Urbana council drops roundabout proposal

Urbana council drops roundabout proposal

URBANA — Following weeks of debate, the Urbana City Council on Monday night dropped a proposal to build roundabouts at two key intersections, but residents should expect discussions on the circular intersections to continue in to the future.

The intersection at Florida Avenue and Philo Road is now on track to receive a $200,000 scheduled upgrade to its existing traffic lights — that was the alternative to the $850,000 roundabout construction council members denied.

Nothing will happen immediately at the intersection at Windsor Road and Race Street, where officials had proposed to spend $210,000 to replace stop signs with traffic lights or spend $1.44 million to install a roundabout. But council members want city administrators to examine whether a different traffic design or a smaller kind of roundabout would move traffic more safely or efficiently there.

Roundabouts are bound to come up again at some point after city council members asked administrators to design a set of criteria to evaluate whether roundabouts would be an appropriate proposal in future road projects.

Council members ultimately said they would consider retrofitting Urbana intersections with roundabouts in the future, but the two proposals they have been discussing for months did not get their support on Monday.

The denial was issued after people with disabilities, many of whom frequent the PACE Center for Independent Living near the Florida/Philo intersection, said roundabouts disrupt the tactile and visual cues they use to cross intersections. They now have spent hours trying to convince city officials that roundabouts would be unsafe for people with physical, visual or hearing impairments.

"It is not that we don't understand about the splitter islands and the length of time that it takes to cross them," said Hadley Ravencroft, the program director at the PACE center. "We understand how roundabouts are built. It is perhaps that you don't understand more about our lives and the accessibility needs that we have. So please don't make us an afterthought."

Part of Monday's decision included council members asking administrators to include people with disabilities in their future discussions about roundabouts.

Advocates said roundabouts would indeed be safer. Over the weeks of debate, members of Champaign County Bikes have told council members that, of about 3,000 roundabouts that have been installed in the United States, there have been no fatalities among drivers or other road-users.

"It's a remarkable safety record for bicyclists and pedestrians," said Carl Stewart, vice chair of Champaign County Bikes.

Public Works Director Bill Gray reminded council members of the city's financial situation, too. The funds that would normally be tapped for roundabout construction are committed to other projects in the future.

"You've seen our capital improvement plan," Gray said. "We are in the red to the tune of millions of dollars two or three years out."

Comments

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Are you kidding wrote on February 27, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Well.....DUH!!!!!


"..... dropped a proposal to build roundabouts at two key intersections"-----it NEVER should have been brought up to begin with!!!!!


Crisis adverted, until the next lame idea they come up with.

goinfast00 wrote on February 28, 2012 at 7:02 am

I wonder where these uncited statistics come from:"of about 3,000 roundabouts that have been installed in the United States, there have been no fatalities among drivers or other road-users."

As mine come from here: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/fhwa_sa_12_005.htm

  • By converting from a two-way stop control mechanism to a roundabout, a location can experience an 82 percent reduction in severe (injury/fatal) crashes and a 44 percent reduction in overall crashes.
  • By converting from a signalized intersection to a roundabout, a location can experience a 78 percent reduction in severe (injury/fatal) crashes and a 48 percent reduction in overall crashes.

pg 136 CHAP 5 lists safety statistics :  this report claims %76 percent redcution in severe accidents

http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_672.pdf

 

There are obviously some statistics that should be verified BEFORE being placed in the N-G.

PLEASE CITE YOUR SOURCES, AND I SUBMIT TO THE N-G : VERIFY THEM........

theEd-itor wrote on February 28, 2012 at 7:02 am

Please fix the roads that are already here Ms. Prussing and Co.

As much as people in Urbana pay for taxes you would think our city streets would be in great shape.

East Main street and Florida between Vine and Lincoln has been in really bad condition for years and patching it the way you have been makes for rough rides and looks terrible.

45solte wrote on February 28, 2012 at 7:02 am

"We understand how roundabouts are built. It is perhaps that you don't understand more about our lives and the accessibility needs that we have."


Awesome statement by the PACE man. I find that it's often assumed by the learned that those who disagree with them just lack knowledge. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Based on the story; it seems that it comes down to what bike riders want versus what people with disabilities want for safety.  The other issue is the cost at this time when other projects are slated in the public's interest.  Cost plus people with disabilities safety versus bike riders?  Was it the cost, or the Disabled safety that prevented the bike riders from prevailing?  Are there that many bike riders using the Florida, and Philo intersection?  I never see them on the bike lanes on Philo Road.  Are there problems for bike riders at the Windsor, and Race intersection?  I don't know the bike riders concerns.  I do know that most people with physical disabilities cannot ride bicycles.  For this issue to re-surface again; it gives the impression that Urbana does not care about the concerns of the Disabled, and the elderly.