Categories
highways

New Ride

I put this under “highways” cause it does have a periphrial over-the-road theme…. it’s also partially why I haven’t updated the highways site recently…..

My current car, a 91 Buick Regal, has had enough problems with it that it has not been deemed worthy of long range travel (my last major road trip was to Des Moines in January 2004) Also, the Regal technically belongs to my parents, even though I have been responsible for acutally paying for Taxes and Insurance.

This week, we found a ’94 Buick Park Avenue with 92,000 miles on it. We called to take a look. It was in good enough shape, and the person selling it accepted our offer. I have all the paperwork to sign the title over, but I wasn’t able to get it done on Friday, which means I’ll be driving the regal for a “swan song” weeked.

I’ve never been the kind to go for anything flashy, nor to I care for the handling and the truck-like mileage of an SUV, so the more traditional Large Sedan like the Park Avenue probably fits me better, and I don’t mind that “granny car” stigma.

In fact, my brother currently drives a 91 Park Ave. that origionally belonged to my grandmother. I’m considering doing a photo shoot with the two cars sometime in the future, possibly along with my mom’s ’98 Town Car (a.k.a “The Limo,” as a local limo service uses similar Town Cars for airport shuttles.)

Categories
railroad

It’s Model Railroad month

Got an email from a model railroad list saying that November is Model Railroad month. For the first time in several years, I actually have a model railroad layout to run 🙂

I currently own a small 4×6 layout consisting of a double-track single loop. I’ve got plenty of locomotives, now concentrating on frieght and passanger equipment.

Categories
Personal

Time to get out of Politics

Today Was Alyssa Hill’s birthday. Now, if I could just find where to send her a card or e-card….

Categories
local politics Politics

How I voted

Here’s how I voted. Like I inferred earlier, I went with a straight GOP ticket.

POTUS — Bush/Cheney

John Kerry is a Massachusetts Liberal — in most years, he wouldn’t even be considered electable. He’ll pull Douglas County, though.

I don’t believe there is a conciveable way Bush could have prevented the country from going in the red again, and I believe Kerry’s tax proposal amounts to punishing the rich. Our Income tax system is preety much progressively in line with the amount of wealth the classes control as it is.

As for military action: Somehow, I think Kerry is going to try to use a diplomatic solution that will amount to a surrender.

US Senator: Sam Brownback
His Democratic opponent lost the Primary to a “placeholder. ”

US Representative: Jim Ryun
Boyda may take Lawrence, but will likely give up the rural regions that rest of the district. Ryun had an ad that suggested that Boyda moved from JoCo to Topeka to try to take his seat (the 3rd Distict, which includes JoCo and the eastern part of Lawrence, is covered by Dennis Moore) and is fiercely anti-war in an area which may tend to lean more towards support for Military action.

State Senator: Mark Buhler

I’ve known Mark for some time now, since his days as a county commissioner. I consider him a friend, and he’s had to settle me down once or twice. Certainally, the Democrats don’t care for him because he’s a Realator by trade.

State Representative: Tom Sloan
The Democrats didn’t find anyone to challange Rep. Sloan. However, he does have a Libertarian on his tail.

Board of Education: Robert Meissner
This is one where I went with party lines. Both candidates seem worthy of filling the position.

District Attorney: Christine Kenney
Her opponent charges that the incumbant DA has been less than competnent in the DA office. I don’t see it, but than again, I’m a partisan for the GOP 🙂

County Commission: Jere McElhaney
Like Sen. Buhler, I’ve met with Comm. McElhaneny a few times and I like him. His opponent is a local vet who filed as an independant, as the Democrats have had no chance in this county district. My mom had initially taken my two cats to this vet, but I wound up taking them elsewhere. The vet I go is on 6th Street, and has a rubber-stamp policy for political yard signs: if you come in and ask, he’ll let you put one up.

County Clerk: Marni Penrod
County Tresuarer: Cindy Monshizadeh

Back to party lines for these two. Cindy’s husband is also the manager at a local Sports Bar/Restaraunt that I have been going to on many an occasion..

Register of Deeds: Kay Pesnell (D)
Sheriff: Ken McGovern (R)

Both of these candidates are running unopposed. In the Primary, I put down “Big Jay” for Register of Deeds as a “throwaway” write-in. Four Years ago, I filled in “The LFS Firebird”

Judicial Retention:

4 Supreme Court Judges, 4 Court of Appeals Judges, and three district judges are up for retention, usually, this is a “rubber-stamp” yes, but for Paula Martin, a group has formed because of what some consider to be an extreme deviation in sentacing in a Rape conviction (60 days confinment minimum with 5 years probation, 2 years confiment if probation is broken — minimum presumed sentance is 13 years).

I disagree with the notion that Judges should not be subject to the political wind — appoitment of Judges has been know to be an issue in Presidential races (including this one) and some districts in Kansas continue to elect judges in partizan elecetions. I also believe that the DA did not punt this one, as some suggest. I voted down Martin, and voted to retain Judge Murphy and Malone (who has a son one year older and a daughter one year younger than me) as well as the Supreme court and Appeals judges.

Categories
Personal

Nothing like little ones

I’m too old to go trick-or-treating, but I do go with my cousin Ciera and her little boy, Cyrus around our neigborhood. I also have driven the out to the houses of some of my friend. Tonight, I paid a visit to the Lafond household, and my friend and classmate Allison and her little Rylie. I got a pic of the three of them….. I hope it’s a good shot. The younger Rylie (13 months, versus 3 years for Cyrus), unfortunately, was done with trick-or-treating for the night.

