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Author Topic: Does the Kansas Policy to Route State Highways Around Towns Kill Growth?  (Read 1084 times)

Avalanchez71

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Travelling all over Kansas one can tell where the old alignment of many routes went into town only to see the marked route veer outside of town.  This policy appears to be repeated all over KS.  There are a coupe of anomalies here and there, Phillipsburg comes to mind.  KS has a policy of turning most of the milage over to the city if I remember reading in other posts.  They seem to have taken out many Business routes.  The "new" US 400 was build with avoiding towns for sure.

I can tell you that I veered off here and there and found some really neat and unique places.  There was a really cool town off US 36 that was turned into a multi-block museum.  There is still block on the old highway through town as well.  Would you say that this policy has killed growth or even diminished the town?
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Ted$8roadFan

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Travelling all over Kansas one can tell where the old alignment of many routes went into town only to see the marked route veer outside of town.  This policy appears to be repeated all over KS.  There are a coupe of anomalies here and there, Phillipsburg comes to mind.  KS has a policy of turning most of the milage over to the city if I remember reading in other posts.  They seem to have taken out many Business routes.  The "new" US 400 was build with avoiding towns for sure.

I can tell you that I veered off here and there and found some really neat and unique places.  There was a really cool town off US 36 that was turned into a multi-block museum.  There is still block on the old highway through town as well.  Would you say that this policy has killed growth or even diminished the town?

Does Kansas mark routes going through towns as “Business 36” or “Byp. 36”? That could make a difference.
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kphoger

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AIUI, the policy in Kansas is that a state route cannot exist entirely within city limits.  I'm not aware of any policy that sends through-routes around towns.  I mean, no more than any other state builds bypasses and then signs the highway on the bypass.
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US 89

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Conclusion: building bypasses is a waste of my hard-earned taxpayer money.

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JayhawkCO

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Bluntly, the towns that Kansas is routing highways around aren't growing for a million other reasons other than the highway itself.

skluth

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All you have to do is check neighboring Missouri. The northern part of the state (north of US 36) is losing population just like rural areas of the Dakotas. Other than I-35, US 36, US 61, and US 63 which are all freeways or expressways through the region, there aren't many bypasses; younger residents are just leaving for better opportunities elsewhere.
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kphoger

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And US-60 has bypassed southern Missouri towns just as much as US-400 has bypassed southern Kansas towns:  Rogersville, Seymour, Mansfield (?), Norwood, Mountain Grove, Cabool (?), Willow Springs.  It isn't a "Kansas policy".
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Avalanchez71

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And US-60 has bypassed southern Missouri towns just as much as US-400 has bypassed southern Kansas towns:  Rogersville, Seymour, Mansfield (?), Norwood, Mountain Grove, Cabool (?), Willow Springs.  It isn't a "Kansas policy".

True and Iowa has a similar build strategy.  Tennessee has done similar routings such as US 64 going around Waynesboro without a business route.  However, there are marked business routes on US 64 for Pulaski, Winchester, and Lawrenceburg.  KS has like zero similar business routes.
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edwaleni

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Most bypasses are built for safety reasons. Some towns don't like them because they *want* traffic to pass through and frequent their local establishments.

Other towns don't want them because if they have a large number of trucks on said route transiting their town, its noisy, unsafe and wears out the streets earlier than usual.

There have been cases made that a towns' economy actually improved because the bypass allowed the building of services that couldn't exist inside the town.

One town on the future route of the I-57 extension in Arkansas lost their WalMart in town in 2019. Now they think they can get them back after the interstate is built.

One town was ecstatic when their state DOT decided to build a bypass. 2 franchise operators decided to build fast food locales on the bypass that wouldn't have built inside the town proper.

1 Taco Bell can attract a large amount of tax revenue for the bypassed town and improve employment prospects for locals.

One larger town got a Love's and the property tax alone was enough to pay for needed fixes to their elementary schools.

It simply varies depending on the towns involved.
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SkyPesos

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Indiana:
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kphoger

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KS has like zero similar business routes.

