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Author Topic: Kellogg Freeway History Question  (Read 11432 times)

Ned Weasel

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Kellogg Freeway History Question
« on: June 26, 2011, 02:36:20 PM »

This is a specific question about the history of the US 54/400/Kellogg Freeway in Wichita.  I remember reading on a message board (I don't think it was this one, but there's a small chance that it was) that part of the reason Wichita wanted to convert Kellogg Avenue to a freeway was that, in the late 70s or early 80s, a large corporation considered moving to Wichita but decided against it because the city's freeways were too "depressing-looking" (I specifically remember that term being used, and I can only guess that it was in reference to I-135).  This context makes sense when you see the artistic design in almost every part of the Kellogg Freeway, but after repeated searches, I cannot find any reference to that motivation for building the freeway (nor can I find the message board post I read).  Has anyone else heard this, and does anyone know where I could find an article that documents this?  It may not even be true, but if it is, it would certainly make an interesting research topic.
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Scott5114

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 04:27:00 PM »

I would doubt that the aesthetics of a freeway system would seriously be a make-or-break for a corporation. They tend to look more at things like tax rates, employment law, tax rates, tax rates, logistics, tax rates, other laws affecting what a company can and cannot do, tax rates, and demographics of their potential workforce. Oh, and also tax rates. Maybe if they had another city that was otherwise identical to Wichita in terms of the important stuff, that could be a deciding factor, but I don't see how ugly freeways would materially affect a company to the point that they decide it's not worth living with.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2011, 04:29:48 PM »

I haven't heard that particular claim.  The last time I tried to go in-depth on Kellogg freeway history, the Wichita Public Library had access to electronic Wichita Eagle articles (through Newslibrary) back only to 1984, which is a bit late to start looking at the run-up to the sales tax increment that has funded Kellogg construction since 1986 or so.  I know the library used to have a computerized index of significant Eagle news stories, because I helped compile entries for it one summer when I was in high school and volunteering at the library.  Possibly it may still exist, though I don't know how up to date it has been kept--the folks at the general reference desk should know more.  The library may have a microfilm archive of the Eagle also, but I am not sure.

The Eagle did a retrospective of Kellogg history around the time the Rock Road interchange opened in late 2009, so that might be a good place to start.  I don't know if I photographed the print version or saved the online version, but I recall the article mentioning that Kellogg improvements were originally projected to cost $400 million (the actual cost has been well in excess of that, partly due to scope changes) and that the City of Wichita originally considered an expressway with some at-grade intersections but rejected it because this was not considered enough of an improvement over the expressway that already existed.

I suspect part of the motivation for expanding Kellogg to full freeway had to do with cancellation of the Inner Loop.  If the Inner Loop had been built, it would have provided a comprehensively grade-separated route from Kellogg (around Seneca) to I-135 (around the 8th-9th Street exit, which I have long suspected was built on expanded ROW to accommodate a future freeway-to-freeway interchange with the Inner Loop).  The Inner Loop was cancelled in 1976, but the connection it would have provided is now possible with the Washington Street bridge/railroad overpass (EA compiled mid-1970's, while the I-135/US 54 turban was under construction; finished about 1980) and the downtown flyover (completed 1996).  The Inner Loop was meant to continue eastward as a Northeast Diagonal, which was also not proceeded with and would have served a traffic role which is now partly split between the Northeast Freeway and the freeway expansion of Kellogg east of the I-135 turban.

Some other materials that may be of interest:

*  The Wichita Public Library has a copy of a 1955 study which argued for leaving Kellogg as a surface arterial instead of letting it develop into a full freeway.

*  The library had, and may still have, a copy of the environmental document for the "central corridor" railroad overpasses.  This has a section on the history of the railroad crossings just east of downtown Wichita which goes into some detail on how Kellogg was singled out for improvements as a way of facilitating crosstown movements without going to the expense of building an overpass for every single surface arterial which crossed the railroad lines.

