Posts tagged ‘Roundabout’

Gearing Up For Roundabout Battle

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta is ready to fight to keep roundabouts like this one on the Can-Amera Parkway from being built along the length of Franklin Boulevard in just two years. He plans to launch his battle at Tuesday’s council meeting.

I’M BACK!

What this councilor needs to do is his research regarding signalized roundabouts, and roundabout history in general. It’s time to move forward, not sit in traffic… I’ll even give him a little push. Amazing how Google can sometimes be your best friend. I personally drive roundabouts on a daily basis as I am a delivery driver and wish there were more of them in the region. The amount of time I sit at red lights in this Region is disheartening.

The only part I don’t agree with regarding the installation of these roundabouts is the cost factor. I’m sorry to hear that the Region has put a price tag on human lives, all in the name of saving money.

Traffic signals are much more costly than is commonly realized, even though they represent a sound public investment when justified. A modern signal can cost taxpayers between $80,000 and $100,000 [U.S. $] to install – depending on the complexity of the intersection and the characteristics of the traffic using it. On top of this, there is a perpetual cost which is almost never considered – the cost of the electrical power consumed in operating a signalized intersection 24 hours a day. This now averages about $1,400 per year.

Arizona Department of Transportation

Why not pay a little bit more to save a life? This way we don’t have to repeat the tragedy that happened near St. Mary’s high school, at the intersection of Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road.

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta is mad as hell and is demanding that Waterloo Region listen to the wishes of people in Cambridge.

As council resumes after its summer hiatus, Ermeta will be bringing forward a motion to Cambridge council calling on it to condemn the region’s decision to set aside previously approved plans to gradually install roundabouts at 11 intersections on Franklin Boulevard in favour of completing all of them within two years.

“It’s very important that we fight for what’s right for Cambridge. People aren’t ready for this,” he said. “We’ve got to send a strong message to the region that we don’t want this.”

Since posting his notice of motion in July, Ermeta says he has been deluged with phone calls from people upset about the region’s plans.

“I’ve gotten overwhelming positive feedback from people in Cambridge,” he said. “I’ve even had calls from people in Kitchener and Waterloo supporting me. They aren’t fond of what’s happened with Ira Needles Boulevard.”

Another concern raised is that the volume of traffic on Franklin Boulevard may make it impossible for drivers to safely enter roundabouts from the sidestreets.

Ermeta also vehemently objects to plans to install a roundabout in front of St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.

“They installed a roundabout near St. Mary’s (High School) in Kitchener and it’s been a disaster,” Ermeta said. “I’m in favour of the status quo at Franklin and Saginaw. If anything, the lights should be extended there to give people more time to cross the street.”

Ideally, Ermeta wants Waterloo Region to go back to its original plan to install the first three roundabouts at the top of Franklin Boulevard and then take a year to evaluate.

The region initially supported that plan until transportation planning staff filed a report recommending all 11 roundabouts be installed over a two-year period to minimize disruption to traffic and cut costs. That recommendation was accepted, but the decision was far from unanimous.

“All three (Cambridge) representatives voted against the change. So did the mayors of North Dumfries, Woolwich and one of the other townships. It’s the K-W councillors that are telling Cambridge what to do.”

Ermeta’s motion calls on “Cambridge City Council to condemn the (May 16) decision made by the Council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo”.

It further asks council to request that the regional council reconsider and approve a new motion similar to the original recommendation previously passed.”

rmartin@cambridgetimes.ca

Source: The Cambridge Times

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September 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

Bearinger Road Project

Thanks to The Waterloo-Wellington Bloggers Association for pointing me towards this article.

Some much needed improvements have come to Bearinger Road recently. In 2009, the City of Waterloo applied for funding from the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund to replace asphalt, create bike lanes and a multi-use trail, and repair curbs and sidewalks where needed, between Albert Street and Westmount Road North.

Over the winter, IBI Group consultants did a thorough analysis of that stretch of the road, and confirmed that additional operational enhancements would benefit all users of this street in the long term.

The proposed improvements include:

  • constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Bearinger Road and Hagey Boulevard.
  • implementing a road-diet approach that will turn the four travel lanes on Bearinger Road between Westmount Road North to Glen Forrest Boulevard into five lanes: two vehicle lanes + two bike lanes + one turning lane.
  • creating pedestrian refuge islands at strategic locations along the corridor.

The consultants’ recommendations would enhance the work that’s already been done on Bearinger Road, not undo any repairs that have been completed. Their report looks to the future, making recommendations that will meet the needs of this road and its users until 2031.

This stretch of Bearinger Road is a four-lane road that has extremely low traffic volumes, a combination that often leads to speeding and collisions. In fact, a road of this size can accommodate up to 35,000 vehicles per day – Bearinger Road only has 8,000. A two-lane road, in contrast, can take 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles per day, which is three times its current volume.

The goal of these improvements is to make Bearinger Road safer for everyone. The roundabout, road diet and pedestrian refuge islands would make a significant difference for the people who frequent this road.

City staff are now working through a public information process to inform people about these proposed enhancements.

There is a lot of information available about this proposed project. Below, click on the fact sheet, frequently asked questions, proposed cross section illustration or panels from the March 9, 2010 open house to learn more about the proposal.

For more information:
Chris Hodgson, P.Eng.
Project Manager, Capital Projects and Services
519-886-2310, ext. 304
christopher.hodgson@waterloo.ca

March 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm 1 comment

A Traffic Fix is Coming for Preston

This is an update from a previous post regarding the Shantz Hill and Fountain Street intersection.

Options under discussion include a roundabout in front of the empty Preston Springs Gardens and road widenings. Whatever is picked as a “preferred option” will go to a public meeting in the spring, said Wayne Cheater, the Waterloo Region engineering group overseeing a $200,000 study. A meeting date hasn’t been set.

