Archive for Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Study shows future need for 91st Street traffic signal

January 1, 2003

There is currently no need for a traffic signal at the intersection of 91st Street and Lexington Ave., but development slated for the neighborhood will necessitate a signal in the future, a study commissioned by the city found.

De Soto City Engineer Mike Brungardt said those conclusions were part of a signal-warrant study on the intersection conducted by Bucher, Willis & Ratliff Corp. It was one of two scheduled for the Lexington Ave. corridor. The Kansas Department of Transportation is paying for a similar study for the Commerce Drive intersection.

Because it is not part of the state system, KDOT did not participate in the signal-warrant study of the 91st Street intersection, nor would the state help with a signal's estimated $130,000 cost, Brungardt said. Should the ongoing study find a signal warranted at Commerce Drive, KDOT would pay for 80 percent of its cost.

"If not, the city will pay for all of it," the city engineer said.

The De Soto City Council included a signal with the estimated cost of $130,000 at one of the two intersections in the capital improvement plan it approved last year.

The signal-warrant study left a number of questions unanswered, principally which combination of planned development projects would establish the need of a traffic signal. Brungardt said that would be determined by the destination of traffic in the future and that would only be learned through further traffic counts. Development that created destinations that cause frequent lane changes and turns would increase the need for a traffic signal, he said.

"The question is when will a signal be needed at Commerce Drive and how will the two tie together?" he said. "They're close enough together to affect each other."

As he has in the past, the city engineer warned against the premature installation of a traffic signal at either intersection.

"Putting a light at an intersection before it is needed does more harm than good," he said.

As an alternative to a signal light, the study's author suggested the city should consider a roundabout at the intersection.

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