Monday, January 18, 2016

I'll Be (another) Roundabout

Triangle/E. Pleasant intersection (underlined island will go away)
Green indicates proposed grassy area, maroon indicates concrete pavers and/or brick

DPW Chief Guilford Mooring brought the latest plans for the roundabout at Triangle and East Pleasant Street near the new Kendrick Place mixed use building to the Public Works Committee on Thursday night.

This would make the 9th time it has appeared on their agenda over the past two years.

 Public Works Committee meeting (1/14/16)
PWC audience

Major tweaks include a new system of (5) crosswalks that avoid going through the center of the roundabout, removal of a small island over on the side closest to UMass so a "slip lane" can allow for PVTA buses and trucks to make the turn.  It also allows for the sidewalk to be brought down from the current top of a steep hill to grade level.

 Sidewalk on left will be brought down to street level (tree and island in center will go)

A half dozen citizens -- mostly neighbors -- showed up to voice their concerns, which seemed to center on pedestrian safety.  Both Mooring and PWC Chair Christine Gray-Mullen pointed out that roundabouts are safer than signalized intersections.

Vince O'Connor was also concerned about the space provided in the roundabout for a car to stop for pedestrians and he would like it large enough to accommodate a PVTA bus.  Mr. O'Connor was also concerned about dedicated bike lanes all the way through the roundabout.

Mooring pointed out that cyclists could simply act as regular vehicles in the roundabout or use "chicken lanes" i.e. the sidewalks.

The PWC recommended the crosswalk in front of Kendrick Place be moved about 20 feet into the middle of the slip lane, halfway between E. Pleasant and Triangle Street. 

The PWC will vote their recommendation to the Select Board at their next meeting in February, and if all goes well construction could start in the upcoming construction season.

 UMass Eastman Lane/N. Pleasant roundabout is considered a great success


Anonymous said...

How could they be safer for pedestrians when traffic doesn't stop?

trussdob said...

I think this is a great solution for this intersection. Mr. Mooring is correct regarding Vince's concern re bike lanes. The design of a roundabout inherently brings cars down to a speed where cyclists can take the lane and navigate with them safely. As he also stated, the sidewalks and crosswalks can also be used by cyclists not comfortable in taking the lane. As an avid cyclist who puts 2200+ miles per year in on area roads, I must say roundabouts are much easier and safer to navigate than signalized intersections.

trussdob said...

3:04, a roundabout of this type has single lane approaches. The crosswalks are located within those approaches, so once a car stops at a crosswalk no other car can pass around them. A pedestrian only crosses one lane of traffic moving slowly in one direction at a given crosswalk. Roundabouts differ in design and terminology from rotaries in that they are designed to be small, generally single lane, and limit traffic speeds to 15 mph or less continuous flow. Due to this fact, they are much safer than most intersections. Traffic safety data from around the world support Larry's statement that these are safer in general for vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Larry Kelley said...

What he said.

Anonymous said...

Cars entering stop, but cars already in a notary that are exiting have a hard time stopping.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, Eastman lane works great also.

Tom Simpson said...

I hope the crosswalks are not going to be those foolish brick or paving stone models with the buried flashing yellow lights that are nothing more than invitations to frost heaves, potholes and dead lights. There can be many years of re-painting stripes on the road for what it costs to install and maintain those exercises in futility to be seen in front of the local colleges. Even when the flashing lights work, I can tell you from personal observation that, half the time, the pedestrians don't even activate them. And, 90% of the pedestrians are dressed in black from head to toe so they're nearly impossible to see when coming out of the glare of oncoming traffic's headlights and because the overhead lighting at the crosswalks is so poor. Take the money saved by not using the bricks and pavers and put it into some first-class lighting!

Anonymous said...

This isn't exactly Los Angeles. Traffic isn't that big a deal. You can wait a minute.

Anonymous said...

Awesome. While I think the dual-roundabouts near Atkins (south) are ridiculous, the one on Eastman has proven itself to be a major improvement. Thank you Jason V. who fought and fought for it, made a clear, fact-driven case to go that direction, and now it's really paving the way for more of them in town.

Hey, maybe someday we'll see on at N. Pleasant and Main. (Not likely!).

