Prussing to ask council to end roundabout discussion

URBANA — Mayor Laurel Prussing said she expects the city council to circle the issue no more.

A recurring discussion — now approaching 2 years old — about the city building a roundabout at the intersection of Race Street and Windsor Road is expected to end on Monday night when Prussing asks city council members to drop it.

The city council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

It would be the third time within the past couple years that city officials have seriously considered building a roundabout at a major intersection before backing off.

They considered a roundabout project at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Olympian Drive before political maneuvering by the Champaign County Board forced the council to drop the proposal.

A roundabout proposal for the intersection of Philo Road and Florida Avenue was abandoned after people with disabilities who frequent the nearby PACE Center for Independent Living said it would be difficult to cross for people in wheelchairs and those who have visual and hearing disabilities.

The city council has dwelled on the Windsor-Race roundabout proposal for years. The city even contracted with a consultant for $15,000 in 2011 to study whether the special intersection would be beneficial.

The consultant said a roundabout on Windsor Road might actually double the amount of accidents — from about two to four per year — but it would lower the number of injury-producing accidents because collisions in roundabouts are less intense.

A Windsor-Race roundabout would require a larger footprint, the consultant said. It might cost $851,000 more to construct a roundabout than it would to simply upgrade the intersection from a four-way stop to traffic signals.

City council members continued to discuss the Windsor-Race roundabout proposal every few months after that. Prussing expects to bring that to an end on Monday night.

"I think there's a consensus on the council that it costs too much," Prussing said. "And we have a lot of complaints and concerns from the public, so we're just going to stop talking about it."

Comments

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parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on January 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Now that she's spent taxpayer's money on an unnecessary borrowpit; the soon-to-be ex-mayor cannot win any more votes.  She should be required by law to re-pay the consultant's fee.

pattsi wrote on January 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Clarification--the vote against the Olympian Drive/Lincoln Avenue roundabout by the County Board is not a political maneauvr. As Brendan McGinty pointed out during a county board meeting, so this is in the public record, the citizens during public meetings clearly indicated that a round about was not wanted. These are the citizens who live in the area, not the Urbana citizens who came to the meetings. Again these were public meetings so all of this is part of the public record. The CB vote was in response to the citizens not wanting the round about and pointing out the extreme cost for a "T" intersection.

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on January 14, 2013 at 1:01 pm

great point; keep up your excellent input.

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on January 14, 2013 at 1:01 pm

what about the recent CUATTS motion to adopt an area-wide roundabout policy?  This would lead one to predict a future re-nenewal of this ridiculous endeavor. 

pattsi wrote on January 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm

You are accurate that such a policy has been put in place. I attended this meeting. The take away is that there is no mandation in the policy. It does keep the possibility of conversation on round abouts open. There was expressed resistence by representatives of several entities that serve on the technical and policy committees as to the wording in the policy. This was adjusted so consideration is not required. Again all of this is in the public record.

cretis16 wrote on January 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm

WOW..how much did the city waste on these consultants? Why are we so eager to spend $$ to consultants who end up telling us what we already know? Terrific waste of money. Don't get me started on that Lincoln Square Hotel, only thing that might be a bigger waste of $$ is the Big Broadband Giveaway. Embarrassing..

bluegrass wrote on January 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm

NOOOOO.  I demand this get considered some more.  I recommend the appointment of a roundabout debate commission to make recommendations on whether roundabouts should continue to be debated or not.