I'll grant you that they're rare in Kansas.  But certainly not zero.

US-69 Bus. — https://goo.gl/maps/n13rqb415TQ65zhF9 (Pittsburg)
US-69 Bus. — https://goo.gl/maps/utYK235duGLTP27H8 (Franklin–Alma)
US-81 Bus. — https://goo.gl/maps/LmPwgGmZwNewpjMr9 (McPherson)
US-83 Bus. — https://goo.gl/maps/o6cneyVnCMbi9JG78 (Garden City)
US-50 Bus. — https://goo.gl/maps/WJNKmCvcPpPxaVKJ9 (Garden City)

Perhaps one of the biggest omissions, in my opinion, is Osawatomie.  And old US-81 really ought to be I-135 Bus. from Newton up to Moundridge.
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Bobby5280

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There are all sorts of reasons why a state DOT would choose to build a highway upgrade as a bypass around town rather than through it, even if the finished product is an ordinary 2-lane highway.

Cutting costs has to be the biggest factor. If an existing highway segment is going to be re-built to current, modern standards it may be cheaper to route the new segment around the town rather than through it. Upgrading through town might require a bunch of property to be bought and cleared for more ROW. A bypass around town might be necessary to achieve faster design speed limits and/or reduce/eliminate traffic signals on the highway to make it more free-flowing.

A highway that bypasses a town can have fewer or no speed zones. I can't imagine anyone liking the numerous drops in speed limits one sees when following a highway into a small town. That gets really annoying if you're driving long distances on a non-Interstate type route. Some towns are known for being speed traps. 2-lane highways built to Super-2 standards going around towns can really cut down on that stuff.
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Scott5114

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I don't really think the existence of a business route really does much for a town anymore, if it ever did. If someone wants to stop in a town, they'll either be keeping their eyes peeled for a high mast sign for a McDonalds or a gas station or whatever, or else put whatever they're looking for into their satnav and follow its directions. I don't think anyone really intentionally follows a business route through town to see what's on it.

Besides, most traveler-oriented businesses will relocate to be near the bypass anyway, so the business route loses what little relevance it had. That's probably why a lot of states are quietly turning back business routes.
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Rothman

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I don't really think the existence of a business route really does much for a town anymore, if it ever did. If someone wants to stop in a town, they'll either be keeping their eyes peeled for a high mast sign for a McDonalds or a gas station or whatever, or else put whatever they're looking for into their satnav and follow its directions. I don't think anyone really intentionally follows a business route through town to see what's on it.

Besides, most traveler-oriented businesses will relocate to be near the bypass anyway, so the business route loses what little relevance it had. That's probably why a lot of states are quietly turning back business routes.
I don't know.  States where they mark them well from the Interstate may have communities that benefit from them more than others.
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pj3970

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And US-60 has bypassed southern Missouri towns just as much as US-400 has bypassed southern Kansas towns:  Rogersville, Seymour, Mansfield (?), Norwood, Mountain Grove, Cabool (?), Willow Springs.  It isn't a "Kansas policy".
While I do agree that US 60 has bypassed most of the towns in southern Missouri east of Springfield, a lot of them do have signed business routes going through town, with the exceptions of, IIRC, Seymour and Norwood. Of course that may have been changed since the last time I was up along that stretch of highway, which was about 15 years ago.
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Avalanchez71

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And US-60 has bypassed southern Missouri towns just as much as US-400 has bypassed southern Kansas towns:  Rogersville, Seymour, Mansfield (?), Norwood, Mountain Grove, Cabool (?), Willow Springs.  It isn't a "Kansas policy".
While I do agree that US 60 has bypassed most of the towns in southern Missouri east of Springfield, a lot of them do have signed business routes going through town, with the exceptions of, IIRC, Seymour and Norwood. Of course that may have been changed since the last time I was up along that stretch of highway, which was about 15 years ago.

