Not every Wichita intersection is created equal. While most are just a standard inconvenience, there are some that stand out for their compounding annoyance to us all. The causes could be the amount of traffic that flows through, the design of the intersection or that drivers tend to disregard traffic laws at them. Whatever the case may be, here is our list of Wichita’s most annoying intersections.
Kellogg and Webb
Thankfully in a few years, this won’t be an intersection at all, but for now, it’s an absolute mess. As the Kellogg expansion continues, irritating intersections like these going east to Andover will continue to be a thing.
The big annoyance right now is the construction and the prohibition on left turns onto westbound Kellogg. This causes drivers to either disregard the sign and turn left anyway or try to use the nearby Hawthorne Suites as a makeshift roundabout. Some cars just sit in suspended animation not knowing what to do. That really gets the horns-a-honkin’.
All K-96 East Intersections
It’s difficult to pinpoint just one of the six north-south K-96 intersections east of I-135 that causes the most frustration. There is often a glut of traffic at each and frequent accidents backing things up. But the biggest complaint are the seemingly endless traffic signals.
The standard wait on a red light is supposed to be less than two minutes. But drivers will swear up and down that they’ve waited upwards of five minutes at these lights, even while no traffic is coming in either direction. With the way a lot of Wichitans drive, there doesn’t need to be another excuse for reckless behavior like running an interminable red light.
Douglas and Washington
This is another intersection that’s currently undergoing a facelift, which doesn’t help matters at all. Every day and night this is one of the busiest corners in town, but it’s beset with nearby commercial entrances that constantly back things up.
Drivers trying to get to the QuikTrip or into Old Town having to stop and wait for traffic or pedestrians before they can turn or drive on have raised more than one middle finger over the years. And hopefully this changes soon, but can anyone explain why there is no left turn lane on Washington yet?
Any without a Left Turn Lane
That brings me to a more general point – intersections without a left-turn lane that clearly need one are a menace to our society. Recently I was driving downtown when a driver who was apparently tired of waiting on someone in front of her to turn left at the light quickly darted over into the right lane in order to make the green light. The only problem was I was passing by in the right lane at that exact moment and she totaled my vehicle. If there had been a left turn lane, the accident could have been avoided.
I understand drivers will get impatient, and in retrospect (after her insurance paid for my vehicle) I can’t totally blame this woman for her mistake. No one wants to wait behind someone turning left, especially if it means they’ll have to keep waiting at a red light after the person finally turns. If the city council wants to bring down the blood pressure of every driver just a little bit, look for ways to implement more left-turn lanes at busy intersections.
Central and Rock
Speaking of busy intersections, Central and Rock probably wins for the busiest in town. Combine that with a lot of commercial drives surrounding it and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
The speed limits on Rock and Central are 40 mph, which means east-siders will frequently be plowing along at around 50 mph. Not good when there are 800 people trying to get a chicken sandwich from the Chik-fil-A drive-thru and the line of waiting cars is spilling out onto Central. If you’re trying to head west on Central out of the Dillon’s parking lot, good luck. You’ll have to cross three lanes of busy traffic first. If this intersection were a video game it would be called Human Frogger.
Kellogg and Seneca
I’ve seen some of the strangest accidents at this intersection. More than once I’ve seen cars flipped over, smashed into pieces or up on the grass stalled out. It makes no sense. Add in that sneaky little loop that goes around to Sycamore St. that forces drivers to criss-cross each other on the Kellogg entrance ramp and you have a lot of irritated people trying to navigate through.
Another frequent backup in this little area are northbound drivers turning left onto W University St without (you guessed it) a left-turn lane. Often the southbound drivers will leave space to turn while waiting on the light, but it’s not a given. Just getting through the two-light ordeal can take upwards of 10 minutes. Barf.
The Downtown Gauntlet
Anyone who frequently drives through the heart of Wichita knows The Downtown Gauntlet well. Traveling east or west, it’s the run of streets between Waco and the train tracks that mean you will probably have to stop several times in quick succession.
If you’re heading east on 1st through downtown, you might as well put on your favorite sing-along song in the car to calm you down in advance because you’ll be coming to lights every six seconds at Main, Market, Broadway, Topeka, Emporia and St. Francis. Add in the random assortment of people crossing streets irrespective of crosswalks or traffic lights and the gauntlet is set. Only once have I ever made it through the Gauntlet without having to stop and there may or may not have been some liberties taken to do so.
What are your most annoying intersections in Wichita? Feel free to share this article and post in the comments.