13 July 2000
Manhattan Is One Vote From Another Roundabout
By Jon A. Brake

The answer is "maybe" and that is final.
The Manhattan City Commission passed a "Request for Proposals" Tuesday night that puts a new
Roundabout at North Manhattan and Kimball just one vote away.
The Commissioners asked the staff if the city would be locked into a roundabout if they passed the
request. They were told no.
The Kansas Department of Transportation and the City Staff would like to have a "modern
roundabout" at that location but the Commissioners have been hearing from the public and do not
want to make the commitment.
The City put a "modern roundabout" (modern meaning that it is made with newer concrete) at
Kimball Avenue and Grand Mere that has all but stopped traffic. The  project has caused citizens to
call City Hall and the Commissioners to complain.
The Staff sent workers out to add three feet to the approaches but it did not help. A roundabout on
Kimball Ave. is a stupid idea. A roundabout anywhere in Manhattan is stupid. You can take an old
idea and call it modern but if slows traffic to 15 miles an hour it is still stupid.
The North Manhattan and Kimball Avenue intersection needs a lot of work. With  KDOT money a
section from Tuttle Creek Blvd west about a mile can get the needed repairs. The intersection has
needed stop lights for years. If the citizens of Manhattan can continue calling and talking to the
Commissioner about the problem it will help.
As it stands now KDOT has approved a Roundabout. The only way that it can be stopped is if the
 Manhattan City Commission vote for stop lights. As of right now the Commissioners are saying
"no" but in October they can say "yes" and it will be a done deal.
If they vote in October they will be told that KDOT, (with the money) the advisor and the Staff all feel
that a roundabout is best for the City. It will only take three votes.
In case you need it the Commissioners phone numbers are on page 4. (PS: Please don't call Riley
County, they have nothing to do with the roundabouts.)
Here is a memo given to the Commission about the intersection:

