Archive for Wednesday, May 23, 2007

24-40 signal ptions weighed

May 23, 2007

The U.S. Highway 24-40 Corridor Study will be coming to a close in the next few months, and Monday the Basehor City Council gave its input on some final important decisions in that study.

The 24-40 Corridor Study will provide a master plan for future land use, transportation and will guide development along a 2-mile wide stretch of land along U.S. 24-40 from Kansas Highway 7 west to County Road 1, just south of Tonganoxie.

While a final open house for the study had been scheduled for Wednesday, officials postponed it until July 12 to take a closer look at access points on the highway.

"We decided we needed to get some kind of formal response from the planning commissions and city councils in Basehor and Tonganoxie," said Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh.

Those bodies were asked to decide where they would like to see full access points with traffic lights, three quarters access points -- lefts turns permitted off of the highway, but not onto the highway -- as well as no cross traffic and right-in, right-out only access points along U.S. 24-40 in their respective cities.

A one-mile stretch between signalization is desired by study engineers to keep traffic moving smoothly.

"If you vary the spacing of signals more than about 10 percent, your ability to carry traffic goes to zero," said Chris Huffman, assistant chief of traffic engineering for KDOT.

Nine possible intersections -- 142nd, 147th, 150th, 153rd, 155th, 158th, 162nd/163rd, 166th and 170th streets -- were considered for signalization.

The Basehor Planning Commission, at its May 1 meeting, weighed several options and voted to include 142nd, 147th, 158th and 166th for consideration of full access and traffic lights. Slaugh said the Planning Commission believed the signal at 155th Street should be removed at some point to achieve the desired one-mile separation.

Representatives from several businesses at the intersection of 24-40 and 155th Street attended Monday night's Basehor City Council meeting to voice their concerns with the planners' recommendation and asked the council to include 155th Street in its access recommendation.

"One of the reasons we built there was because of the nature of the intersection," said Leeann Creal, a legal representative for Casey's General Store. "It will have a huge economic impact on us and the other businesses."

"If you shut that light off, it's really sending a signal to all the businesses that you want to go after more development but you don't care about the ones that are already there," said Charlie Krout, supervising partner for Sonic Drive-In. "We know that's not your intent, but that's how it will be perceived."

Council president Terry Thomas suggested the council recommend 142nd, 147th, 155th, 158th and 166th Streets for full access, even though it did not adhere to the one-mile separation desired. Council member Keith Sifford agreed.

"I like Terry's options to a point," he said. "I think removing the signal light at 155th is not an option. I think 155th still needs to be full access and 158th is also a vital access. But, I don't see 147th happening for years and years.

"I do believe this is the biggest decision the city has had to make in years," Thomas said. "This is something we really need to think about and not enter into lightly."

Council member Iris Dysart also agreed with Thomas, stating she thought the city should ask for more full access points even though they did not coincide with the one-mile guideline.

"I don't think it hurts to ask for more," she said. "Whatever traffic demands, that's what KDOT is going to do."

New Council members Jim Washington and Terry Hill also gave their input on Thomas' suggestion. Washington said there was a need to look at existing roads for access rather than building a road to create an access, such as in the case of 147th Street, which has not yet been built to U.S. 24-40.

Hill focused on the need for a stoplight at 158th Street. He said there either needed to be a signal at the intersection or a lowered speed limit.

However, Huffman said it was hard to believe, but all studies show that as speed limits go down, accidents go up. More intersections also means more crashes, he said.

"The number of intersections, their spacing and their controls are all important considerations," he said. "As this area grows, the question for us to figure out is how it will grow. It is very hard to make those long-term decisions on a consistent basis."

The council voted, 4-1, with Washington opposed, to submit the five intersections, including 155th Street for consideration as full access. Decisions for three-quarter accesses, as well as right-in, right-out only accesses were left up to city staff due to time.

Input from all parties will be submitted to the study's planning firm Bucher, Willis and Ratliff for review. The final report on the study is set to be complete and presented at the final public meeting scheduled for July 12.

At that meeting, all proposed aspects of the future of the corridor will be revealed, including store front appearances, signage and access points.

"This meeting is just to tell the public here is the final product. Here are the rules you're going to live by," Slaugh said.

Once the final decision is made on future access points, Slaugh said there would be an effort to improve the north-south roads in the city by connecting them to these access points and further drive development.

In other action Monday night, the council:

  • Approved, 4-1, with Sifford opposed, signing a nonbinding letter of intent with Affinity Development for the proposed facilities and financing options for downtown Basehor.
  • Approved, 5-0, the purchase of two radar units for $3,390 for police vehicles.
  • Approved, 5-0, the purchase a 2007 Crown Victoria not to exceed $31,000 for the Police Department.
  • Approved, 5-0, authorizing the police chief to dispose of a 2001 Crown Victoria police car.
  • Approved, 4-1, with Hill opposed, an increase in monthly fees for the public offender from $200 to $250.
  • Approved, 5-0, the purchase of a vehicle for the Public Works Department, not to exceed $31,491.
  • Approved, 5-0, the preliminary and final plat for Little Angel's Learning Center.
  • Approved, 5-0, amendments to the Infrastructure Element of the Comprehensive Plan.
  • Denied, 5-0, to participate in the ICMA Performance measurement Consortium.
  • Approved, 5-0, an agreement with the League of Kansas Municipalities to update and revise the Basehor Municipal Code.
  • Approved, 5-0, options for a grant submittal for KDOT economic development street project.
  • Approved, 5-0, an ordinance authorizing the reassessments for Falcon Lakes Benefit District.
  • Approved, 5-0, to repeal Charter Ordinances 2, 4, 9 and 6, pass 10 and amend 3 to correct an error.
  • Approved, 5-0, Planning Commission appointments for Ed Bush and John Flower.
  • Approved, 4-1, with Sifford opposed, to adopt and ordinance to raise the fireworks permit from $50 to $500.

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