Roundabout getting the flick

Josh
Josh Pennell
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What was supposed to slow traffic has increased driving risk: City

It raised more than a few eyebrows when it was first put in on Old Topsail Road and apparently it increased the likelihood of accidents instead of making things safer

A roundabout located at the intersection of Old Topsail Road and Mcloughlin Street in St. John’s failed to do the work it was intended for, slowing down drivers in the area. St. John’s City council will explore alternatives to the roundabout later this month. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The roundabout was put in at the top of Old Topsail Road at the street’s intersection with Mcloughlan Street as part of a traffic-calming pilot project that the City of  St. John’s City started in 2012.

On Monday, council voted to look at taking the roundabout out and possibly replacing it with a three-way stop.

Coun. Bruce Tilley, who represents the area, says he’s heard complaints from area residents about the roundabout.

“The roundabout at this point is very unsafe with respect to drivers going east on Old Topsail Road,” Tilley told The Telegram following Monday’s regular council meeting.

The issue with the junction is twofold according to council. One issue is that the area is simply not cut out for a roundabout.

“Roundabouts are usually on bigger streets and wider streets,” Tilley said.

Coun. Art Puddister agreed, adding that another issue is that people generally don’t know how to use them properly.

“A lot of the problem is driver education, but I think what council has learned is that you really can’t retrofit intersections,” Puddister said.

When asked why council didn’t realize that people wouldn’t be used to them and that there wasn’t enough space for one, Tilley said it was the first time the city ever constructed one so there were several unknowns.

There were also speed cushions, upgrades to sidewalks and a speed meter put in at one end of the road to notify drivers of their speed as part of the traffic-calming measures.

Despite the failure of the roundabout, Tilley said the project wasn’t a loss.

“It was a good project. It’s still a good project.”

Puddister said he figures the roundabout cost between $45,000 and $50,000 to install and will cost less than $10,000 to take out.

Instead of just voting the roundabout out to bring in a three-way stop, council deferred the decision so that the consequences of putting in a three-way stop in the area could be looked at more closely.

The police and traffic committee will meet on May 22 and discuss the issue and then the matter will come before council.

Tilley said, either way, the roundabout simply won’t be getting the hook without something being put in its place.

Council just has to look at the most appropriate traffic-calming measure to replace it with.

Anybody going through roundabout withdrawal or looking for practice on how to use one need not worry.

Puddister said there’s one being constructed in the Kenmount Terrace area and another out around Paradise where the new construction areas allow for them to be built properly.

 

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Old Topsail Road, Mcloughlan Street, Kenmount Terrace Paradise

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Recent comments

  • jane
    May 13, 2014 - 17:09

    I have lived on McLoughlan street my whole life.....and this was an epic failure. Why were they trying to "calm" a road my adding stress? This has NOTHING to do with bad drivers - it was BAD PLANNING. Ridiculous waste of money.

  • JJT
    May 13, 2014 - 10:11

    I've seen many drivers coming from Topsail Road towards this roundabout (as the person is doing in the picture above) go left into the oncoming lane at high speed instead of slowing down and going around it properly on the right. I suppose it's tough to figure out how it works when you're blasting towards it at 60+ KM/h. It seems that the patience of drivers in the NE Avalon is small and dwindling. Besides the undeniable epidemic of red light runners, there seems to be an increasing mentality that one must absolutely go around anyone who is stopped in front of you for any reason. I've almost been wiped out on crosswalks a number of times because some fool tried to pull out and go around the person who had stopped to let me cross. I heard a comment on the radio this morning that people in the bike lanes have had near misses from drivers using them as an extra lane to go around someone in front of them.

  • lambo
    May 13, 2014 - 09:55

    Almost every major metropolitan area in N. AMERICA and Europe have these installed with great success in lowering traffic accidents. From personal experience I can attest to the fact that St johns has some of the worst drivers in the country. When the locals cant use 4 way stops properly how can you expect them to use something as complex as a roundabout. LOL

    • Anne
      May 13, 2014 - 13:24

      I agree with you, but roundabouts aren't complicated, enter into it from the right, anyone already in the roundabout has the right of way.

  • lambo
    May 13, 2014 - 09:52

    Almost every major metropolitan area in N. AMERICA and Europe have these installed with great success in lowering traffic accidents. From personal experience I can attest to the fact that St johns has some of the worst drivers in the country. When the locals cant use 4 way stops properly how can you expect them to use something as complex as a roundabout. LOL

  • randy coles
    May 13, 2014 - 09:20

    put in speedhumps that will slow things down, or they damage their vehicles ...!

  • A resident
    May 13, 2014 - 08:38

    I use this area many times a day it's not that people don't know to use them the drivers here in the city of St john's are so aggressive that everyone thinks they have the right of way.I drive though this round about several times a day usually going West but when drivers are coming of topsail Rd just fly though that thinking they have right of way when they don't ,these drivers have to yeid as much as the person turning or the person coming of McLoughan St.but they don't.but then again before the city spent so much money on this why wasn't it thought though more.Also anyone who had lived there a while know the speed limit should have been kept at 30 km.it was always a high traffic high speeding zone.

  • Browser
    May 13, 2014 - 07:28

    People in this province and too stupid to know how to use them; especially baymen they can hardly know what to do at stop lights let alone a round about.

    • DARLS
      May 13, 2014 - 10:16

      Really Baymen hey...the townies are the problem and I would be willing to bet you would get accepted for Canada's worst driver...have a nice day....cheers