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Two Roundabouts Planned For Woodbury Drive Expansion

The Woodbury City Council took a detailed look at the plans during a Wednesday workshop session.

The latest include roundabouts at the Lake and Bailey roads intersections.

That was one of the highlights of a detailed Woodbury City Council discussion about Washington County’s plan to expand the road from two lanes to four from St. Ambrose Church north to Park Crossing.

The council during often touched on the potential impacts to the surrounding neighborhood and how the roadwork can maintain pedestrian safety in the area.

The nearly $10 million project is slated to begin in the spring of 2013, and transportation officials are working to fit the additional lanes and pedestrian paths on both sides of the road into a narrow right-of-way.

Other items of note from the presentation by City Engineer Klayton Eckles:

  • Left- and right-turn lanes at Raleigh Road.
  • Two-way stop signs at Antrim Road.
  • Retaining walls at several points along the roadway.
  • The approaches from both sides of Bailey and Lake roads would be expanded to accommodate the two-lane roundabouts.

Councilman Paul Rebholz asked if planners would consider getting rid of the center median in order to keep the project narrower and reduce the negative impacts to area homeowners.

“You’ve got a whole other lane of median,” he said, adding that he would have liked to see options for keeping the road at two lanes earlier in the process.

The county secured a variance to have the lanes along the two-mile stretch of road reduced from 12 feet to 11, and narrower shoulders are also part of the plans.

“We think we’ve shrunk as much as we can,” said Cory Slagle, the county’s engineering and construction manager.

He said having four lanes will enable traffic to enter County Road 19 more easily, and the highway is at capacity now. Traffic is only expected to grow in the future, and officials said it will soon be as busy as Radio Drive.

Aside from the future of Antrim Road access, the council also talked at length about how pedestrians would .

Councilwoman Amy Scoggins said there is a lot of pedestrian traffic in the area and people feel more comfortable crossing with a traffic signal.

There would be crosswalks going from the side of the road to the median about 25 feet back from the roundabout, according to the plans.

Eckles said the primary benefit to crossing at roundabouts versus a light is that people only have to look in one direction at a time.

“There are a lot more conflict points at that signal,” he said.

Councilman Christopher Burns suggested the city and county engage in a public-information campaign once the roundabouts are built.

The speed limit along Woodbury Drive likely will not change with the expanded roadway, officials have said, though City Administrator Clint Gridley noted that there is a logical disconnect by doing speed studies on a road with a set limit.

The state sets speed limits, Slagle said, and uses an “85 percent baseline” to determine them.

Yet Gridley noted that people generally drive the posted speeds, tainting any study about how fast a reasonable motorist drives.

Suzanne Swanson November 18, 2011 at 03:29 PM
I am so sorry to hear about the possibility of 2 two-lane roundabouts on Woodbury Drive, especially in light of the fact that they expect that road to eventually be as busy as Radio Drive. Aggresive drivers make roundabouts a hazard for others. S. Swanson
Paul Whackernutz November 18, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Looks like the homeowners and taxpayers have been completely ignored once again, and the city and county are going to do what they darn well please. At the last public meeting, the county said that a final design wouldn't be ready until January and presented for public comment at that time. Sounds like they've made up their mind already! Also from the public comments, the overwhelming majority (like almost everyone!) said NO to bike paths on both sides of the road due to the narrowness of the right of way. Opinion was split on a roundabout at Bailey, but the message was cystal clear about Lake: NO roundabout because of the number of kids that cross their to get to LMS and Middleton. Also, the county gave the adjoining homeowner association the option of regrading the berms or installing retaining walls. Looks like that offer is off the table as well. The whole public input exercise looks like it has been nothing more than a charade.
ScottRAB November 18, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit www.iihs.org for safety facts. The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works (or the ‘keep going fast’ large traffic circle fantasy). The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 2,300 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way. Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.
Kris Janisch November 18, 2011 at 08:02 PM
There will be another public meeting early next year about the plans. And they are still plans at this point.
Paul Whackernutz November 18, 2011 at 10:04 PM
So is the reporting in the article inaccurate? Because it says two roundabouts are planned. Well, as of September they were not planned, but were options. It had not been decided, and the countyproject team said it wouldn't be until January. So I stand by my earlier comment: Did the public input on this go by the wayside? I really don't care about the roundabout (but many folks do). What I care about is the apparent disregard for the public's input on this project. What Eckles is showing on his map is essentially the same plan that was unzipped this summer. So is he showing Council two month old news? The context of reporting is that the roundabout issue has been decided and council is seeing a 'new' plan.
Kris Janisch November 18, 2011 at 10:08 PM
It seems to me that they're going with roundabouts. There weren't any other options presented Wednesday, and it was a pretty lengthy discussion.
Mark Wackerfuss November 18, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Paul, FYI. It took our neighborhood over 2 years to get the Cree Park expansion passed. Some of the things you might want to try is go to the open forum at the city council meetings and let your neighborhoods opinion known to the council and city staff and perhaps circulate a signed petition among the neighborhood affected to present to the council and city staff. These things were persuasive tools for input. In the end Administrator Gridley and the staff did the right thing .So kudo's to them for their help in getting the Cree Park expansion passed. Hope this helps for your neighborhood issues on the roadway expansion. :0)
Eric Berg November 22, 2011 at 01:38 PM
Just because you didn't get what you want doesn't mean that the citizens have been ignored or it's a charade. Let me explain. Fortunately (and unfortunately), the job of road design falls to civil engineers. Having worked with them for most of my life, I've found that they generally attempt to pick the solution that moves automobile traffic most efficiently. Level of Service is their prime concern. I don't know the engineers who did the work, but if they're like nearly all of the other PEs I've met, they ran the traffic counts on every conceivable kind of intersection and inputted all the permutations discussed at the public meetings into the traffic modeling software and determined that this was the best for traffic flow. Notice I didn't say the best for pedestrian safety or minimizing impacts on nearby residents? I'm not going to be as callous as to say that's not their perview, but it falls much farther down on the list of importance than moving a car from point A to point B. I agree with what Mark says below. Let the City and County (since it is a county road) representatives know about your concern. The more that the representatives hear about it (respectfully, of course), the more that they will ask the department heads about it, who will then ask the engineers. The key is to get the PEs ouf of the "only move traffic" mindset. It may not work. This may be the best possible design. But it stands a better chance of working than doing nothing.
fb.com/WCwatchdog September 08, 2013 at 04:36 AM
ha ha! Suzanne called it! they are going to re-construct the failed two lane roundabout on Baliey road!

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