Archive for Thursday, November 11, 2004

City picks entrance to plaza

November 11, 2004

A permanent detour is around the bend for nearly 1,700 vehicles a day that now use a private drive to enter and exit the Holiday Plaza shopping center.

The Lansing City Council, in a unanimous vote last week, selected Holiday Terrace as the preferred entrance into the shopping center in the 600 block of North Main Street.

The Kansas Department of Transportation had told the city Holiday Terrace and the private drive between Citizens National Bank and Lansing Pharmacy were space too closely to meet traffic safety goals of the city's Main Street System Enhancement Project.

KDOT left to the council the decision of which access to close.

Brent Padgett, vice president of Citizens National Bank, 601 N. Main St., pleaded with council members to keep the private drive open into what he called "downtown Lansing."

"I don't know why we would do anything to hurt downtown Lansing," he said.

He said closing the private street and requiring traffic to enter via a new road off Holiday Terrace west of the pharmacy was tantamount to requiring that visitors use a "side street" to get into the downtown.

He favored an option that would have kept the private drive open and extended the road with an S-curve around the pharmacy's north end where it would hook into Holiday Terrace, the so-called Option 1.

But Harley Russell, who owns the Lansing Pharmacy building at 617 N. Main St., said he preferred keeping Holiday Terrace open and building a new street to allow access to the center.

Ron Seitz, the project manager for KDOT, told council members both options were acceptable to transportation officials and noted the difficulty in selecting one alternative over another.

"I hear the folks with very legitimate concerns," he said.

After a lengthy discussion that involving other business owners in Holiday Plaza, KDOT and the city's public works director, council members opted to recommend that Holiday Terrace be kept open.

Council members cited several reasons for their decision, including that if traffic into the private drive backed up, it could further disrupt traffic on Main Street.

Construction bids on the Main Street project are to be let in late 2005.

The closing of the private drive wouldn't come until after construction began on the west side of the street, sometime in either 2006 or 2007, said John Young, the city's public works director.

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