Anonymous said...

Traffic will stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Anonymous said...

I've never had a hard time stopping for a pedestrian while leaving a roundabout.

Anonymous said...

Just wait until some college kids that are walking back from the bars get run over by kids driving back from the bars. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Is this a deliberate plan to extend the Massachusetts Ave. student run over zone into Amherst center?

Larry Kelley said...

That's one way of spinning it I suppose.

But town officials would simply say it's a plan to enhance a main gateway corridor to UMass, our largest employer.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if there are any plans to create a large roundabout at the N. University Drive/Mass Ave Intersection? That flashing yellow light has never been welcoming, considering it serves as one if not the main entrance to UMass.

Larry Kelley said...

No, I don't believe that's under serious consideration.

But they really need to do something there besides blinking lights.

Anonymous said...

What's missing in these plans is the bus pull-off near "Kentucky Fried Bank of America" - what will happen to when buses stop there? (If the bus stop were moved further north it would be less useful for campus shuttle users accessing the town center.)

I'm a regular commuter cyclist who's had generally good luck with the roundabout at Eastman/Governors/N.Pleasant, and has let Guilford know that it a big improvement for everybody. But a couple times I've been "almost run down" by cars who "forgot" to yield to a vehicle already in the circle lane, i.e. me and my big bad bike - that's been no problem for me because I'm not timid, but Guilford needs to give more thought to this issue for other, more timid cyclists (quite frankly, his "use the chicken lanes" comment is really just a load of "chicken $#!+" ;-).

- YF, the Lorax-bike-man

Anonymous said...

With all that plethora of alcohol around the other intersection at Route 63-Pine Street in North Amherst, and the fact that it is now an inner-city pedestrian shopping zone with high density apartment plexes, I think Amherst should re-consider-and go for yet another roundabout, not a silly unworkable dead end intersection that doe's nothing to abate the drunken drag racing road rage problem there...pedestrian lives matter !!

Walter Graff said...

This exact thing exists in the university grounds at a very busy student pedestrian area RIGHT NOW and it works perfectly for both pedestrian traffic and vehicular traffic since installed.

Seems nothing in Amherst can ever be done without the loons screaming "the sky is falling"

Improve an intersection - everyone will be hit by cars.

Rebuild the antiquated school buildings - you'll destroy the community

Build new apartments in town center - the students will overwhelm it and turn Amherst into a slum

Build new student housing community - whole residential communities will be destroyed and house prices will plummet

Update the town government from it's antiquated and inefficient town council to a mayoral government - Amherst will not be able to function

Improve the north district by creating new business - the community will suffer terribly at the hands of greedy land owners out to make a buck

Improve an old and outdated area downtown - The loss of an old mural only dead people see from a grave will destroy the essence of the town

Update the police, fire and medical infrastructure - the town will not survive

Hire much needed medical and public safety personnel - the fat and inefficient leaking pipe that is the school system will be destroyed

Build a solar array on an old dump to generate income - the sun as we know it will implode

Destroy old, vacant and unlivable houses that blight the town - entire areas of the town will become uninhabitable

Close the money sucking vacuum that is the golf course and create new housing areas - Amherst will suffer unimaginable consequences and plagues

Build a much needed gas pipeline - whole towns will become ghost towns

Offer any substantive improvement to anything - THE SKY WILL FALL

Improve anything - THE SKY WILL FALL

Only think the word 'improvement' - "You're a bad man! You're a very bad man! You keep thinking bad thoughts about me and I'm gonna send you to the cornfield"

Next stop - The Twilight Zone

Anonymous said...

In the UMass master plan, a roundabout replaces the current configuration of the intersection. But no plans have been drawn up yet to make that a reality.

Anonymous said...

I invite anyone to drive the N. Pleasant St. roundabout located on campus at Eastman Lane. It's efficient, keeps traffic moving, and makes pedestrians stand out far better than a four-way intersection can.

Anonymous said...

Walter, I am preserving your manifesto for future use. Thank you, I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Walter. I never thought I would say that.

Geddy said...

In and around the town
Students come out of the bar
And they stand there
One cross walk and we'll be there
And we'll see you

Anonymous said...

Don't quit yer day job, 3:37...