Friday, November 07, 2008

round-a-bout ways to a roundabout

Consultant verifies three-year-old idea for roundabout
Craig Campbell, News Staff
Published on Nov 07, 2008

Three years after it was first identified as the best location for a roundabout, the intersection of Governor’s Road and Davidson Boulevard has been chosen as the preferred site for the traffic calming device.

The idea was first raised in the fall of 2005 by then Dundas city councillor Art Samson. He brought City of Hamilton traffic engineering staff to his community council to discuss the proposal. At the time, traffic staff explained the intersection warranted a stoplight, but they wanted to review the roundabout option and check out the possibility of locating the roundabout at Pirie Drive and Governor’s Road.

According to city traffic staff at the time, widening Governor’s Road was no longer considered an option for dealing with traffic.

Mr. Samson’s community council quickly agreed with the suggestion, and city manager of traffic signals and systems Ron Gallo was directed to move ahead with environmental assessments of both Governor’s Road at Davidson and Governor’s Road at Pirie Drive as potential roundabout locations.

Supported by the local city councilor, city staff and Dundas community council, the roundabout review was expected to be submitted as part of the 2007 budget deliberations.

Last week, the results of a study conducted by two consultants on possible intersection improvements were released at a public information centre at Dundas town hall.

The findings verified traffic lights are warranted at the Davidson Boulevard intersection, as city staff said three years ago, but not at the Pirie Drive intersection. It noted the former intersection had a higher volume of traffic exiting side roads.

Improve traffic safety

“The need to improve the Davidson (Boulevard) intersection in order to meet the signal warrant will also improve traffic safety and reduce vehicle speeds in the corridor,” the consultant report states. “The Davidson (Boulevard) intersection offers the most opportunity to address the problem of vehicle delays and traffic buildup.”

The study went on to compare the advantages and disadvantages of both placing traffic signals, with new turn lanes, median islands, curbs and line painting at the Davidson intersection, and the construction of a roundabout there.

The consultants concluded a roundabout is preferred because it resolves problems of vehicle delays and traffic buildup, provides the greatest impact for lowering speeds on Governor’s Road, improves overall safety in the area, increases intersection capacity, reduces vehicle emissions and provides an opportunity to create a Dundas gateway feature.

Three years after the city was first asked to review a roundabout at Governor’s and Davidson, the project will now proceed to reviews of public comments and meetings with affected residents and groups.

A proposal for a roundabout at Governor’s and Davidson might then be refined and submitted to city councillors for endorsement.