Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2005

Kansas Highway 7 should be freeway

April 21, 2005

When Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller makes the decision on the future of Kansas Highway 7, she should remember two words: Metcalf Avenue.

Metcalf Avenue, the secretary should know, is the poster child for how stoplights, multitudes of curb cuts leading to adjoining businesses and tons of traffic can bring a stretch of highway to a standstill.

It's exactly what shouldn't happen when K-7 is upgraded throughout the coming decade.

Consultants with HTNB Corp. made a preliminary recommendation four months ago that K-7 be upgraded to a freeway from Mary Street in Lansing to 223rd Street south of Olathe.

It was a decision that was hailed by officials from Lansing, Leavenworth, Olathe, Spring Hill and Shawnee, plus Leavenworth, Johnson and Miami counties.

The preliminary recommendation didn't sit well with officials with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/ Kansas City, Kan., Edwardsville, Bonner Springs and Basehor.

Late last month, they wrote a letter to Miller protesting the decision. Making K-7 a freeway, they said, would negatively affect existing and future businesses along the highway.

The last time we checked, limited access roads were a beacon for economic development.

Off ramps and frontage roads can provide the access the freeway naysayers seek.

Those factors, combined with the increased safety a freeway provides over stop-and-go traffic, should make Miller's decision easy. Toss in the tens of thousands of vehicles that use K-7 today and the thousands more that will be added in the years to come, and it should be even more of a no-brainer for the secretary.

Let's not turn K-7 into another Metcalf Avenue.

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