The region has $2.5 million set aside in 2013 for road work in the area. According to Cheater, “the historic properties constrain us. The slopes are still there. The river is there. The railway is there.” This is obviously a dilemma, and will take some very imaginative designs to make this area work. From 2003 to 2007, regional staff say 202 collisions were reported in the study area. That’s more than double the 79 traffic computer models predict should have happened if there weren’t problems.

At the northeast corner, Faisal Susiwala proposes a commercial-condominum-hotel project on the former site of the Kress hotel. He was unavailable Tuesday to comment on the status of the project. Kitty corner is the historic Preston Springs Gardens, which has sat vacant for two decades after it closed as a retirement home. Aborted redevelopment plans ended up in legal spat that’s taken years to sort out. No plans are imminent for the landmark building, said Alan Hodge, a spokesperson for redevelopment there.

Source: TheRecord.com and Region of Waterloo

February 11, 2010 at 12:16 am Leave a comment

Overpass and Roundabout a GO-GO at Hale & Trafalgar Intersection

Board of control unanimously recommended Wednesday morning the proposed construction of an overpass at the Hale-Trafalgar intersection, a project that could start within weeks.

About 23,000 vehicles cross the intersection of Hale and Trafalgar streets each day, according to the city. The multimillion-dollar project will include a roundabout, a first for a major London intersection. The city is building the $16.3-million overpass to ease traffic tie-ups where the two streets meet the CN tracks. It will feature a traffic roundabout, a first for a major London road.

That report recommends the city award the construction job to London company McKay-Cocker, which came in at the lowest of four bids — about $10 million for its part of the project. Most of the rest of the project’s costs are for engineering and land purchases.

If council approves the contract at its meeting Feb. 1, construction could start as early as Feb. 15. Pat McNally, the city engineer, said he expects the project to be completed by March 31, 2011.

Stage 1, from February to roughly June:

  • Hale north and south closed at the CN crossing.
  • Hale and Trafalgar on south side of tracks closed.
  • Trafalgar eastbound closed to Hale.
  • Trafalgar westbound to Hale northbound changed from one way to two-way to allow traffic.

Stage 2, from June to roughly end of November.

  • Link from both Hale and Trafalgar on north side will also be closed to all but local traffic; westbound traffic on Trafalgar will be redirected south on Clarke Rd. to Highbury Ave.

The city wants the asphalt laid by November so the project is completed by the March 2011 deadline for federal infrastructure money.

About 30 property owners had to sell their property for the overpass to be built. All but two have agreed, with those two going through expropriation.

It’s about time this extremely confusing intersection gets a roundabout! It was a ripe candidate.

Source: LFPress.com and LFPress.com

January 30, 2010 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Waterloo Region is a Leader in Roundabouts

We’re leading the way as modern roundabouts sprout across Ontario.

The Bridgeport roundabout opens this fall at Bridge and Lancaster streets in Kitchener. Cambridge has a new roundabout at Pinebush Road and Thompson Drive.

Planners are expanding traffic circles onto local streets. Examples include a mini-roundabout at Margaret Avenue and Union Street in Waterloo, a roundabout to improve circulation at the Conestoga Mall in Waterloo, and a small circle opening this fall on West River Road in Cambridge.

Before 2009 ends, there will be 13 high-volume roundabouts on local commuter roads, plus other circles on quieter streets. More roundabouts are planned.

Source: TheRecord.com

October 8, 2009 at 2:04 am Leave a comment

Q & A: Roundabouts in the Region

Here’s a good little interview between local resident Lorraine Green of Kitchener and Steve van De Keere, head of transportation expansion for Region of Waterloo.

Green:

Our roundabouts are too small and have too tight a turning radius. Even in Italy with its small Fiats, I didn’t find them so tight. It means a tendency to overcorrect when coming out of them.

Van De Keere:

Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Research shows that larger roundabouts with “relaxed” geometry tend to experience more injury crashes, primarily because they do not adequately control the speeds of entering vehicles. The region is reviewing the exit geometry for future roundabouts, to make it easier for motorists to exit properly, and to assist snow plow operators.

Green:

The centre circle has been planted in most roundabouts, obscuring the view of what’s coming at you as you want to enter. I’ve been nearly hit twice already as I tried to enter thinking nothing was coming, and then had a car appear from nowhere around the circle.

Van De Keere:

Tree and shrub plantings are necessary to make the central island more visible to drivers, especially at night. This increased visibility helps reduce occurrences where unfamiliar drivers are surprised by the roundabout, and fail to slow adequately. Height restrictions on plantings ensure there’s enough visibility for a driver to make the decision to go or not. Too much visibility can encourage aggressive driving.

Green:

Curbs protrude as you come out of a roundabout, making people tend to swerve into the adjoining lane. The ability to come out of the roundabout should be more gradual, allowing one to exit more smoothly without a drastic slowdown.

Van De Keere:

The region is reviewing the exit geometry for future roundabouts, to make the curvature more gradual.

Green:

The necessity to merge after exiting is too short a distance and too abrupt. As more traffic uses roads like Ira Needles Boulevard, there will be crashes as more people try to merge or wander across a lane.

Van De Keere:

Merging on the exit at a roundabout is actually much easier than on the exit from a traffic signal. But some local drivers are apprehensive. At a roundabout, this merge occurs at a much lower speed. Also, vehicles entering side-by-side at a roundabout tend to stagger as they go through. This creates natural gaps, to allow merges to occur easily. To address local apprehension, the region is reviewing the merge length on the exits for future roundabouts.

Source: TheRecord.com
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Now playing: Strung Out – Andy Warhol
via FoxyTunes

October 8, 2009 at 2:00 am 1 comment

Franklin Boulevard Roundabouts

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

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


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