Re: Robert Guiterrez’s letter of Aug. 17, “Approached the right way, traffic circles have many advantages”:
Gutierrez claimed: “Numerous studies have proven that traffic circles indeed are safer than traffic lights/signs.”
If studies on roundabout safety exist, they absolutely cannot prove that roundabouts are safer than traffic signals at all intersections. Specifically, there is no proof today that a roundabout will be safer than signals at the Southwest West Hills Road and 53rd Street intersection.
Moreover, I assert that the only traffic control system which would be more dangerous than a roundabout at that intersection would be no traffic control at all.
Gutierrez wrote: “They (traffic circles) benefit our cars, the environment and our pocketbooks (cost).”
Benton County numbers: roundabout budget, $680,000; traffic signal cost, $200,000. The roundabout costs $480,000, or nearly $0.5 million, more.
Benton County estimates annual maintenance costs of $0 for the roundabout and $2,000 for signals. If you believe Benton County’s numbers (I do not), it will take 240 years for a roundabout to be cost-competitive with a signal.
Any roundabout benefit bestowed to a car will be minimal and will be wiped out by a collision (perhaps along with the occupants).
One small effect on the environment could be this: If the roundabout’s entire surface is poured concrete, the area of ground covered by concrete will be 1,452 square yards.
Gutierrez wrote: “I would like to see ... one traffic circle on every major street.” A large roundabout at each end of his block?
Leo Quirk, Corvallis