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Dreaded 50/281 Intersection

September 22, 2012

One, two, three, four… they just keep coming like a reoccurring upper airway infection. Some of the victims are out of town folks, but just as many are locals. The reasons are varied – didn’t recognize the layout, didn’t see the sign, or simply didn’t see the other fellow.

Efforts have been taken to prevent them – rumble strips, additional lights, and special signs – but all efforts so far have failed. This time the victim was a young local teen.

Some folks simply blame it on the victims with questions – “Can’t they read? Why didn’t they see the other vehicle? Did they not see the signs, or the red lights?” The problem with the blame approach is it doesn’t fix the problem.

Let us again recap what doesn’t work. It’s clear that more lights or more signage isn’t the key to the puzzle. Roughing up the road hasn’t stopped it. And about the only thing that blaming victims does is relieve blamers from feeling bad about not coming up with a real solution.

So, what’s the solution? I’m no road engineer, but there does seem to be some options.

What about a Round-a-Bout? The area around the intersection is wide open with unlimited land for any needed acquisition. Nobody wants to slow down when they are moving along at highway speed, but a person’s life should be worth a small time delay.

Another option would be an Overpass. I know the conservatives are having conniption fits about now. “There’s no way we can afford such an approach!” That’s their likely reply – mixed with a few expletives.

If you look around the State of Kansas I think you’ll find many similar intersections – with Overpasses. Why did we place Overpasses in these locations, but not 50/281?

Was it simply because we failed to ask? If so, let’s ask. If we already asked, let’s ask again. And let’s keep on asking – because predictable is preventable.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. jan permalink
    September 22, 2012 3:53 am

    I’ve grown up with this intersection … I have questions also as to why it is dangerous … I pulled up to the intersection a couple of weeks ago from the N and saw a semi coming from the E with his right turn signal going like he was turning N on 281. I looked to the W and there was no traffic so I was ready to go ahead and proceed S on 281 to Pratt .. but I waited for all traffic to clear out … I was glad, because a small passenger car heading west was hidden behind the semi that was slowing down to turn N ….

    • Anonymous permalink
      September 22, 2012 3:25 pm

      I don’t know all the reasons why we can’t eliminate the accidents with the present set up. It’s just obvious that we don’t have the solution yet. And just accepting the situation as unfixable doesn’t seems like the responsible thing to do.

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