Archive for Wednesday, February 2, 2005

I-35 tie-ups topic of meeting today

February 2, 2005

Johnson County officials are searching for a way to relieve rush-hour congestion caused by the thousands of people who travel Interstate 35 each workday.

In a meeting tonight in Lenexa, Johnson County Transit is scheduled to take the first step in an effort to identify the best method for relieving traffic congestion in the I-35 corridor. Transit officials are referring to the year-long effort as the I-35 Fixed Guideway Corridor Alternatives Analysis, and local officials say it could have a beneficial impact on Shawnee residents and businesses.


The meeting, the first of several public informational meetings, is set for from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lenexa Conference Center, 11185 Lackman Road. Several options for enhancing traffic flow on I-35 will be discussed.

In the study, funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the Kansas Department of Transportation, the following alternatives are under consideration: a rapid bus transit lane, a special lane for high-occupancy vehicles, a commuter rail system, an improved bus system and a light rail transit system.

County Commissioner John Segale, District 2, is familiar with the congestion problems presented along I-35 and supported efforts to relieve congestion as a Shawnee City Council member in 2003.

"I still feel that way," Segale said. "It's one of the things I want to work on now as a commissioner."

Segale said the current state of I-35 created a need for the study, since it was becoming more difficult to use the highway, a situation which might cause both residents and businesses to leave the area.

"If it's inconvenient and it takes a lot of time and gas for people to travel along there, they aren't going to want to remain in the area," Segale said. "If it's hard to get around, it's not as attractive to travel and do business."

Segale said now that the metropolitan area had expanded, it would be wise to use tax dollars to move people in a mass transit system.

All of the alternatives under consideration will be depicted and explained at the meeting, but members of the Johnson County Transit staff and the I-35 Study team will be present to answer questions and encourage input, including suggestions of additional options.

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