The services have moved to US 60 for sure through this corridor.
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pj3970

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And US-60 has bypassed southern Missouri towns just as much as US-400 has bypassed southern Kansas towns:  Rogersville, Seymour, Mansfield (?), Norwood, Mountain Grove, Cabool (?), Willow Springs.  It isn't a "Kansas policy".
While I do agree that US 60 has bypassed most of the towns in southern Missouri east of Springfield, a lot of them do have signed business routes going through town, with the exceptions of, IIRC, Seymour and Norwood. Of course that may have been changed since the last time I was up along that stretch of highway, which was about 15 years ago.

The services have moved to US 60 for sure through this corridor.
Most, if not all services have moved to US 60...and I will admit that most of those towns that were bypassed have lost a lot of travelers passing through. It is ironic that when I was growing up in this part of Missouri, there was a bypass of these towns, however it did take time for everything to move out to US 60 and I think that in due time, most of these US Business 60 routes will be removed from the system, hopefully if a new interstate comes through the area, though I doubt I will be alive long enough to see that ever happening.
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Avalanchez71

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And US-60 has bypassed southern Missouri towns just as much as US-400 has bypassed southern Kansas towns:  Rogersville, Seymour, Mansfield (?), Norwood, Mountain Grove, Cabool (?), Willow Springs.  It isn't a "Kansas policy".
While I do agree that US 60 has bypassed most of the towns in southern Missouri east of Springfield, a lot of them do have signed business routes going through town, with the exceptions of, IIRC, Seymour and Norwood. Of course that may have been changed since the last time I was up along that stretch of highway, which was about 15 years ago.

The services have moved to US 60 for sure through this corridor.
Most, if not all services have moved to US 60...and I will admit that most of those towns that were bypassed have lost a lot of travelers passing through. It is ironic that when I was growing up in this part of Missouri, there was a bypass of these towns, however it did take time for everything to move out to US 60 and I think that in due time, most of these US Business 60 routes will be removed from the system, hopefully if a new interstate comes through the area, though I doubt I will be alive long enough to see that ever happening.

US 60 is sufficient and a new Interstate is not necessary for this corridor.
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froggie

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This webpage has links to several studies from several states on the economic impact of bypasses.  Skimming through a few of them, the general gist I've read is that there is little overall impact, a slight shift in retail from downtown to the bypass, and a lot of the impact depends on what the town decides to do post-construction.
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J N Winkler

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True and Iowa has a similar build strategy.  Tennessee has done similar routings such as US 64 going around Waynesboro without a business route.  However, there are marked business routes on US 64 for Pulaski, Winchester, and Lawrenceburg.  KS has like zero similar business routes.

KDOT tends to eliminate business routes because they count against the 10,000-mile cap.  As an example, when then I-35W (now I-135) was built to the east of Lindsborg in the mid-1960's, a US 81 business route was created between I-135 Exit 78 (Bridgeport) and Exit 72 (Smoky Valley Road) to serve the town.  K-4 overlapped the northern part.  About a decade ago, the southern part--not part of K-4--was eliminated.

As for Kansas' approach to bypasses generally, the only thing I can think of that might differ from other states is the policy of restricting the bypassed town to one intermediate access point.  SW 170 Ave. south of Cunningham, built when the town was bypassed by a freeway segment of US 54-400 in the early 2010's, is a classic example; it now has a Love's truck stop.
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apeman33

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Bluntly, the towns that Kansas is routing highways around aren't growing for a million other reasons other than the highway itself.

Parsons wanted U.S. 400 and Fredonia needed some sort of bypass, in both cases because neither one could really handle truck traffic on its city streets any more. But in general, no, Cunningham isn't a booming metropolis and when Kingman eventually gets bypassed, it won't be a big deal.
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rarnold

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This issue has more to do with the town's viability than the fact that the highway bypassed it. Garden City has done fine since US 50/400 and US 83 left the downtown area. In fact, it spurred growth around the bypass that would have been more difficult if those roads had stayed on their previous alignments.

The lack of a school has much more to do with a town's viability than a highway bypass.
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