Monday night’s council meeting saw lengthy debate over the effectiveness, cost, and benefits of two roundabout intersections on 32nd St. at Spruce Dr. and one at 32nd St. and 40th Ave.
Council ultimately voted against the proposed roundabouts at both of these intersections.
During the meeting, councillors heard from Engineering Services Manager Frank Colosimo who said extensive research had been done in the viability of a roundabout option instead of a traditional signalized intersection.
“One thing we found about the roundabout improvements was that roundabouts work better than a conventional intersection because of a few key turning movements that failed at the traditional intersections,” said Colosimo.
However, the concern of many councillors was safety as well as whether or not there would be a cost savings if the City were to go ahead with the roundabout option.
Colosimo did explain that there would be a long-term benefit of roundabouts functioning better at the 110,000 population mark for the City but that after that point other changes would need to be made.
“Somewhere between the 110,000 and 180,000 population mark a roundabout and a traditional intersection would both fail without other improvements to the roads. But a roundabout failure would be worse.”
Colosimo explained that the line up of cars for a roundabout versus a traditional intersection would be almost three times as long if the intersection were to fail to uphold the traffic capacity.
City Manager Craig Curtis said one of the things he saw being a hazard was the loss of a crosswalk at 32nd St. and 40th Ave.
There would be no way to signalize a crosswalk at a roundabout style intersection, making it a large issue for many of the councillors.
“I appreciate the work done by the department in finding that roundabouts would work but I just don’t see them in these locations,” said Curtis.
Colosimo did say, however, that roundabouts are actually proven through research to be safer intersections.
“We were able to compare the number of collisions as well as the severity and found that there are no right angle collisions, instead they’re lower impact side swipe type accidents where fewer injuries result,” said Colosimo.
Council ended up voting against the roundabouts in these locations but Curtis said with the time and effort that was put into the study of the roundabouts that they could potentially be established elsewhere in the City.
“We would have to educate the public before implementing any roundabout because perception is that people are not ready for roundabouts,” said Colosimo.