A roundabout solution Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Mar 14, 2008 at 8:12 am
The county has helped the traffic problems in Alamo by adding the island just north of downtown, the pedestrian-activated flashing lights at Jackson Way, and a second lane to turn left from Danville Boulevard onto Stone Valley. Now it's time to tackle the confusion caused by 12 driveways plus Orchard Court and Jackson Way feeding onto Danville Boulevard. This situation is not only bad for traffic; it is dangerous.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 14, 2008, 12:00 AM
Posted by Oxymo Ron, a resident of another community, on Mar 14, 2008 at 8:12 am
The tired argument continues for a completely silly lack of solution created by a roundabout. The Alamo Improvement Association once again proves that it is out of step with the majority of neighbors and their neighborhoods in our region. All the quoted references have been previously discounted and safety will be the issue for drivers and even greater for pedestrians.
This oxymoron of claimed efficiency and safety is one more failure that has eliminated the AIA from majority interest and support in Diablo Vista (Alamo) neighborhoods. Most dissappointingly, it illustrates the special interests of the handful of self-designated Alamo community leaders.
Former Supervisor Greenberg and CCC Public Works has been provided a plan to remove Danville Blvd in the Business District. Renovations of the business district to a MALL with well-planned access lanes provides pedestrian safety and makes Alamo shopping a destination and not a commute corridor.
Let's not continue silly consideration of roundabouts!
Posted by Lisa Wright, a resident of another community, on Mar 14, 2008 at 8:25 am
Posted at the request of the author
The self-proclaimed leaders of Alamo, as a handful of less than 90 active participants, are at it again with their roundabout political support of a roundabout. This handful simply refuses to acknowledge any plans or positions of the majority in our Alamo region and continues their own self-appointed positions on planning.
Repeatedly, this handful ignores logic and continues their own views and special interests. God help us if we ever let them form a government in our region.
Posted by Kathy Bell, a resident of another community, on Mar 14, 2008 at 9:03 am
This morning, by e-exchange distribution, the background study references for roundabouts were circulated for neighborhood review and commentary. In the various insurance studies of long-term placement of roundabouts in communities, the local drivers eventually develop the ability to navigate the confusing flow patterns and access/exit routines. Further studies by various States' highway groups illustrate the danger created by the difficult learning of access/exit methods within these "holdover concepts from horse and buggy days." As you review the studies, you will note that drivers not familiar with the roundabout access/exit routines contribute to the accident statistics including significant injury to pedestrians.
As you review the Alamo MALL concept referenced in the e-exchange, you will note that the access lanes are separated into single lane flow in one direction and multiple placement of access lanes create specific access and exit within the MALL. Most importantly, the safety of pedestrians is paramount in the design and afforded by access lane crossings at convenient intervals and controlled by caution lights and warning horns. The preliminary renovation plans for the Alamo business district are included for your review.
Please review these study references carefully and develop your own position on resolution of Danville Blvd in our region. Be sure not to simply focus on the Alamo shopping center because a significant danger is being created now at the Hemme intersection as SRV YMCA imposes its unwanted commercial facilities on that neighborhood. The problem of Danville Blvd is throughout the length of Danville Blvd in our region.
Iron Horse neighbors are now gathering concerns and commentary regarding roundabout placement in our region. A casual discussion group is planned in March and will be used in preparation of formal position by region counsel committee members for submission to the county.
Careful consideration is needed,
Iron Horse neighbors
Diablo Vista region
Posted by request of Iron Horse neighbors from firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Vince Kreigher, a resident of another community, on Mar 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm
Let me take you back to when the silly subject of roundabouts first appeared in Alamo's shopping district. We, in the Alamo Towne Fool, humorously determined we should support a roundabout with options for other solutions.
Our roundabout would start south of Danville and go out through Blackhawk. Then it would circle through Walnut Creek and return through Lafayette and Moraga via Bollinger Canyon Road.
Our first option was the fourth bore of the Caldecott tunnel to be drilled under Alamo north to south and all Danville Blvd traffic would be routed in the tunnel.
Our second option was to remove Danville Blvd and replace it with a canal for gondola traffic.
Our BEST option was to convert Danville Blvd to Tree Museum Blvd and make it a toll road.
Our problem with our proposals was people were already laughing at the concept of a roundabout in the shopping area and no one would take are more earnest humor seriously.
Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 14, 2008 at 7:19 pm
A traffic roundabout might make sense in certain areas such as the intersection of Walnut Avenue and Oak Grove Road in Walnut Creek. That is a residential area but has a high traffic volume. It does not, however, have any significant "feeder" lanes near it.
The situation is dramatically different in down Town Alamo - there are a very high number of lanes from the shopping areas that feed into both sides of Danville Blvd. I question whether or not the roundabout will act as a "drip brewer" for traffic. Will it provide a constant drip, drip, drip of traffic and therefore not provide any breaks or gaps for traffic to enter Danville Blvd. from the shopping areas?
Properly designed, the roundabout may offer better safety for pedestrians who cross there. But pity the poor pedestrians who will try to cross both upstream and downstream of the roundabout - there may not be any gaps for a long time...
I'd like to see a couple of examples of successful roundabouts that have been placed in a busy shopping area with many feeder lanes like we have here.
Posted by Debra Collins, a resident of another community, on Mar 15, 2008 at 8:45 am
Alamo Ron and Oxymo Ron are laughing at the subject of roundabouts with appropriate recognition of how silly the idea has become. We have enjoyed such silliness among our humorists but we should not enjoy such silly thoughts from the people we selected in the AIA to reflect our needs and interests to regional governments and districts.
The many e-exchanges since yesterday recognize that it is time to reconstitute the AIA with a new board and charter, new committees and a point of view more specifically matching the advisory of a majority of neighbors. We must definitely make sure that the current AIA approach is not imported into any successful formation of local government.
Please consider referencing this website for the questions and answers used to promote traffic roundabouts. The specific issues recommended for your consideration is the size of land required, the need for uniform traffic flow, the issues of proximity to a stop light intersection, and the nature of pedestrian safety.
After review, please post your comments and concerns.
Posted to Diablo Vista region e-exchanges via email@example.com
Posted by Clark Bentley, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm
As part of the original ad hoc committee for planning the Alamo Mall in 2000 to 2004, I recognize that the mall result creates the same affect as the roundabout without loss of commercial land or continuing all the roadways in the business district. The mall would incorporate the Stone Valley Road intersection as terminus access to the mall access lanes in the same manner that Danville Blvd would terminate at access lanes at the north and south end of the mall.
The mall plan, it appears, is simply a larger pattern of access and exit lanes with complete control of flow within the business district parking and shopping configurations. What Alamo gains is a town center that is not cut in quarters by Stone Valley Road and Danville Blvd.
Beautifully simple design!
North Iron Horse neighborhoods
Posted from firstname.lastname@example.org by request of the author
Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community, on Mar 21, 2008 at 4:25 pm
Through the courtesy of highway engineers, as residents of Alamo, an ad hoc committee of neighbors confirmed the massive land issues required by a roundabout suitable to the flow of traffic in the Alamo business district. In the engineer's review, the various proposals illustrated via CCC-Public Works for AIA review are not suitable to flow of traffic and have the typical dangers of traffic circles to drivers and pedestrians. A true roundabout suitable to traffic flow volume in the business district would an area four times the width of the current Danville Blvd.
Several highway roundabout examples were provided for review that are nearly a football field's length in diameter with a large unaccessble amount of land in the center, not suitable to parking or other uses. Ad hoc committee members simply concluded there is no room for a proper roundabout and a traffic circle, as illustrated, is simply more dangerous that the current boulevard.
Posted by Matt Brookes, a resident of another community, on Mar 22, 2008 at 8:15 am
Posted by request of the author
As an engineer and planner, I would like to clarify that plans proposed by AIA and illustrated by CCC-PW apply to traffic circles and are not high flow traffic roundabouts. In review of the various designs circulated via e-exchanges, the obvious issues of volume and speed in such circles would create a very dangerous environment for drivers and pedestrians.
Most importantly, the traffic circles proposed would clog quickly even in light usage because the volume of cars able to operate in the circle at very low speeds would not match any known volume of flow. In the short lengths of the circle, each driver entering or exiting the circle would immediately slow or stop the flow around the circle.
Neighbors need to carefully consider the recommendations of the county on traffic because they approved the Hemme and Lewis Lane intersection of Danville Blvd based on highly questionable traffic studies and political intervention by District 3's supervisor and chief of staff, now part of Y management.
Posted by Askidoo, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Mar 24, 2008 at 1:04 am
A very cursory look at information on roundabouts provides enough reason for all residents to wonder about this costly bizarre idea promoted by the AIA and why they seem to oppose the simpler more effective solution of a signal light.