Categories
Personal

Happy Halloween

I’ll start by stating the obvious, since it’s the 31st of October 🙂

Also, as many of you can see, I’ve tweaked my WordPress blog script to use the same green, white, and yellow style I’ve used for the site.

Categories
Politics

Vote

November 2, 2004 is Election Day in the states. Remember to vote. 🙂

I will be there Tuesday morning, and I’ll probably say who I voted for Tuesday afternoon. However, I’ll drop one big hint: I lean toward the right side of the fence.

Categories
General

spam attack

looks like someone has tried to spam the blog. Time to keep an eye open….

Categories
General

Sports stuff

Kansas Finally ends a long drought of a winless streak against Kansas State — which was worthy of a homecoming tear-down of the goalposts. In the overall records, K-State would have had to have a much longer streak to catch up to the number of wins KU has had on them in the past.

Joe Nemechek followed up his pole in the #01 Army Chevy with a sweep of the Busch and Nextel cup races at Kansas Speedway, with the race going into the final laps.. A great photo accompanies the J-W article — may be worth the money to get a print.

Categories
highways local politics

More SLT ramblings

Local Resident Richard Heckler had a Letter to the Editor in today’s J-W about the South Lawrence Trafficway. He also posted it to Larryville. Some of his opening paragraphs were cut, focusing on the issue of a Traffic Light that is along the existing stretch. A recent fatality accident and the proximity to the local youth soccer field has may people concerned, including the letter writer.

Here’s my response, with Mr. Hecklers words space in in fixed type


One more example of bad planning with Dean Carlson at the helm not to mention a strong influence of two Douglas County comissioners at the time and probaly others behind the scene.

The two lane speedway was built as a means to force the the SLT through the wetlands before a court decision was rendered thinking no one would say NO once the project was underway. The court said no not through the wetlands. Bad planning

While the existing leg of the SLT was constructed with the assumption that the eastern leg would be built, it was not built with any particular alignment in mind. Also, the courts did not say that we could not build through the wetlands. That’s not their perogative. The courts did say that the Federal Highway Administration could not “pull out” of the EIS process because parties could not decide on a alignment. That ruling led to a rare “no-build” decision and, ultimitely, to the all-new EIS process and the current alignment selection.

When asked why not build a four lane instead of two considering the speed at which drivers would likely travel the reply was "We'll add on once traffic counts warrants two more lanes". My best guess it would have cost less a few years ago than whenever if it ever gets done. Now there is no money and people travel as if it is a four lane. Bad planning.

The bulk of the costs for expanding a roadway appear to be Right of way acquisition. In the process of building the first two lanes, KDOT acquired the Right of Way for the second carridgeway. While it certainally would be somewhat more expensive to build the second carridgeway in the future over building both carridgeways at the same time, some would see it as a waste, and the maintance costs for the second carridgeway would probably make it a wash cost-wise anyway.

I say pick an area east of Lawrence which will connect K-10 and I-70 to the north thus bringing all of this together under a toll road plan.

Whether or not anything else is built there are two intersections that are in desperate need of attention. They are at the soccer field and the bridge to nowhere.

Why was a a traffic light placed at K-10 and the soccer fields in the first place? Perhaps KDOT knew then this intersection was not safe. Certainly no safe passage for pedestrians crossing the two lane speedway to a popular area was provided.

Why did they not design a safe intersection considering the popular area and its 'proximity to a neighborhood? They ran out of money.

Is that any reason to leave a project with unsafe intersections? Probaly not.

Why are they leaving the bridge to nowhere and the soccer field intersections,both unsafe designs, as they are? Were the decisions to leave these intersections with unsafe designs irresponsible? I think so. Now the new administration is left hopefully appropriating funds to correct the situation in the near future.

In retrospect instead of building bridges to nowhere should we be sure we have our priorities straight thus not allowing unsafely designed intersections when working with limited funds?

Soccer field intersection has been brought to the attention of KDOT officials during discussions in the SLT hearings if my memory serves me well more than once. A pedestrian bridge for cyclists,joggers,walkers and children at this intersection was suggested due to the rather precarious situation of this intersection.

In the interest of safety KDOT needs to rectify this situation very soon.

KDOT (as would just about any transportation agency) certainly balked about the idea of placing a traffic light on a high speed roadway, but also determined (quite correctly) that there was enough crossing traffic to justify it. While the design of this intersection is not as safe as a grade-separated interchange, every reasonable effort to protect the safety of cross traffic and pedestrians has been made.

The problems that have occurred at this and other at-grad intersections on major highways in Kansas have not fallen on deaf ears in Topeka. Such problems are part of the initiative for making US 59 a full freeway, for example.

Also KDOT should reconsider the I-70 connectors east of Lawrence as a means of putting the SLT matter behind us, perhaps more economical. Eastern Hills Business Park and all other traffic would benefit greatly.

As for the idea of building an eastern bypass over the proposed eastern SLT leg: The Eastern Bypass has been proposed for just as long, if not longer, than the southern bypass/SLT project. That proposal, for whatever reason, has gone nowhere in Topeka. Even if it now receives a more serious look, it would require the same environmental scrutiny given to the SLT, would likely face opposition from river preservationists, would take longer to complete, and would likely not be any more economical.