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Published September 21st, 2016
Lafayette Goes Round and Round on Roundabouts

The Lafayette circulation committee gave the green light for two future roundabouts on Deer Hill Road.
The issue of the traffic calming features will go before the Lafayette City Council following a presentation by City Engineer Tony Coe. The circulation committee voted three to one to push forward with the roundabouts, taking into consideration concerns with grading, lighting and safety for trucks on adverse slopes.
A crowded room heard the presentation about the two roundabouts, one of which will be at the entrance to the future Homes at the Deer Hill development with a second one where Deer Hill Road intersects with Brown Avenue.
Coe detailed all aspects of the design, including how the issue of building a roundabout on such a steep incline would be handled, along with information on land grading, sightlines to ensure adequate visibility on the hill, sidewalks and bicycle paths. He said there would be increased signage, rumble strips and optical markings on the road to warn drivers of the roundabout ahead. Previous feasibility studies showed, he said, that roundabouts would keep the traffic flowing while slowing it down, better than traffic lights.
However, many residents voiced their opinions that there should be no roundabouts, all but one preferring traffic lights.
Michael Griffith said that he would prefer traffic lights which could be timed for heavy volume hours and Rod Ford-Smith, president of the Brown Avenue Homeowners Association, said that the crosswalks need lighting. He was concerned cars won't stop and that parents will drop kids off before school along the road. Ron Brown was concerned with the location of the roundabout on a hill, especially in the evening when heading west and the sun is in drivers' eyes.
However Trevor Page, a Deer Hill Road resident, said he fully supports the roundabouts. He believes a roundabout would keep traffic moving and at a slowed speed. He pointed out that as it is right now, with no sidewalks, people already walk on Deer Hill Road and by providing sidewalks the situation would be safer than it is currently.
Dave Baker, project manager for the Homes at Deer Hill, said that the roundabouts had already been identified as the best solution because of their traffic calming effect and with consideration for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.
Four members of the circulation commission were present. Commissioner Lynn Hiden was very uneasy about the roundabouts and said she could not vote for it. Commission chair Kristina Sturm said the commission had done a good job listening to all concerns and together with Commissioner Adrian Levy and vice chair Elizabeth Johnson, passed the motion to support the design and peer review to go before the city council with comments pertaining to: the need for ample lighting on crosswalks, clarification of the peer review comments regarding truck safety on the adverse slope, and that a list of examples of similar existing roundabouts built on steep grades in other areas to be made available on the city's website.

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