Friday, August 6, 2010
The Tragedy of 71 Highway
Kansas City, eager to not be like its prosperous neighbor, decided to mess up their corridor. Based on the fear of racism and abandonment of the urban core, Kansas City planners insisted that the new 71 highway stretch feature traffic lights instead of exit and entrance ramps for the 55th, 59th, and 75th street exits. Putting 3 traffic lights into this new link effectively rendered it impotent. After over a decade, not a single business has benefited from having the stop lights. This stretch of highway has become infamous for car jackings, murders, random shootings, traffic jams, and endless wrecks brought on by the lights.
Kansas City had a chance at redemption as 65 million dollars will now be spent to make US 71 an interstate highway 49 connecting KC to Joplin and eventually New Orleans. To do this, all of the rural direct highway access roads will be closed down, replaced with on and off ramps so as to maintain the prevailing speed on the highway. However, missing from this plan is the chance to build such ramps the the locations in mid town that have lights.
I lament the missed opportunity Kansas City had by bowing to racial provocateurs. Instead of using 71, most people avoid it. If the proper ramps had been installed instead of lights, I believe that the volume of cars using this corridor would have been greatly increased. Isn't that the goal. If the volume is increased, there is a higher likely hood of cars exiting. Additionally, how many people on 55th or 59th traveling east or west are happy about having to endure the long red lights. Think of how many eastern and southern johnson countians would have been more likely to take the quick 10 MINUTE drive down 71 to sample downtown or the plaza, if there had only been no lights.
Posted by jrchaard at 7:00 AM