is in the wrong if he stepped off the curb when she was close to driving by. and note to the author the title of the law is pedestrian IN the crosswalk not waiting at the crosswalk. Cops don't seem to know the law in this town.


Sec. 64. Pedestrians' Right-of-Way in Crosswalks; Control Signals.

(a) When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian entering or crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.

(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.


Bloggerboo 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree. That is a crappy ticket to get. A warning, I could see, but a ticket? Ridiculous. That impacts a persons insurance, I'm sure, and just because they didn't stop for a waiting pedestrian...when that isn't even what the law says. Of course, maybe there are two sides to this story that should be told or understood.


loosecaboose 6 years, 8 months ago

The one at eight and Ames (US 56) has not been working tor two months or more even though it has been turned in.


DrWho 6 years, 8 months ago

I discussed with the Kansas Dept of Transportation the 8th Street and Highway 56 intersection after the highway was improved years ago. It became apparent that drivers (including many elderly) had difficultly crossing over into the grocery store because of traffic.

With school traffic it is a virtual nightmare. At 8am and 3pm it is impossible just to get out on to the highway (something the school district should have considered BEFORE they selected their locations).

The KDOT basically said that a signal at that intersection "wasn't in the plans". No mention if it was necessary for traffic flow or a safety issue.


Bloggerboo 6 years, 8 months ago

The school buildings north of 56 have been a there long time...probably well before the district needed to worry about traffic issues.


DrWho 6 years, 8 months ago

The heavy traffic is primarily from the elementary schools. This makes Highway 56 almost impossible to enter, especially if a driver needs to turn left onto the highway. There are too many cars in both directions.

This is an issue the school district should have foreseen. When you design new construction you always anticipate future traffic flow and diversion requirements.

Just like the district "forgot" about sidewalk access for children to the schools, I suspect we would find very little discussion about traffic issues causing problems.

Of course, now city and state taxpayers are providing great new sidewalks right along Highway 56 with speeding cars for the little children to walk to school.

I appreciate your comments Bloggerboo, but even as an apologist for past school boards, surely you have to admit that for years the school district has blundered, mismanaged, squandered and misrepresented resulting in the public lacking confidence in the integrity and capability of the school administrators and representatives.


Bloggerboo 6 years, 8 months ago

I'll agree that many previous boards have made some me a BoE that hasn't. However, in this example, the current high school has been in place since 1995, and that means the current junior high has been around a lot longer. So we're talking probably three decades ago since the decision to put school buildings on the north side of 56 happened. If you expect to hold this board, or any, accountable for three future decades, you have no common sense. Not to mention that the city also holds some culpability in this. They decide when and where sidewalks go. So, you see, we are a community, and we have made community decisions, either by who we vote in, or what we allow to happen by not voicing our opinion or voting others out of positions. Stop blaming seven folks who are doing volunteer work the best they can for decisions that you get the benefit of hindsight to evaluate. Soon, we will not get any decent board members because this city routinely bashes them. Who would want the job now?

A fine example is this most recent decision about the sale of the old PC building and gymnasium. No matter which way they voted, they were going to be blamed by somebody for something. Take the extra $20k and they are greedy. Take the $70k bid and they would be called short-sighted and not nearly frugal enough in a very tight economic time. It is so easy to cast stones. Luckily no one here lives in glass houses.


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