Roundabout at Windsor and Race would eventually cause traffic jams, plan commission says

URBANA — Reducing Windsor Road to two travel lanes and building a roundabout at its intersection with Race Street would eventually cause long traffic jams during peak hours, according to a Champaign County Regional Planning Commission study.

The data were presented to the Urbana City Council on Tuesday night as a follow-up to their more detailed discussion on roundabouts earlier this year.

City officials say Windsor Road is deteriorating badly and will need to be rebuilt — a project that is probably at least several years out — but council members in February said they wanted to consider all options as they look toward retooling the Windsor Road corridor.

One option considered was a "road diet," which would take Windsor Road's four travel lanes and reduce them to three — one travel lane in each direction and a middle turn lane. Senior transportation engineer Sharif Ullah said that would force traffic onto Curtis Road, a street unsuitable to handle urban traffic, and onto Florida and Lincoln avenues, campus routes where planners discourage adding to traffic.

Planners also looked at the effect of placing a single-lane roundabout at Windsor and Race. The regional planning commission's computer simulation of the effects was convincing — by the time the area becomes further developed and population increases toward 2040, you could expect traffic backups stretching blocks.

What the intersection could use right now, Ullah said, is a traffic signal as opposed to its current four-way stop.

Tuesday night's discussion was a follow-up to a weeks-long debate on the benefits of roundabouts. The city council earlier this year explored building roundabouts at the Windsor-Race intersection and at Philo Road and Florida Avenue.

The Philo-Florida roundabout was abandoned after people with disabilities who frequent the nearby PACE Center for Independent Living said the roundabout would be difficult to cross for people in wheelchairs and those who have visual and hearing disabilities.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

ScottRAB wrote on November 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm
Profile Picture

What was reported was incomplete.  If a proper analysis was done, the traffic engineers looked at several choices for comparison, not just one.  The different scenarios are compared to see which one has the best overall outcome.  The models are run with current and future traffic and the typical choices in this instance are:


1. do nothing = existing conditions.


2. existing conditions with signal


3. existing conditions with roundabout


4. Road diet with signal


5. Road diet with modern roundabout


The 'outcomes' include comparison of delay, fuel consumption, crash changes, construction costs and operation and maintenance, usually for a 20 year time horizon.


 

RickLanglois wrote on November 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm

"Roundabout at Windsor and Race would eventually cause traffic jams" or put another way, "Traffic at Windsor and race would eventually cause traffic jams". So a traffic jam is traffic that's not moving, right? If you out in stop lights when will traffic jams start? Seem to me traffic will stop moving whethe first light turns RED. And traffic will stop moving every time a light turns red. Wouldn't that mean a lot of stopped traffic? But if there is a modern roundabout traffic will keep moving nearly all the time. There would be very little stopped traffic ever. And there would never be a terrible crash where someone dies because someone ran a red light, would there? And if traffic gets so bad between now and 2040 that its backing up at that intersection lights can be installed, right? I've driven through roundabouts with stop lights. It's not the roundabout that cause the traffic jams - it's all the traffic that cause the traffic jams. Take your pick. Sit at red lights beginning now, or sit at red lights some day - maybe.

Eric wrote on August 24, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I thought windsor road was the new bypass back in the late 80's  and some county planner got forced to give in to to some big constrution companies.

 I am usually  wrong about that. But I remember  Windsor before it had them red lights.

I remember using Windsor as a bypass to deliver to the old Eagles  groceries store.

Again an inner city freeway has been ruined. And the average cyclist is forced to commute on a 45 mph highway that most drive 55 mph.

Going to Indiana never seen a roudabout  that was not on a 35 mph road. But  there may be some.

Look at down town urbana with out the lights right now it is wonderful no back ups at all.

Oh well what ever happened to the jug handle

:)