In their ongoing effort to calm local traffic and keep us from smacking into one another on such a regular basis, our city fathers and mothers are at work finding new and innovative ways to save us from ourselves while making sure we and all those new drivers they say are on the way (gulp) are able to get from point A to point B – gliding like ballroom dancers across freshly paved roadways or through that most genteel of traffic calmers – the roundabout.
If you drive in the 24/680 you may have encountered one. At first glance it’s a great big swirlie intersection without arterial signals and polite admonitions to “look left” and “give way to oncoming traffic.”
Aww. How nice. There are a couple of extant local examples and, except for a few minor transgressions, drivers appear, for the most part, to navigate them relatively safely. Those in the know in Moraga may be aware of two more planned for one of their favorite country cut-throughs, er, back roads – leafy St. Mary’s Road.
On the best of days, locals who utilize St. Mary’s to sneak into neighboring Lafayette know it as a pleasant, somewhat curvy back road with cows. For others unfamiliar with its quirks, the stretch of St. Mary’s from Rheem Boulevard to Bollinger Canyon can be troublesome, with limited sight lines and a stomach-churning drop and chicane that has bagged more than one unwary traveler in its time.
Moraga has been looking for a way to make things safer in there and is currently considering placing a large roundabout at the “T” where Rheem Boulevard meets St. Mary’s and a smaller, “mini” version at Bollinger Canyon – so all those folks coming out of The Bluffs stand a chance of getting onto St. Mary’s during busy days.
Like all things Moragan these days the project is in line with the town’s current $3 Million Rule – in which everything needing repair or upgrade (sink hole, Canyon Bridge) appears guaranteed to cost at least $3 million smackers – and probably a little more.
Still, a small price to pay to ensure that traffic on a key artery in and out of town remains sedate and flowing smoothly. Right?
So, how ’bout it, Moraga. Ready for a Big ‘Bout and its Mini ‘Bout?
Not even going to address the cost but wouldn’t traffic signals be a better idea? It seems they could be installed with minimal disruption to traffic.
Maybe Moraga should save some money for more critical projects, seeing as how we (federal taxpayers) just paid to repair a sinkhole caused by deferred maintenance by the town. Judging by the number of people who cannot seem to properly negotiate the Reliez Valley roundabout, some of the money should go to remedial driving lessons. Or solving the massive fire district pension shortfall. Priorities, people.
Will the cyclists who regularly use Saint Marys — especially on weekends — be able to use the roundabouts or will they use the trail?
I personally have never seen the problem with them although we are a little more used to traffic circles than many American drivers. I have seen drivers thinking they could enter them at will cause many anxious moments when trying to enter. I personally believe they are more efficient than a traffic light.
No pedestrian crossing in this design right? I ask because Lafayette has had to take steps to enhance pedestrian security in the Olympic-Pleasant Hill road rounderbout.
I don’t see a problem with them either. The problem is those who can’t navigate them properly. Drive patiently and defensively and roundabouts are easy to navigate. If you’re a good driver.
I’ve seen several crashes at Rheem and Saint Mary’s and one or two at the bottom of the dip towards Bollinger – usually do to speed. If we’re sure the expenditure makes the road safer I would be for it.
Sharing the road and taking turns is just more socialism! When will it end?
The town that says it can’t afford basic infrastructure and just exited a fiscal emergency wants to spend $7 million on roundabouts ($7MM is in the towns capital project list…dunno where yah got $3MM, JD)? How about some more cost-effective stop signs or traffic signals if these intersections are problematic?