Letter: Roundabout just doesn’t add up as the best choice for cost, safety

2012-09-26T09:00:00Z Letter: Roundabout just doesn’t add up as the best choice for cost, safety Corvallis Gazette Times
September 26, 2012 9:00 am

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

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(7) Comments

  1. GoQuietly
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    GoQuietly - September 29, 2012 11:59 pm
    Curious One I was referring to your comment about "if people left five minute earlier...", it is seriously not about waiting no matter how many cars are there!!! What you are not counting is the cars that sneek out of Grand Oaks via Cherry to 53rd, that will stop doing once some kind of traffic control is placed at 53rd & West Hills. Of course there are many stop signs in Corvallis, the issue at this particular intersection is first, the inequity of the traffic 53rd produces several cars going 35 miles per hour while West Hills produces much less going 25 miles per hour. Then there are the blind spots created by the left hand turn lane, plus the bicycles that are supposed to stop on the bike path but don't, pedestrians crossing 53rd with no official crossing, etc. Neither you or TheRealJules travel this intersection on a daily basis, especially crossing 53rd, so don't spout your insults until you have lived it!!!
  2. curious one
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    curious one - September 29, 2012 12:33 pm
    Gee, GoQuietly, too bad you don't bother to read. If you had, you would have noticed the comment was about how do you keep people from being dumb and doing things that get them into accidents (with or without a roundabout). You would also have noticed (but then, you would have to read) there were comments about the upkeep on a roundabout, and the decreasing need for anything there.

    Just for general information, I was by there at "traffic" time yesterday, one care was waiting on either side, and got onto 53rd rather quickly. Do you have any idea how many areas in this county have stop signs? You might try a tour and then count. Do you want a roundabout on each cross road? There is a point when people have to use their brains and when they see that red sign with the 4 letters on it, just do it, and then proceed when it is safe. You know, like you do when you see a deer close to, or on, a road!
  3. GoQuietly
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    GoQuietly - September 28, 2012 10:26 pm
    OMG I have to laugh, I clicked on these comments knowing that TheRealJules and Curious One would undoubtedly be responding with their oft repeated but oh so incorrect assessment that the problem is waiting.....so I will spare you my repeating that it is not about waiting it is about safety....oops guess I repeated it afterall ;-)
  4. curious one
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    curious one - September 27, 2012 9:42 pm
    There is no guarantee a roundabout will stop people from getting into accidents. If they are dumb enough to pull from a side street into traffic and get hit now, what's going to make them suddenly smart?

    Upkeep on a roundabout is not zero, there is resurfacing of the extra amount of roadway, the striping every year (more paint/time), plants and any damage caused to the roadway by those who don't avid accidents.

    Traffic is down there due to the signal at reservoir road, so we have less need for anything now than we did before. If the city has better bus service, there will be even less need, and if folks would leave home 5 minutes sooner, everyone could play it safe at the stop signs!

    How do we spend that kind of money, then cry wolf and say we must have a levy passed to get police protection?
  5. econoline
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    econoline - September 27, 2012 12:50 am
    While the cost might be higher to the city the fact that the roundabout will have fewer accidents is key. Everytime a car isn't damaged or a person isn't hurt it saves our community money. One or two serious accidents avoided easily pays for the cost of the roundabout.
  6. peppertree
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    peppertree - September 26, 2012 4:44 pm
    "Benton County estimates annual maintenance costs of $0 for the roundabout and $2,000 for signals."

    I don't believe this claim, either. How do they think the plants in the middle of the roundabout will be maintained? By unpaid volunteers?
  7. TheRealJules
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    TheRealJules - September 26, 2012 3:47 pm
    Once again, here's this deliberate confusion between roundabout and traffic cirle.

    If there's a danger at that intersection now, it's because people who think they deserve the right of way entering a main road from a side street don't want to wait.

    That's the attitude that going to cost us $680,000 needlessly. We've got plenty of money to build this thing, but not enough for law enforcement so we must have a new levy. How stupid.
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