City changes operation of Woodland Ave. traffic signal

Traffic signal at Independence and Woodland avenues. Photo by Michael Bushnell

Following a request made by the Northeast News, the Public Works Department sent a traffic signal supervisor to the intersection of Independence Avenue and Woodland Avenue last Wednesday morning.

In 2018, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) closed Woodland Ave. north of Independence Avenue to public vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The university sponsored an ordinance to close Woodland Avenue between Independence Avenue and Brownell Avenue, citing an increase in pedestrian accessibility and safety.

At least three KCATA stops were involved in addition to the reworking of the road: Woodland & Independence and both east- and westbound at Woodland & Missouri.

According to the project description, the vacation site had sidewalks on both sides and several curb cuts. KCU intended to vacate this portion of Woodland Avenue to provide a safer crossing for students and faculty of the university, as well as smoother student drop-off for Della Lamb just north of Independence Avenue.

At the time, the six conditions the committee cited included KCU paying all the relocation costs for street lights and Time Warner Cable services. The committee also requested “a full-width utility easement be retained and all existing KCP&L, KC Water Services and AT&T facilities are protected prior to the recording of this vacation.”

In addition, KCUMB may not construct any new structures within the area being vacated without approval from the Director of Public Works, Sherri McIntyre. Finally, access to utilities must be provided to the utility providers at all times.

The ordinance ultimately passed and KCU installed a gate with a security officer at the new entrance to campus, which has caused confusion to those who used to turn north at Woodland Ave.

Last week, Public Works determined that there are vehicles that still utilize the left turn signal eastbound to northbound at this intersection to enter Kansas City University’s campus, so it cannot be temporarily covered or removed at this time.

However, they did make an adjustment so that it is no longer a constant call or pre-timed signal and instead a fully actuated signal.

“This means the signal should change when a vehicle is detected by the loop detectors in the pavement at the intersection,” Media Relations Manager Maggie Green said in an email to the Northeast News.

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