Franklin Boulevard Roundabouts

December 5, 2008 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

OK, so don’t think I haven’t been paying attention to all the news regarding this controversial plan. I just didn’t want to wade in until I knew the facts from both sides. It seems though that the residents of Cambridge once again, are unanimously choosing their most beloved possession, the automobile. An informed citizen, Dennis Bell, is quoted as saying, “If they go ahead with this I’ll quit driving.” OK, THANKS! One less driver on the road!

It is not the best plan in my opinion either, but the only reason I say that is for future transit projects such as a Light Rail Transit line or Rapid Bus Transit, it may have an impact. There would be an easy solution though – simply go through/overtop and have a centre lane designated for public transit.

 

Here’s the lovely news article that is oh-so-informing:

October 28, 2008

Waterloo Region’s vision of turning Franklin Boulevard into a series of roundabouts got a rude awakening by city residents last Thursday night.

The controversial plan calls for all but one of the dozen traffic lights on the major arterial road to be replaced by large roundabouts.

Should the region go ahead with its plans George Moore stands to lose the house he has built and has lived in since 1966.

“There just isn’t the room there to do what they want to do,” he said. “They’ll have to go over the house and take the half acre of land we’ve got.”

Moore, like fellow residents, was not happy with the proposal.

“This money would be better spent fixing our infrastructure,” Walter Giancomini said. “They’re doing it for industry so its easier for them to get around.”

Giancomini said Franklin Boulevard’s main problem is truck traffic and called the roundabout solution “bad planning”.

Retired trucker Clay Chappell likes roundabouts but said planners in Waterloo Region should be taking notes from designers in the United States.

“They aren’t a bad idea, but the diameters are too small and the area is too built up,” he said. “What they are doing here is trying to stick a round peg in a square hole.”

Another problem Chappell sees is pedestrian use.

“My 81-year-old granny and her walker would never be able to cross the street without getting hit. I don’t know what they are going to do about all those kids at St. Benedicts. I think they are going to need a walkway over the road.”

Chappell believes the plans for Franklin Boulevard will go ahead no matter what is said, but before they do changes should be made to Cambridge’s existing roundabouts. He said the westbound ramp onto the roundabout at Conestoga Boulevard off Can-Amera Parkway is too short and the earth mounds in the middle of all of the Can-Amera roundabouts are too high.

“They should be much lower, so you can see across them and see what traffic is coming,” he said.

Dennis Bell drives about 50,000 kilometres per year for a local car dealership. He likes roundabouts in theory, but not what he sees in Cambridge.

“If they go ahead with this I’ll quit driving,” he said.

Like Chappell, Bell said the current roundabouts need to be fixed first and a public education program is needed.

“The problem here is two fold,” he said. “First, you have all the Cambridge drivers that have been flaunting the rules for years and then you’ve got all the people that have moved in from Toronto who are used to driving far more aggressively. It can be a dangerous mix, especially with the roundabouts.”

Bell said the roundabouts will keep traffic moving until there is an accident then traffic will be gridlocked in all directions. As for the idea of having pedestrian crosswalks at each roundabout, Bell said: “That’s insane, someone’s going to get killed.”

Bell said region planners believe roundabouts are a magic bullet for Cambridge’s traffic woes.

“This is a cop out,” he said. “Roundabouts are not the be all and end all.”

Another concern was expressed by Chuck Zukowski, of Zico Ltd., which owns the strip mall at Pinebush Road and Franklin Boulevard. As part of the plan a raised centre median would be installed that limits traffic to right turn in and right turn out of driveways.

“It’s not going to help business,” he said. “If people can’t get to us, they aren’t going to go down the block and turn around, they are going to go someplace else.”

Franklin Boulevard project manager Marco Paranosic told the public meeting: “Doing nothing is not an option here, something has to be done.”

Paranosic told the 80 people attending the open house the petered option developed by the planners after months of study and input given at a previous public meeting is a hybrid between keeping the intersections and introducing roundabouts. The only signalized intersection retained in the preferred plan is at Robson Street and it would act as a control to create gaps in traffic to allow pedestrians to safely cross the roundabouts.

Paranosic said that if the intersections were left in place Franklin Boulevard would have to be widened to six lanes from Pinebush to Avenue roads, while no widening would be needed with the roundabouts.

If the plans are eventually approved by regional council construction would likely not take place until 2012.

 

Source: Cambridge Times

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Entry filed under: Cambridge. Tags: , .

Global Domination Suburbian Development Nixed

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