Roundabouts and the Meadowcreek Parkway

The merits of roundabouts seem to be gaining traction in the Charlottesville area, thanks in part to efforts of groups such as the Free Enterprise Forum.  Loudoun County shows once again that it is a constant example of what we should and should not do.

On the other side, however, is a Supervisor in Loudoun County – from a Leesburg Today article by Dusty Smith

Snow seeks to defund the project, asking supervisors to send letters to the county’s congressional delegation and to the state, suggesting that the federal money be redirected to hurricane relief in the Gulf states and that any state funds earmarked for the projest be shifted to improve Rt. 50 in eastern Loudoun.

“I perceive the Rt. 50 Traffic Calming initiative to be more a convenience—a nice thing to have, nothing that’s necessary,” Snow said Wednesday. “Other people have needs.”

Efficient transportation is not a mere convenience, but one of the primary responsibilities of government. Debating the merits of throwing more money instead of solutions at the hurricane disasters is outside the normal scope of this blog. I do question however, taking money that is earmarked for a specific local project and reallocating it elsewhere for an undefined, yet-to-be-determined use.

The Free Enterprise Forum’s Review of Reasonableness states that:

Our brief assessment suggests that the 2/3-lane hybrid roundabout concept is the preferred grade concept: it can accommodate future traffic volumes, likely can be built within existing right-of-way, and is compatible with the 2-lane Meadowcreek/McIntire and 4-lane U.S. Route 250 roadway configuration.

Simple!

Again from the Leesburg Today article

“analysis indicates that at locations where single lane roundabouts have been installed there has been a 68 percent decrease in the total accident rate/million vehicles entering the intersection, 100 percent decrease in the fatal accident rate/million vehicles, an 86 percent reduction in the injury accident rate/million vehicles and a 41 percent reduction in the property damage” as a result of accidents.

How does one argue with these results? Simply put, the Charlottesville City Council and all other involved organizations should decide to move forward immediately, rather than wait for the federal money to be “reallocated.”

The FEF has done a great service both by contracting for this report and by publicizing it. Every governmental action
needs momentum; this is an excellent opportunity for the public to contact their representatives and voice their opinions (hopefully in favor of the Meadowcreek Parkway!)

Hat Tip to Road to Ruin and Neil.

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1 Comment

  1. Jeff Knowles November 2, 2005 at 22:52

    Any roundabout experts out there that would like to make recommendations on improving the two roundabouts City Council (by a 3-2 vote) has decided to remove? In the last 3 years Pleasanton, California built 6 compact urban roundabouts (per the new Federal Design Guidelines) and last month City Council decided to remove two and reconstruct the intersections at a cost of about $750,000 as standard 1-way stop controlled “T” intersections. At least one will most likely become a signalized intersection when surrounding development is completed.

    Seems a shame to spend all that money to ripe them up if there is a quick-fix to solve our single-vehicle collision problem at these intersections. We have all of the standard warning signs and markers in place, but some drivers just won’t slow down enough to negotiate the intersections!

    Just a thought.