The underpinning and desireability of roundabouts is that there is no waiting and no complete stopping by cars: imagine trying to cross as a pedestrian with that basic concept. From RoundaboutsUSA we have this quote 'free traffic flow via roundabouts'. In fact in several other places research pointed out that pedestrian traffic should be discouraged as they provided 'excessive delays to traffic' and inconvenience for drivers! Wow.
When pedestrians were a consideration the recommendations are for above ground and underground passages to keep people safe from cars.
Also be aware that bicycles are extremely vulnerable and the accident rate increases significantly between car and bicyclists. Given the appeal of Danville Boulevard by many bike clubs this is another reason a roundabout is not a good solution for downtown Alamo.
Some have looked at the roundabout as an aesthetic improvement to signal lights. But again a little looking and you find that any hazards such as trees, poles, walls, statues and large rocks must not be placed in them due to lawsuits and poor driver visibility. Further, you also find that the signage of a roundabout is significant with an average of 8 signs for each approach. In Alamo that would be 32 signs around the roundabout!
Also the cost is high partly due to property being needed as the design needs a certain turning radius property - how do those landowners think about their property being taken from them?
So what is the reason this was ever looked at as a viable solution? Its not aesthetic, people can't cross, bikes get hit and it keeps a continual line of traffic and congestion exactly what people don't want. And it certainly will promote 680 traffic continuing to use Danville Boulevard in Alamo since there will be 'no waiting and no complete stops'. Something else Alamo doesn't want. So why would the simple less costly solution of a light which controls traffic movement, keeps pedestrians and bicyclists safer be ignored? Why are we still waiting AIA?
Posted by Jane Murphy, Ph.D., a resident of another community, on Mar 28, 2008 at 11:11 am
Reference materials requested by Alamo downtown groups:
Dangers to Pedestrians and Cyclists
Traffic circles used to slow cars, rather than facilitating flow by assigning right of way, are confusing. And more experience on the part of drivers as cities try to build more circles will not correct the problem. The small diameter circles are intrinsically unsafe, because they don't allow drivers enough time to assess actions of other vehicles. The circles are used on streets of drastically different volumes, so only the drivers on cross streets feel they've entered a right-of-way situation. Drivers on the main, through street are given the impression of driving around an impediment in the roadway. These problems are made worse by lack of visibility of oncoming traffic from side streets in the tight situations where the devices are built. So, no one is sure quite what to expect from other vehicles. The result is unpredictable behavior. And controlling neighborhood speed with devices designed to produce confusion is only asking for trouble.
Cyclists are especially vulnerable when automobile drivers are forced into unpredictable traffic situations. Many also complain of the dangers they face jockeying for space at traffic circles, as automobiles are forced into the bike lane approaching the island. Making things worse, bike lanes disappear altogether at the traffic circles themselves, just where confusion is greatest.
Pedestrians, too, report that drivers are so confused at traffic circles by unusual right-of-way issues that they pay less attention to walkers trying to cross the street.
REF: Colorado Traffic Circle Study, University of Colorado
Posted by The Alamo Towne Fool, a resident of another community, on Apr 1, 2008 at 7:16 am
Have you ever considered that a cloverleaf of endless circles might be a simply foolish answer to the mayhem of traffic circles artificially called roundabouts to make them feel safer? Our thought is a cloverleaf at Stone Valley Road that simply results in putting drivers exiting 680 back on 680 in never ending circles.
Posted by Kathy Bell, a resident of another community, on Apr 2, 2008 at 8:47 am
As most in our region have concluded, an undersized roundabout, as actually a traffic circle, is far too dangerous to be considered in the Alamo business district. We appreciate the conclusion that the current expansion of flow for Danville Blvd has only invited more traffic and more danger to the business district. In all, we have concluded that further traffic lights will only increase the frustration of foreign traffic using our roads and further increase danger due to speed and failure to stop.
Does anyone have further references to current county plans or various studies that would provide more information to neighbors for consideration?
Iron Horse neighbors
Posted by request of the author via email@example.com
Posted by Iron Horse neighbors, a resident of another community, on Apr 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm
Posted at the request of Kathy Bell, Iron Horse neighbors
Please read Alamo Today's presentation of the AIA page covering additional expansion of Danville Blvd and Stone Valley Road in the business district to handle even greater amounts of foreign traffic. We now have more to worry about than a traffic circle!
Please comment in this forum on the results of your review,