*  WSU library (government documents section) has a 1970's FHWA publication touting the Canal Route (I-135 through Wichita) as an early example of context-sensitive design.  (The elevated viaduct design was chosen partly to reduce land-take in the residential neighborhoods on either side of the canal and to provide biking opportunities--there is a bicycle path under the viaduct.)

I don't recall that Patterns for Thorofares recommended that Kellogg be made a freeway (though it did call for a never-built, AFAICS never seriously planned, and frankly infeasible freeway within the McLean Boulevard corridor).  I don't remember what the Wichita Area Transportation Study (done around 1965) recommended for Kellogg.  I believe WSU has copies of both studies.

FWIW, here is the configuration of Kellogg, west to east, prior to advent of the sales-tax-funded construction in the mid-1980's, as best as I can remember it:

*  Maize Road:  stoplight (now diamond interchange)

*  Tyler Road:  stoplight (now diamond interchange)

*  Airport connector interchange (still in original configuration; signing recently renovated)

*  Dugan Road:  stoplight (now diamond interchange)

*  Hoover Road:  stop-controlled intersection (now gone)

*  I-235 interchange (still in original configuration)

*  West Street:  stoplight (now a SPUI, but this was a KDOT-administered project)

*  Edwards Avenue:  partial cloverleaf (folded diamond type), all ramps on west side of Edwards to avoid railroad lines (now a split diamond with Meridian Avenue, see below)

*  Meridian Avenue:  partial cloverleaf (folded diamond type), all ramps on east side of Meridian to avoid railroad lines (now a split diamond with Meridian Avenue, see above)

*  Vine Street:  stoplight (deactivated and removed well before start of actual Kellogg construction to improve traffic flow; intersection now no longer exists)

*  Seneca Street:  full cloverleaf (now part of a split diamond with Sycamore Avenue, see below)

*  Sycamore Avenue:  partial cloverleaf (folded diamond type), all ramps west of Sycamore Avenue (now part of a modified split diamond with Seneca, see above; no direct access to Kellogg eastbound or from Kellogg westbound)

*  Main Street, Market Street, Broadway Avenue, Topeka Avenue:  all stoplights (and all now part of a split diamond with the downtown flyover)

*  Washington Street:  partial cloverleaf (folded diamond type), all ramps to the east of Washington (still in original configuration)

*  I-135 turban (still in original configuration with the exception of option lanes, recently added in a KDOT-administered project)

*  Grove Avenue:  restricted-access partial diamond (still in original configuration:  Grove to Kellogg eastbound, and Kellogg westbound to Grove are the only movements served)

*  Hillside Avenue:  partial cloverleaf (still in original configuration)

*  Bluff Avenue:  stoplight (removed as part of the Oliver Street interchange project)

*  Oliver Street:  stoplight (now a diamond interchange)

*  Edgemoor Street:  stoplight (now a modified diamond interchange with eastbound/westbound connections to Kellogg via frontage road and Oliver Street)

*  Woodlawn Avenue:  stoplight (now a diamond interchange:  building it entailed buying the Church of the Magdalen, AKA "the Holy Hamburger" and listed in at least one guide on Kansas architecture, for $10 million; it used to stand on the NE corner)

*  Armour Avenue:  stoplight (now part of a split diamond with Rock Road)

*  Rock Road:  stoplight (now part of a split diamond with Armour)

For purposes of construction, the City of Wichita has administered everything not specifically noted as KDOT-administered.  Since the city does not have a large engineering staff, Kellogg has been largely consultant-designed, with the consultants being supervised by the city's Special Projects Engineer.  Meridian-Edwards and the downtown flyover were both designed by HNTB (City of Wichita title sheets and drawing chopblocks).  Tyler-Maize (done as a single contract) were designed by PEC (KDOT title sheet and drawing chopblocks, with City of Wichita standard plan sheets inserted).  I think Rock Road was also done by HNTB (definitely with KDOT title sheet and drawing chopblocks).  For Dugan, Oliver, and Woodlawn I have no information.
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Revive 755

