Northwest NEWS

September 10, 2001

Editorial

The roundabout would be more business-friendly

Mr. Korff,
   Thank you for your input. I have asked the City Clerk to retrieve and send you the meeting minutes you have requested.
   Also, the Public Works Director Mick Monken and Traffic Engineer Joseph Seet will make themselves available to discuss the details of the roundabout design and your concerns.
   Let's take a minute to orient you where we are in the process. The City Council has directed the staff to design a roundabout for this intersection. This decision was made based on the advice from engineers at WSDOT, a consulting engineer and City Public Works staff that a roundabout would be the preferable alternative at this location.
   The process will have additional steps and "touches" by the City Council before it fully commits to building the roundabout. During that design process, the Council will have opportunities to review the evolving design for safety, cost, efficiency and other issues.
   I will ask the Public Works Director to make sure that you are notified of those meetings so you can judge for yourself and speak on the subject.
   While the City Council did not come to the same conclusion that you have in its preliminary review, I think it was a fair conclusion arrived at in an open public process.
   The Council was presented with traffic modeling information that showed it will be more efficient and will last for a longer time than a conventional expansion; that there was enough room to place it without losing any businesses; that the roundabout would be more business-friendly; and that several installations had been successfully done around the Puget Sound.
   The Council was informed that some roundabout installations have had a greater frequency of accidents, but less severity because of the slower speeds through the intersection.
   This makes good design a "must." Several people appeared at stakeholder meetings and Council meetings on the subject. The response has been predominantly supportive, but not unanimous.
   The Hollywood Hills Neighborhood Assn. was supportive with the qualification that they would want to see the final design.
   A final note on the roundabout is that they are candidates for future signalization as traffic volumes dictate more intense regulation at the intersection, so the signals may come back in the future even if the roundabout stays.
   If memory serves me, the constraining factor with a conventional design on that intersection is the odd angle of the crossroads.
   It requires split phasing of the signal, which is basically stopping some movements that would not have to stop if the intersection met at right angles, so those legs can clear the intersection.
   The end result is more red phase built into the signal that results in congestion or spending the money to buy out businesses and square off the intersection.
   The City Council is also reluctant to do that because of the growing strength of our unique tourist district.
   I encourage you to meet with Mr. Monken and Mr. Seet and to become plugged into the process.
   Pete Rose, City Manager