Urbana drops roundabout issue at Race-Windsor intersection

URBANA — A proposal to build a roundabout at the intersection of Race Street and Windsor road is ostensibly dead following a Monday night decision to drop the issue.

A Race and Windsor roundabout is too expensive and there are too many concerns from the public, said Mayor Laurel Prussing. The city council backed her suggestion to drop the issue.

"I think we've given this pretty thorough study; we've heard from the public," Prussing said. "I just don't think it's the appropriate site for a roundabout."

In 2011, a consultant said a roundabout at that location may have cost as much as $851,000 more than if city officials just installed traffic signals.

"The bottom line is we can't afford it at this time," said Alderwoman Diane Marlin, D-Ward 7.

That intersection will still need some work. Public Works Director Bill Gray said city officials will need to figure out how to replace the failing pavement and whether to install traffic signals. That will not happen for at least a year.

Representatives from Clark-Lindsey Village retirement community, which is located on the southeast corner of the Race-Windsor intersection, welcomed the news that there will be no roundabout outside their windows in the foreseeable future.

"The overwhelming opinion of our residents is in opposition to the roundabout at Race and Windsor," said Deb Reardanz, Clark-Lindsey Village president and CEO.

She said residents were concerned a roundabout would make it difficult to get in and out of the facility. Residents spent hours studying the issue, she said, and there has been no lack of discussion.

"It is the most popular topic to be discussed at Clark-Lindsey," Reardanz said.

The city council decision on Monday ends years' worth of discussion around the roundabout proposal. It was first concerned in tandem with a discussion about a roundabout at Florida Avenue and Philo Road.

The city spent $15,000 to have a consultant study both intersection. Almost two years later, they have dropped both proposals.

Clark-Lindsey board Chairman Tom Berns nonetheless thank city officials for their careful and detailed consideration and "careful understanding" of the effect that any intersection changes have on the retirement community.

"The city spent a lot of money at looking at this intersection, and they should have," Berns said.

Gary Cziko, an avid bicyclist who has been pushing for the roundabout, said it is premature to drop the proposal without thinking about the long-term cost savings, like the removal of an expense to replace traffic signals every few decades.

"A strong majority usually opposes the first roundabout in any community," Cziko said, adding that residents usually come around after they try them.

Alderman Charlie Smyth, D-Ward 1, said he is disappointed the city has yet to find a location for a roundabout. He thinks they are safer, particularly at Race and Windsor.

"Because signals are not safer than four-way stops, and because this is such a heavy pedestrian and bicycle crossing area, I will not support a traffic signal in this area," Smyth said.

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 January 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm
Profile Picture

     The first cost of any two choices is a poor way to compare.  Life-cycle cost is the best (present value of future costs, a.k.a. net present value).  When comparing modern roundabouts to signals for a 20-year life cycle (the standard period), modern roundabouts usually cost us much less.  Costs to compare include: first cost (design/land/construction), operation and maintenance (electricity, re-striping, etc.), crash reduction, daily delay (what’s your time worth?), daily fuel consumption, pollution (generated), area insurance rates (this costs more where it is less safe to drive).  Each of these things, and others, can be estimated for any two choices and everyone near or using the project area will pay some portion of all of these costs.


More info: http://tinyurl.com/739pu3d


   The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).


  Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world.

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on January 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm

destructioneer who displays propaganda.

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on January 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

The video is completely--100%- edited to Not show the unsafe encounters between all types of vehicles and drivers.  It is a biased, edited, propagandized attempt by the FHA (who knows who else has tampered with it)  to  convince defensive drivers of the world that it saves on gas--it doesn't because the gas loss of slowed-down-yielded driving offsets what is saved from green-light/four-way gas-saving.  The safest method for all of us at an intersection are 4-way stop signs which provide/prevent the widest spectrum for safety by "stop; look; yield; listen; and respect the driver on the right".  Blowabouts will bullydrive right through a roundabout; which is why the west-coast biker wants one so he wil be able to peddle right in front of everyone instead of courteously yielding to his fellow man.  Engineers love this because it potentially provides a new source of employment!!!!!

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on January 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm

"Taxpayers of this area lack the perception to grasp the wisdom of a roundabout" is the most ridiculous, self-servng statement made so far on "all-way" intersections that include farmers, landowners as well as so-called progressives.

Progress is reflected in the Board's decision to not  agree to rural roundabouts--THAT"S

PROGRESS toward upscale farming--after all--isn't Urbana still a farming community where a farmer can still drive a tractor into town on saturday and get an ice cream cone?

Or do the progressive council members discriminatingly turn their noses up to the Farmers of this area who really work harder than all of these council members while taxing them for their use of bio fuel to produce food on their tables?

City/County engineers; pavement contractors; how much does it cost the taxpayer to pay for an intersection TWICE?  Money from IDOT/ Federal to go into the pockets of the city/county engineers to justify their lack of work?  Stop the bleeding and lay them off onto half-time jobs and leave the streets alone.