On April 14th, Lacombe City council heard a presentation from local resident Carolyn Cave exploring the possibility of installing a roundabout as a traffic measure at the intersection of 50 St. and 54 Ave. rather than the current plan of signalization.
Cave said that while she does believe some form of traffic control is necessary at this intersection, she feels that a roundabout is far more suitable.
“I do believe that if a roundabout was installed at that intersection, Lacombe would be a leader in this area and would demonstrate progressive thinking to solving traffic issues.”
In Alberta, said Cave, there is a tendency to believe that roundabouts have to be quite large and that deters many municipalities from utilizing them. Cave added that she and her family are all citizens of Australia where roundabouts are quite commonplace. She also said there are many different styles.
Cave then shared some calculations with council on how a roundabout with a centre concrete dome measuring 8.7m in diameter could be installed, leaving 4m around the outside of the dome to form a roundabout. She also said that this was more than adequate distance for traffic flow.
To allow for larger vehicles, such as emergency vehicles, to easily navigate the roundabout, Cave said the dome could be made of semi-mountable pavement. To increase pedestrian safety, visibility and make it easier for pedestrians to cross, the crosswalks for the intersections would also be set back from the roundabout.
Cave also spoke about the advantages of roundabouts, saying they reduce or eliminate the risk of head-on collisions, allow traffic to keep flowing even when the intersection is controlled and even allows for u-turns to be made easily at the intersection.
Councillor Peter Bouwsema said he found the presentation valuable and added he would like to see if the measurements truly are workable for a traffic circle at that location.
“It’s one thing if a passenger vehicle uses that roundabout, but school buses have to use it and probably larger vehicles,” said Bouwsema. “Would that be an acceptable option for them as well?”
Director of Infrastructure Matthew Goudy said a plan for a roundabout at that intersection had been looked at in the Transportation Master Plan, but was scrapped in favour of signalization because of costs associated with acquiring necessary additional property.
Goudy also said that it is difficult to fit a roundabout into an existing intersection and they are suited to new-build intersections. The general consensus of council was to research the plan as well as other alternatives. Council voted to receive the presentation as information and refer it to administration for additional information.