Third District City Councilman Chris Hilbert has issued a statement to North Richmond News about the proposed traffic roundabout at Hermitage Road and Laburnum Avenue: There has been a lot of discussion over the past months regarding a proposed traffic roundabout at the intersection of Hermitage Road and Laburnum Ave., when the A.P.. Hill Monument and […]
Third District City Councilman Chris Hilbert has issued a statement to North Richmond News about the proposed traffic roundabout at Hermitage Road and Laburnum Avenue:
There has been a lot of discussion over the past months regarding a proposed traffic roundabout at the intersection of Hermitage Road and Laburnum Ave., when the A.P.. Hill Monument and grave site reside. It is a good thing that the city administration is looking into ways to make this difficult intersection a safer place to travel. The traffic engineering department was invited on multiple occasions to come to the 3rd District held on the fourth Wednesday of every month, but declined. To their credit, the traffic engineering department held two meetings in the community and went before the Committee of Architectural Review and the Planning Commission. On July 7th, the Planning Commission gave its final approval with one dissenting vote, which came from the Commissioner who lives two blocks from this intersection. Despite these hearing and forums, people who had attended several or most of these meetings, told me that their questions were not being addressed or being treated in a dismissive manner. Some of the folks that approached me have been formally trained in these matters.
It was at that time that I intervened and introduced an ordinance to prohibit the roundabout at the end of the July 14, 2008 City Council meeting. Even before it was introduced, during the Council meeting, I wrote an email to the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer over Public Works and copied the Presidents of the 3 civic associations that surround this intersection informing them that this action was taken not because I was necessarily opposed to the roundabout but that citizens still had legitimate questions about it.
School Board member Carol Wolf has said that her questions were responded to by the traffic engineering department. I am glad that happened and hope that continues to be case for all citizens. However, it is important to note that her questions were not responded to until after the Ordinance prohibiting the roundabout was introduced.
People who are raising questions about this issue are being labeled as opponents of this project. I disagree; we are simply seeking answers. In this particular case, there are 3 civic associations which abut this intersection and there is not uniformity in their opinions. Bellevue Civic Association has given their full support for the project as currently proposed. Rosedale Civic Association has stated support for the project “provided that it has been well and thoughtfully prepared.” Finally, Ginter Park Residents Association has not yet officially taken a position on this matter.
As a Council representative, it is my duty to make sure that our city government is responsive and accountable to its taxpaying citizens. It was my responsibility to step in when my constituents’ legitimate questions were going unanswered. Some feel that they have sufficient information and are supportive of this roundabout. However, today, I am not there. Here’s my pledge to you: if and when convinced of the roundabout’s merit, the ordinance that would prohibit this roundabout will be withdrawn.