Comments from the WebThe following comments were posted to www.DanvilleWeekly.com after we ran an editorial March 14 stating Alamo Improvement Association's reasons for wanting a roundabout in downtown Alamo. Some comments have been edited here for space.
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 disappointingly, 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!
One Hal of a Pal
Mar 14, 2008 at 8:12 am
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.
Speak out, stop this!
Diablo Vista region counsel committee
Mar 14, 2008 at 8:25 am
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 our more earnest humor seriously.
Away in Morro Bay
Mar 14, 2008 at 1:55 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.
I'm from Alamo - you'll have to show me.
Posted by Alamo Ron
Mar 14, 2008 at 7:19 pm
May we stand together and judge the proposal of a roundabout and review actual examples?
The coffee is on me,
One HAL of a Pal
Mar 14, 2008 at 7:32 pm
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.
A resident of another community
Mar 15, 2008 at 8:45 am
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 effect 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
Mar 16, 2008 at 7:04 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 inaccessible 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.
Mar 21, 2008 at 4:25 pm
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.
Don't let this mistake happen!
Iron Horse neighbors
Mar 22, 2008 at 8:15 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 desirability 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 Askidoo, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood
Mar 24, 2008 at 1:04 am
Thank you for all the reading references and commentary that explained why an undersized roundabout, as a traffic circle, does not belong in Alamo. It's dangerous, costly and unnecessary.
Most importantly, it proves the AIA has lost connection and credibility with our region's neighbors and neighborhoods.
North Iron Horse neighborhoods
Mar 25, 2008 at 8:17 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, CDSI Research Fellowship
Posted by Jane Murphy, Ph.D., a resident of another community
Mar 28, 2008 at 11:11 am