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.


spam attack

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


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.

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.


It’s an interesting sports weekend

First off, we’ve got a NASCAR race at the Kansas Speedway. Looks like “Front Row” Joe Nemechek will be the pole sitter.

KU will be facing K-State in the Sunflower Showdown Saturday evening. K-State is favored by only four points.

Oklahoma and Texas will face in the Red River Shootout off at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas

in High School Ball… Silver Lake and Rossville will be meeting in the “War on 24.” Interestingly enough, the Silver Lake-Rossville rivalry predates the US highway systen, and Highway 24 didn’t go through those towns for another decade after that.

Free State HS finally won a game against newcomer Olathe Northwest, who is in their second year overall and their first year of Varsity Football.

Lawrence High plays Olathe South tonight at home.

LHS and Free State play each other in two weeks.

White City plays at St. Xavier. No threat of a forefit — Districts are on in 8-man.


Trip around the Sun…

I maintain a list of birthdays an Anniversaries, and this week, a couple of my “inner circle” friends had birthdays.

Last Saturday (9/25) was the first Birthday of Rylie Carson. I’ve known her mom, Allison, since about 1993, and have tried to keep in touch with her family since about ’96. Allison was a big supporter of my picture-taking efforts and my use of a website to showcase them. Needless to say, that courtesy has extended into the next generation.

Today (10/1) was the birthday of Debbie Slack. I first met Deb in the Fall of 1998 at a rain soaked football game as a Sophomore, although most of the pics I have of her are from her Senior year. Her mom happened to be the Spirit Squad coach for Free State at the time as well, so I had plenty of opportunities to keep in touch with them. Her older sister was also a co-worker of mine for a while before she decided to change careers.

In any case, I spent my lunch hour getting a card and a gift for each of them, not that that was an imposition of anything 🙂


Debate Results

I must confess, I did not watch the presidential debate last night.

However, I saw Fark link to conflicting opinions as to whether Bush or Kerry won the first debate — and Fark posted both under “Obvious”.

Somehow, I just think that this reflects the polarized nature of this year’s elections. Those that suppoted Bush before still support him now, those that supported Kerry before the debate will still support Kerry, and the “undecided” vote is probably not much of a factor now. Personally, I don’t feel like I need to pay that much attention, as I am very likely to give my vote to the standing president.

I still think they need to do a bat’leth fight instead of a debate. First one to bleed loses.

highways local politics

SLT Musings

The local paper has done a story about the status of the South Lawrence Trafficway highway project — which, as the local highway guru, I have a perticular interest, and have been observing since about 1990.

As it stands, the earliest the SLT could be completed is 2012, based upon the idea the legislature would start up a new transportaion plan upon the expiration of the current one in 2009, and that threatand litigation were judged in KDOT’s favor. The current proposal calls for the SLT — and a proposed relocation of local 31st Street — to be built across a common ROW within the northern part of the Baker Wetlands. Needless to say, many in the environmental community are not going along with it.

The thesis of the EIS approving the proposed 32nd Street routing is that the short-term mitigatable environmental impacts of the 32nd Street route outweigh the long-term impacts to the wetlands due to the concequences of the proposed 42nd Street alignment south of the Wakarusa River that the environmentalists are preferring. I accept and agree with this thesis.

As for funding: despite the anti-tax feelings currently occuring in the statehouse, I think that another transportation plan will be in the works. I know of at least one other major project that has had no money allocated to it all all — the interchange between I-235 and US 54 (Kellogg Ave.) is substandard and due for a major upgrade; however, the price tag is preety heafty — a railroad line and the “Big Ditch” complacate matters.


Klingons for Kerry

Saw this article on the Drudge Report a while back. A group of Oregon residents dressed up like Klingons for the release of a Star Trek DVD at a local record store. These Klingons state they support Kerry because “A good war is based on honor, not deception… The first warrior, President Bush, deceived us all with this war.”

Opinion on whether going to Iraq is justified or not aside, perhaps these Klingon should pick up the Deep Space Nine Fourth Season DVD. In the two-hour opener, Way of the Warrior, the Klingon leader, Chancellor Gowron, decided to pursure a war based on questionable intellegence. Not only did this allianated our heros, Gowron winds up attacking our heros as well.

In any case, this country has become so polarized that perhaps the best way to pick the next leader of the free world would be to have Bush and Kerry duel it out in a Bat’leth fight


More on the football fiasco

The fisco regarding the White City-St. Marys academy football game, where St. Marys refused to play with a female player suited up, has apparantly made the news wires, as well as managing to get my mug in the local Rag. (Story and Afformentioned ugly mug from the Journal-World)

In addition, the Kansas State High School Activities Association has acknowledged the game as a 2-0 forefit in favor of White City. Since St. Marys is not a KSHSAA member, the only furthur action that could be taken would be to have St. Marys dropped from the KSHSAA approved school list, which may be considered next summer.