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Round And Around In Alamo

Alamo traffic roundabout.

Plans to calm traffic sliding through leafy downtown Alamo with a roundabout, or traffic circle, are raising a few eyebrows. If Alamo goes the way of other towns and cities in the 24-680 – be prepared for a fight. The vocal majority of local drivers, it seems, just don’t feel the need to be “calmed.”

On its face that marvelous European invention the traffic circle – or “roundabout” – is a stroke of genius: taking a straight stretch of road where traffic speeds tend to be heightened and “calming” that traffic by inserting it into a (hopefully) gently circling vortex from which motorists can access intersecting roads with ease.

Alamo’s Municipal Advisory Committee, the body charged with making recommendations for improvements in the unincorporated municipality, last week approved taking an initial look at a circle for its downtown. A lovely town and a trailblazer in many ways, Alamo is not exactly leading the traffic calming charge with its tentatively planned circle – and if previous attempts to bring roundabouts to Lafayette and Moraga are to be seen as barometers, there could be rough sailing ahead in Alamo.

Alamo Roundabout

Tentative plans to bring roundabouts to an accident prone stretch of Saint Mary’s Road and Rheem Blvd. in Moraga and a heavily used stretch of Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette have been met with stiff community resistance, with residents citing concerns about everything from emergency vehicle access to, yep, being calmed in the first place.

Artist’s Rendering, right: Initial drawing for a proposed traffic circle at Danville Blvd. and Orchard Court, in front of the Alamo Plaza shopping center.

Despite some evidence to the contrary local drivers feel they’re doing just fine out there, thank you, and an uninterrupted stretch of roadway is something to be treasured and not “calmed.” We know that’s a bit of an oversimplification of the argument but you get our drift.

We’d be interested in hearing what Alamo’s residents think: if a roundabout in their future is a good idea, or a bad one. As always, you tell us…

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