Letter to the Editor: On Hyping Roundabouts

Los Alamos

Recently, Councilor Kristin Henderson stated (Los Alamos Daily Post Feb. 23) that “And yes, the federal and state highway people are all good with a roundabout. New Mexico just put one in on the bypass.

There has been no roundabout put on the N.M. 599 bypass. The roundabouts are on a low-traffic, feeder road on either side of the bypass and not on N.M. 599 itself.

And while it is considering the County’s desire to have a roundabout at Central Avenue, NMDOT has long been on-record favoring a signalized intersection there.

Councilor Henderson’s statement is misleading in that it is intended to prejudice.

One might want to consider her claim that “Other communities have had these for centuries.” I don’t think autos have been around for “centuries” and horse and buggies never went much over 5-10mph.

You might also want to consider that the roundabout she claims will “flow through traffic – so we would not be stopped at a light on our way in to town” actually requires that you slow to less than 20 mph every time you “flow through” this “chicane of a roundabout.” A light would seldom require that.

A roundabout is a full-time obstacle to flow – a signal is not. Henderson claims that “nor would all the traffic from the various employees coming in to town” have to stop for a light.

Well, 60 percent of those 1,100+/hour (2010 data) vehicles with people coming into town to help it stay alive and prosper are going to have to go thru this never changing, less than 20 mph obstacle in the road on either side of which the speed is 35 mph.

A light during morning rush would almost never be red as there is practically no conflicting traffic to change the light from green.

So, while Henderson claims that “tons of places on the West Coast” are getting them (really; what’s a “ton of places”?) and, thus, we just gotta have one, it does not mean that we need one at Central Avenue and Trinity Drive.

A roundabout is touted as being much less costly to maintain than a signalized intersection. I doubt that the added cost of “art-in-public-places” has been factored in nor any yearly upkeep by Parks Division. Shifting maintenance from Public Works to Parks does NOT make this intersection maintenance-free to us citizens! Smoke!

Los Alamos citizens should call in an auto mechanic to check under the hood of yet another “lemon” the County is trying to unload on us.



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