The Pueblo West View

Letter: Those roundabouts

I’ve read with some amusement the letters here, expressing concern about construction of a roundabout at Purcell and Platteville.

Writers have compared roundabouts to what they’ve seen in Australia, or to east coast rotaries.

After reading this barrage of letters, I have only one conclusion.

Folks, you really need to get out more.

There is nothing exotic or particularly new about roundabouts, at least in their modern incarnation.

They have been installed since around 1990, and there are now more than 3,000 of them in the country.

In Colorado, CDOT installed them at interchanges for mountain communities along I-70.

You don’t have to go far to see one in operation; there are at least three in Pueblo, albeit at intersections in partially built out developments, and there are two in Cañon City.

The best example of these is at 15th and Main St., just north of U.S. Highway 50 in Cañon City.

I’ve been through it a number of times, and it handles the flow of traffic off Main St., Highway 50 and the nearby shopping center quite well, with minimal delays.

Highway engineers use roundabouts in suitable situations, not to make a political statement, but because they work.

Properly sited roundabouts maintain the flow of traffic better than signals or 4-way stops, and most importantly, they reduce the incidence and particularly the severity of accidents.

You won’t get T-boned at a roundabout.

Platteville at Purcell is a dangerous intersection.

Traffic on Purcell is unimpeded and frequently flows at over the 45 mph speed limit.

Platteville traffic is not nearly as heavy, but there are a lot of left turns off Platteville, meaning that drivers not only have to deal with cross-traffic, they also have oncoming traffic that presents right-of-way conflicts.

The simplest corrective measure would be a four-way stop (something that also does not currently exist in Pueblo West).

But, four-way stops also have potential for serious accidents because of the risk of a driver running the stop sign.

Traffic on Platteville does not rise to the level that would warrant a signal, and the project would need to include turn lanes for a signalized intersection.

So, a signal would be an expensive project, and this intersection is very suitable for a properly designed and constructed roundabout.

Now, I have to agree with at least part of what a recent letter writer said.

Not about the “pile of dirt in the intersection” comment, but about the need to provide lighting and adequate warning to traffic approaching the intersection.

Rumble strips, adequate advance signage, and good street lighting will be necessary for this project, but once it’s up and running – and local drivers learn the process for using it – it will work very well. The rules for going through a roundabout are pretty simple: Yield to traffic already in the circle, and once you enter you will have the right of way. I’m pretty sure we can all figure this out.

In the 47 years I’ve been driving, there have been a number of innovations.

There weren’t single point urban interchanges (e.g., I-25 at U.S. 50 west), diverging diamond interchanges, flashing yellow left turn arrows, or roundabouts when I began.

I would hope our community can accept that there are new ways to control traffic that are superior to the options we may be familiar with.

Steve Riner

Pueblo West

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