Please don’t follow this arrow on the pavement

07/08/2014 10:01 PM

07/08/2014 10:01 PM

The problem

After informing the Watchdog about a lane to nowhere near 135th Street and State Line Road, a Kansas man got cold paws, er, feet, about pursuing the matter in public. But the Dog found this situation so bizarre that he dug into it anyway.

The specific location is the T-intersection at 136th Street at Kenneth Parkway. Westbound drivers who use 136th to leave Target and nearby stores have three lanes to choose from at Kenneth. The left lane is marked for left turns going south, and the right lane is for right turns going north.

And the center lane?

An arrow guides drivers straight ahead into a field.

“There is no straight ahead,” said our shy Kansan. “It is common knowledge of the citizenry to use the center lane as a turn lane.”

But the man really got chapped when a relative was involved in a sideswipe accident and was ticketed for an improper turn from the center lane.

“This is just another example of public authorities running amok,” he said. “It is beyond belief that the city can create a situation, allow it to exist for years and then cite and fine the citizenry.”

The answer

The Target and many other stores are on the Missouri side, but this intersection is just across the state line in Leawood. However, this is not a city street.

Instead, this is a private street maintained by the retail development in Missouri, said Leawood public works director Joe Johnson.

“I looked at the aerials from a couple of years ago and the middle lane was hatched (marked with diagonal lines) to keep cars from using the lane,” Johnson said. “Sometime after that, the developer came in and remarked the lanes.”

Johnson said the city would try to find the right person in the development group and ask for the lane to be marked differently.

The Watchdog bets that shoppers would be surprised to know they’re driving on a private street. A two-woof salute to Leawood for tackling the problem.

Do you have a problem or a question about a public issue? Write to the Watchdog, The Kansas City Star, Newsroom, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108, or send email to watchdog@kcstar.com. Include your name, phone number and city of residence.

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