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2011, 10:00:13 PM »

I suspect part of the motivation for expanding Kellogg to full freeway had to do with cancellation of the Inner Loop.  If the Inner Loop had been built, it would have provided a comprehensively grade-separated route from Kellogg (around Seneca) to I-135 (around the 8th-9th Street exit, which I have long suspected was built on expanded ROW to accommodate a future freeway-to-freeway interchange with the Inner Loop).

There's a stub at the I-135/9th Street interchange that could have been for the Inner Loop.  GSV:
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.699079,-97.318124&spn=0.003485,0.0103&t=k&z=18&layer=c&cbll=37.699079,-97.318124&panoid=saZ5Bk6XfG2p2BwzetdS1w&cbp=12,164.25,,0,6

Aerial:
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.699917,-97.316734&spn=0.003502,0.0103&t=k&z=18

Link to an earlier discussion about Wichita freeway development:
https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=2416.0

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Ned Weasel

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2011, 10:01:21 PM »

I haven't heard that particular claim.  The last time I tried to go in-depth on Kellogg freeway history, the Wichita Public Library had access to electronic Wichita Eagle articles (through Newslibrary) back only to 1984, which is a bit late to start looking at the run-up to the sales tax increment that has funded Kellogg construction since 1986 or so.  I know the library used to have a computerized index of significant Eagle news stories, because I helped compile entries for it one summer when I was in high school and volunteering at the library.  Possibly it may still exist, though I don't know how up to date it has been kept--the folks at the general reference desk should know more.  The library may have a microfilm archive of the Eagle also, but I am not sure.

Wow!  Thank you for all of the information and for the references.  I'll check out some of those sources when I can.

*  Woodlawn Avenue:  stoplight (now a diamond interchange:  building it entailed buying the Church of the Magdalen, AKA "the Holy Hamburger" and listed in at least one guide on Kansas architecture, for $10 million; it used to stand on the NE corner)

I should have seen the original Church of the Magdalen at some point when I was a kid because I've been through that intersection at least a couple of times before the freeway construction east of Oliver was started (and it was probably even before it was started east of Hillside, IIRC), but I cannot remember what it looked like, and unfortunately, Google isn't helping at the moment.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2011, 10:43:06 AM »

I could have sworn Sachs and Ehrlich's Guide to Kansas Architecture had an entry on the old Church of the Magdalen, but I have just pulled my copy off the shelf and it is not mentioned.  The building received the "Holy Hamburger" moniker because it had a perfectly circular floor plan and was topped by a dome with a flattened elliptical cross-section, so that it looked like a hamburger.  The congregation took the condemnation award (which, if memory serves, was quite a bit higher than the city's initial offer) and built a brand-new church at 21st Street and 127th Street East, less than a mile east of K-96.  Architecturally it is much more conventional, although the sanctuary has an amphitheater-like floor plan.

The city of Eastborough's duck pond was another long-running land acquisition saga in connection with the Woodlawn interchange project.  (Eastborough, founded by millionaire snobs in 1937 as a way to escape Wichita property taxes, is now completely surrounded by Wichita.)  A bit to the west, the city had great difficulty acquiring land from the Veterans Administration for the Oliver/Edgemoor interchange complex until Bob Dole, who was then a US senator from Kansas and getting ready to mount his final unsuccessful bid for the presidency, inserted a clause in a highway bill (which I think eventually became the National Highway System Designation Act of 1996) which essentially forced the VA to sell the land.  Before construction began, the VA had a large lawn running north from the old divided-arterial alignment of Kellogg up to their building (which still stands; picture is here).  Because the city elected to build the freeway expansion to the north of the existing alignment to avoid acquiring expensive commercial properties to the south (including not just several car dealerships but also George Tiller's abortion clinic), that lawn is now essentially gone, and the view of the VA building is also gone because the freeway now runs below-grade.