                              CITY COMMISSION AGENDA MEMO
                                          July 6, 2000

FROM: Scott Crain, P.E., City Engineer
MEETING: July 11, 2000
SUBJECT: Request for Proposals for Improvements to the Kimball Avenue Corridor between Tuttle
Creek Boulevard and Meadowlark Hills
PRESENTER: Scott Crain, P.E., City Engineer
For many years, it has been recognized that there are safety concerns with the intersection of
Kimball Avenue and North Manhattan Avenue.  Increasing traffic volumes and accident experience
warrant that this intersection be controlled in a more efficient and effective manner than the “tee”
stop sign controlled intersection that exists.  Limited sight distance on the east approach is
another factor contributing to the safety concerns at this location.
From 1991 to present, there have been 78 traffic accidents at this location that resulted in 38
injuries and 1 fatality.  In the 8 months immediately following the last discussion of this topic by the
City Commission, 9 accidents occurred 4 of which involved injuries.  Most accidents at this
intersection are of the right-angle type, including the one that resulted in the fatality.  Right-angle
type accidents can be prevented by the installation of appropriate countermeasures.
The delay at the intersection may induce drivers to take unrealistic chances in trying to maneuver
through the intersection.  The speed of traffic on Kimball Avenue also contributes to a less safe
condition.  The rate of accidents at this location is higher than expected using the City of
Manhattan Expected Value Accident Analysis.  The location of the intersection also contributes to
an unsafe condition.  It is situated at the crest of a hill.  The steep hill to the east is difficult to keep
safe during icy conditions, especially when traffic must stop.
In response to the fatality, a 1998 Capital Improvements Program citizen’s request entry was made
for safety improvements at this location.  The amount placed in the Capital Improvements Program
was $103,000.  The entry can be found in the Public Works section CIP# PW98-0573P.  This entry
was made without the benefit of an engineering analysis and was expected to cover the cost of
placing traffic signals at this location.
In 1998, the City of Manhattan submitted an application to the Kansas Department of
Transportation (KDOT) requesting funding for intersection improvements at this location from the
federal-aid Surface Transportation Program (STP)-safety program. The objective of this program is
to identify and implement cost-effective countermeasures aimed at reducing existing accident
patterns.  Recently, the KDOT Bureau of Traffic Engineering notified the City that this intersection
has been prioritized high enough to be eligible for federal-aid STP-safety funding.
Federal-aid funds are prorated on a 90/10 federal/city split.  These funds apply to construction and
inspection only.  The City will be responsible for plan preparation, acquisition of all necessary
right-of-way in accordance with federal-aid procedures, and initiating all utility adjustments, both
for the facilitation of construction and for the benefit of traffic safety.
KDOT is prepared to proceed forward with a safety project at this location.  They have estimated
federal participation at $225,000 and propose the installation of a modern multi-lane roundabout as
the most efficient and effective countermeasure for this location.
In a meeting held September 7, 1999, the City Commission indicated that they would like to have
some experience with the new modern roundabout that was to be constructed at Kimball Avenue
and Grand Mere Parkway prior to giving formal approval of a modern roundabout being the
countermeasure of choice at North Manhattan Avenue and Kimball Avenue.
The modern roundabout at Kimball Avenue and Grand Mere Parkway is complete with the
exception of landscaping in the center island.  City Staff is monitoring the new facility and will
continue to gather data in an effort to provide the City Commission with the information necessary
to make the decision whether to support KDOT’s recommendation of a modern roundabout at
Kimball Avenue and North Manhattan Avenue.
KDOT has provided the City with a timeline for constructing the improvements to the Kimball
Avenue corridor.  This timeline does not commit the City to a modern roundabout as the
countermeasure of choice.  Regardless of the countermeasure ultimately chosen by the City
Commission, it is necessary to solicit Requests for Proposals at this time in order to have a project
designed and ready to be constructed in the Spring/Summer of 2002.
City Administration is requesting that the City Commission go forward with the Request for
Proposals for this project.  This will allow the Consultant to perform the topographic survey that
will be necessary regardless of what countermeasure is ultimately selected for the intersection.
 City Administration believes it is appropriate and reasonable to select a consultant that will be able
to provide a design for either a traffic signal or a modern roundabout.
City Administration will bring forward a recommendation later this year and ask that the City
Commission provide formal direction on the countermeasure to be used at the intersection of
North Manhattan Avenue and Kimball Avenue.  This action will occur after at least two Kansas State
University home football games so that the City Commissioners and the public can assess the
performance of the modern roundabout at Kimball Avenue and Grand Mere Parkway under
relatively heavy traffic volumes.
Much of the focus for this project has been on the various potential countermeasures for the
intersection of Kimball Avenue and North Manhattan Avenue.  This project will also include
lowering of the grade at the intersection and pavement removal/replacement for the area between
Tuttle Creek Boulevard and the bridge just west of the Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community
entrance.  Storm sewer will also be improved.
This section of the Kimball Avenue corridor is currently rated as the worst stretch of arterial
roadway within Manhattan according to our pavement management program.  City Administration
has budgeted a full years worth of Special Street and Highway Funds to address this concern as
part of the project involving the safety improvements to the intersection of Kimball Avenue and
North Manhattan Avenue.
It appears the Commission has the following alternatives concerning the issue at hand.  The
Commission may:
1. Approve the recommendation to solicit proposals for the engineering design of improvements to
Kimball Avenue.
2. Deny the recommendation to solicit proposals.
3. Modify to meet the needs of the Commission.
4. Table the request.
City Administration recommends the City Commission approve the Request for Proposals, and
authorize the solicitation of proposals from engineering consultants for the design services related
to Kimball Avenue.  There has been significant study of the issue dating back several years and
interest is high in the community to go forward with improvements in the corridor.
Approve the Request for Proposals; authorize City Administration to solicit proposals from
engineering consultants for the design services related to corridor improvements along the Kimball
Avenue corridor from Tuttle Creek Boulevard to the bridge west of the south entrance into the
Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community; and appoint City Commissioner ____________ to the
Selection Committee.
1. Request for Proposals