Councilman Hilbert on the roundabout

Update #2 A astute reader points out: However, if you look at the AM and PM peaks, you have 255 illegal left turns in the AM and 252 in the PM, when left turns are not allowed. Look at the PM numbers. Almost all are left, northbound on Hermitage from people getting off I-64. Doesn’t change the ratio […]

Update #2

A astute reader points out:

However, if you look at the AM and PM peaks, you have 255 illegal left turns in the AM and 252 in the PM, when left turns are not allowed.

Look at the PM numbers. Almost all are left, northbound on Hermitage from people getting off I-64.

Doesn’t change the ratio of overall traffic, but that means almost 10% or AM and PM traffic is driving illegally and that’s why you have so many accidents. You put in a roundabout and the illegal left turns disappear.

It is a safety issue that no rumble strip or raised crosswalk will solve.

Does anyone actually know when which turns are illegal?


One of the worries about the proposed roundabout is the uneven traffic flow between Laburnum/Hermitage. DPW cites the numbers as 55/45 and Hilbert sites them as 66/33. Here is the PDF with the actual numbers (PDF) if you want to take a look at it yourself. It supports Hilbert’s worry:

AM peak traffic

  • Laburnum: 1883, Hermitage: 978, ratio: 66/34

Noon peak traffic

  • Laburnum: 1019, Hermitage: 655, ratio: 61/39

PM peak traffic

  • Laburnum: 2035, Hermitage: 1012, ratio: 67/33


  • Laburnum: 1645, Hermitage: 881, ratio: 65/35


This was posted as a comment on the previous post and sent to NRN from Hilbert’s council liason:

Subject: ROUNDABOUT-Please post to the community web groups

Third District residents and fellow Northsiders,

Passions are indeed running extremely high on this roundabout issue. But I would ask that we step back a moment and see how we arrived at this point. Ask yourself, why would I take on an issue which quite frankly, I could have taken a pass. The Planning Commission had approved the roundabout. It is interesting to note that the lone no vote was cast by the Planning Commission member who lived closest to this intersection (a 3rd district resident) ! The Planning Commission had the final say unless council intervened. I took the extraordinary move of introducing an ordinance to prohibit this roundabout, because, I have this crazy notion that the residents of our district who had legitimate questions deserved answers from the government to which they pay their hard-earned tax dollar. I could have taken the easy route, but I stood up and demanded answers. The answers, as you will see below, were unsatisfactory. Others have said that we should give this roundabout a chance, we can always undo it. I think we can do better: why not get it right the first time ?

Some folks are complaining about the $70,000 already spent which may not be reimbursed by the state. Is their argument that we should spend $300,000 of the states’ money on a flawed plan to save the city $70,000 ?. I think that we are all state taxpayers as well, aren’t we ? The number was $50,000 last year. The Acting CAO asked me why city personnel would continue to spend money on a project that was pending before council. I think that is an excellent question !

Please allow me to state the issues that I have with the proposed roundabout:

1) All examples of roundabouts presented to the community had significant traffic calming before the intersections. My requests to have this issue addressed were rebuffed, with statements that VDOT would not allow such measures. Then when DPW personnel got in front of the Land Use committee of council, they changed their story. Subsequently they changed it back. Avon, CO, cited in the community presentations, instituted traffic calming measures such as blinking lights and raised sidewalks, features that our traffic engineering department say VDOT will not approve. Further, bicyclists in Avon are advised for their own safety to use the sidewalk when coming through the intersection. Finally, the speed limit at the Avon, CO roundabouts is 15 MPH. Our intersection has a 35 MPH speed limit.

2) The complete lack of an education plan. There is essentially NO plan to educate the public on how to navigate a roundabout. After a dual lane roundabout was installed in Avon, IN, (different from the Colorado city cited above) the traffic accidents were up to 4 a month ! To give some perspective, the Hermitage/Laburnum intersection has 19 accidents per year. Admittedly, these accidents were not serious injury causing accidents, but I think you get my point. Avon, IN has experienced so many accidents/violations at their two lane roundabout that it has started imposing fines of $170 ! Education of the public should not be an afterthought.

3) All studies cited about this roundabout design were based either: a)
designs from Australia b) 9 years old or c) located in Avon, CO. There were NO official traffic studies done on this intersection and the roundabout was the only alternative considered.

4) According to their own estimates, DPW admits that the people in the 1600 block of Laburnum Ave. will have approximately 10 seconds to back out of their driveway during rush hour due to the removal of traffic lights. These houses do not have alleys. I suppose that they could park on the street but given the 10 second window, are they to get into their vehicle via the passenger side ? I don’t accept this as adequate and suspect that no one who faced a similar situation would think it satisfactory.

5) Roundabouts work best when the traffic flow is somewhat even and the Laburnum/Hermitage flow is 55/45 respectively, was the information given at the public presentations. However when given the actual traffic count, I found it was actually 67 to 33 (or 2 to 1–no where near even).

6) No answers were forthcoming regarding the possibility of large trucks to remain in their lane and possibly “crowding out” other vehicles inside the roundabout.

7) Numerous times the Dept of Public Works wrote or said that the city would lose this grant from the state if it weren’t used within a certain time frame. They have now admitted to Acting CAO Chris Beschler that this was untrue.

8) While I would love to leave traffic matters to the “experts,” as you can see from the above, it is difficult to rely upon the information that was given to the community when a little research has shown their information to be, at best, misleading.

Mr. Beschler has offered to host a meeting with VDOT and city personnel to explore alternatives to a roundabout. Mr. Beschler is someone who is very objective. His willingness to seek alternatives to the proposed roundabout would seem to add credibility to my concerns.

Believe me, no one wants this to be resolved more than me. But this isn’t about me. It’s about you and what we should expect from our government. I think that we got less than we deserved: a thorough analysis of how we could make this intersection safer at a reasonable cost.

Chris Hilbert

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