City engineers laid out their case to build a roundabout at Portobello Blvd. and Valin Street during an open house at the South Fallingbrook Community Centre on Jan. 16, and they were immediately met with resistance on the part of local residents who believe it will create an unsafe environment for pedestrians – especially children.
The intersection currently has a four-way stop sign, but increased traffic volume over the past several years has led to the need for either traffic lights or a roundabout.
Traffic lights maybe safer for children and other pedestrians, but it would create long delays for traffic approaching Portobello Blvd. along Neptune Drive and Valin Street.
A roundabout would make it easier to maintain traffic flow, however, parents are worried that it would create a dangerous situation for pedestrians and especially children.
Staff at the open house tried to allay their fears by explaining that the roundabout would be one lane only.
Traffic approaching the roundabout along Portobello from the north and south would be forced to merge into one lane and then proceed through the roundabout at a reverse speed.
Signage would be erected to alert drivers to the fact that pedestrians have the right-of-way.
Pedestrians would then be able to cross the roundabout one lane at a time and they would only have to worry about traffic coming from one direction.
At the current four-way stop, pedestrians must cross four lanes of traffic while worrying about cars coming from north and the south and turning right and left.
The city currently pays for crossing guards at the intersection in the morning and afternoon. Those crossing guards would remain in place if a roundabout is built.
Another measure that could be put in place are flashing lights at both the north and south approaches to the roundabout along Portobello as is currently the case at the roundabout at Trim and Dairy Drive which doubles as the entrance to the Park and Ride.
Cumberland Ward councillor Stephen Blais says that the flashing lights will be considered as part of the current study.
Another traffic calming measure would benefit people riding OC Transpo.
Blais wants the transit service to move the bus stops to just before the pedestrian crossings at the roundabout so that they would block the traffic coming from behind them and allow passengers to use the crosswalks in complete safety.
The roundabout, without the flashing lights, will cost an estimated $2.8 million, which would be paid for through develop-ment charges. The flashing lights would cost an additional $70,000 to $80,000.
The City's planning department will take the comments provided by members of the public and present them to the Transportation Committee at a later date.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)