Progress comes at a price.
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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2011, 12:40:29 PM »

I would doubt that the aesthetics of a freeway system would seriously be a make-or-break for a corporation. They tend to look more at things like tax rates, employment law, tax rates, tax rates, logistics, tax rates, other laws affecting what a company can and cannot do, tax rates, and demographics of their potential workforce. Oh, and also tax rates.

Don't tell Allegheny nor Beaver County officials that.  They are convinced that businesses were purposely avoiding the former PA 60 corridor because of its bland black-and-white shield.
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Ned Weasel

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2013, 10:35:22 PM »

This is a specific question about the history of the US 54/400/Kellogg Freeway in Wichita.  I remember reading on a message board (I don't think it was this one, but there's a small chance that it was) that part of the reason Wichita wanted to convert Kellogg Avenue to a freeway was that, in the late 70s or early 80s, a large corporation considered moving to Wichita but decided against it because the city's freeways were too "depressing-looking" (I specifically remember that term being used, and I can only guess that it was in reference to I-135).  This context makes sense when you see the artistic design in almost every part of the Kellogg Freeway, but after repeated searches, I cannot find any reference to that motivation for building the freeway (nor can I find the message board post I read).  Has anyone else heard this, and does anyone know where I could find an article that documents this?  It may not even be true, but if it is, it would certainly make an interesting research topic.

Thank Google--I found this by accident!

http://contextsensitivesolutions.org/content/case_studies/kellogg_avenue__us_54__improvem/
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kphoger

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 02:47:20 PM »

I think Rock Road was also done by HNTB (definitely with KDOT title sheet and drawing chopblocks).  For Dugan, Oliver, and Woodlawn I have no information.

Dugan - PEC, but not 100% sure
Oliver - HNTB
Woodlawn - CFS
Rock - CFS

 :cool:
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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 02:51:35 PM »

This is a specific question about the history of the US 54/400/Kellogg Freeway in Wichita.  I remember reading on a message board (I don't think it was this one, but there's a small chance that it was) that part of the reason Wichita wanted to convert Kellogg Avenue to a freeway was that, in the late 70s or early 80s, a large corporation considered moving to Wichita but decided against it because the city's freeways were too "depressing-looking" (I specifically remember that term being used, and I can only guess that it was in reference to I-135).  This context makes sense when you see the artistic design in almost every part of the Kellogg Freeway, but after repeated searches, I cannot find any reference to that motivation for building the freeway (nor can I find the message board post I read).  Has anyone else heard this, and does anyone know where I could find an article that documents this?  It may not even be true, but if it is, it would certainly make an interesting research topic.

Thank Google--I found this by accident!

http://contextsensitivesolutions.org/content/case_studies/kellogg_avenue__us_54__improvem/

To be fair, it doesn't actually say the reason the company rejected Wichita is that the highways were depressing.  Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 03:24:56 PM »

Dugan - PEC, but not 100% sure
Oliver - HNTB
Woodlawn - CFS
Rock - CFS

 :cool:

Nice!  Do you have copies of the construction plans, by any chance?
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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 04:04:14 PM »

No, I just texted my friend the question:
Do you know what firms did the following interchanges (HNTB or whoever)?: Dugan, Oliver, Woodlawn, and Rock.

And he replied within one minute.  He's a bridge engineer in Wichita, so I knew he'd have the answers.
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Ned Weasel

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Re: Kellogg Freeway History Question
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 10:08:24 PM »

To be fair, it doesn't actually say the reason the company rejected Wichita is that the highways were depressing.  Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Oh yeah!  :-P  I couldn't remember the story 100% accurately when I made the original post, although the article seems to imply that either the image of or the image from Wichita's freeways was a reason, although not the only reason.
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