A Need Or A Novelty At Taxpayer’s Expense?

Watching the ongoing money being spent at our local mini-roundabout at Wildwood and West End, I thought it might be worth revisiting.

Was this expense a need or simply a novelty at taxpayer’s expense?

The center has been planted and large arrows were painted on the asphalt to let drivers know how to manipulate the ‘circle’. Yet, that wasn’t sufficient and there are now even more signs out in the center of the street letting motorists know how to travel through the roundabout.

The other day I encountered one of the village employees who was doing some measurements and markings on Wildwood Drive. I asked him about the additional signs and if the roundabout was just an experiment. His response was that the residents had complained about driver’s blowing through the stop signs. I asked why that created the need for such an expensive project rather than a squad spending some time there and he then said that it also was to put an end to all the vehicles that blow through the stop and wind up in the channel.

How long before these center-of-the-road signs get knocked down?

Armed with this new information I asked several residents living along the channel and none recalled any recent events of any cars being yanked out of the channel.

If driver’s are actually ending up in the channel, why not add rumble strips?

This is a less traveled street & intersection that may have some added traffic during the commuting hours from drivers wanting to bypass the Rollins Road, Hainesville, and Rt 83 traffic congestion. That is not to say that bypassing the traffic lights will make this the ONLY intersection with simple stop signs installed (that may get blown by driver’s running late). Yet, this one is the ONLY one that got the roundabout. It’s not even a 4-way intersection, only a 3-way with no oncoming traffic to speak of! Drivers heading west on Wildwood most likely will make a right turn onto West End. Drivers on southbound West End will be turning East onto Wildwood.

Roundabouts are meant to help move traffic freely through an intersection and relieve congestion which is why one is planned in Lincolnshire at the intersection of Everett and Riverwoods. That roundabout will have no lights and no stop signs, only yield signs. Round Lake Beach’s roundabout does include stop signs because it doesn’t have merge lanes.

So I can’t help but wonder if our local roundabout is just a novelty or was there really any need for this expensive roundabout. This was previously nothing but a very basic residential 3-way intersection with little traffic compared to streets like Clarendon which is a notorious Indy 500 race track between Cedar Lake Road and East End. (Loan me a radar gun and I will prove it!)

Are we going to see more of these at intersections whenever residents complain about driver’s failing to stop in their neighborhoods?

What was the actual traffic count at this intersection that warranted this expense?

How many vehicles actually ended up in the channel, according to the village employee’s comment?

If any vehicles actually went into the channel at this location, due to blowing through the stop sign, wouldn’t the motorist be responsible for any towing/removal/repair costs rather than burdening local taxpayers with a complete intersection modification?

Wouldn’t a series of rumble strips on this little traveled strip near the channel have been much cheaper than building the roundabout?  

Will the taxpayers continue to be on the hook to replace the signs knocked down by drivers as well as snowplows?

Why weren’t more appropriate in ground anchors used for the signs mounting base that wouldn’t require excavation to replace knocked down signs?

Were heavy duty spring loaded bases ever considered that would allow the sign to be bumped and then return to its upright position?

Look at how HIGH the stop signs are in the photos (as well as at most intersections in town). Although that height makes them difficult to see with headlights pointing down at night, it does appear that they ARE in compliance with MUTCD which requires that “Signs installed at the side of the road in rural districts shall be at least 1.5 m (5 ft), measured from the bottom of the sign to the near edge of the pavement. Where parking or pedestrian movements occur, the clearance to the bottom of the sign shall be at least 2.1 m (7 ft).” With pedestrian movement the village signs would fall under the 7′ requirement which explains WHY they are so darned high!

Was Round Lake Beach’s roundabout expense warranted?

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