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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Study highlights concerns on S. Kansas Ave.

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  • The South Kansas Avenue traffic corridor has had an unusually high number of accidents the past couple of years, and the city of Newton wants to reverse that trend. The city recently commissioned a traffic study of the corridor and hosted an open house Tuesday at the Newton Fire/EMS Station No. 3, so community members could view the results of the study. Suzanne Loomis, city engineer/director of public works, said in addition to the study, the city also sent out surveys and received more than 150 responses. David Church, a senior traffic engineer with consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, said the traffic study and public comments revealed many of the same concerns. “We saw a lot of the feedback that we received is the same thing we noted when we looked at accidents and traffic flow,” he said. Some of the primary issues revealed by the study and the surveys were: - Lack of bicycle and pedestrian crossings along South Kansas Avenue, and sidewalks on the west side of South Kansas Avenue. - High crash rates due to the number of intersections. - The need to accommodate increased traffic due to future growth. At the open house, Brian Geiger, traffic engineering with Parsons Brinckerhoff, was showing traffic simulations that demonstrated what problems might occur if no changes were made to the South Kansas Avenue corridor by 2030. Increased commercial development and the possibility of a new YMCA could complicate traffic flow in the area, Geiger said. Long waits to turn north onto South Kansas Avenue could cause people to become impatient and dart out into traffic sooner than they should, creating accidents. Traffic also could back up on U.S. 50 westbound and eastbound ramps. Some of the improvements proposed for the corridor include: - A new road south of Wal-Mart that would connect with Windward Drive East. - A roundabout on Windward Drive West and a roundabout on the new road referenced above, to help traffic flow more smoothly. - A roundabout at 24th Street and South Kansas Avenue. - Traffic signals for westbound and eastbound U.S. 50 ramps. - A sidewalk on the west side of Kansas Avenue. - Improved connectivity between residential areas and Wal-Mart and Newton Medical Center. - More lanes added to Kansas Avenue. - More accommodations for pedestrians.

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