City proceeding with 14th and Superior roundabout against neighbors’ wishes
Winterized has obtained a copy of a survey that shows the vast majority of people who attended a meeting about building a double roundabout at 14th and Superior streets were opposed to the idea, but the city is going ahead with the project anyway.
According to a written and online survey conducted after a public meeting nearly one year ago, a whopping 62 percent of respondents opposed or strongly opposed the roundabout, while only 23 percent favored or strongly favored the concept. (The rest were undecided.) That has neighbors in an uproar over the news that the city intends to proceed with the $11 million double roundabout anyway.
After a public meeting about the roundabout, 151 people filled out a “comment survey” and another 62 people completed an online survey. Neighbors were concerned about middle school students running through the roundabout, people’s lack of familiarity with how to navigate roundabouts and how trucks would be able to get through the roundabout. Some people were convinced a roundabout would cause more crashes — although they’re widely credited with reducing crashes in intersections.
Devin Biesecker, who works in the engineering services division of the city public works department, acknowledged there was opposition to the roundabout concept versus a traditional intersection “in the beginning.”
“But taking the time to do an open house, a focus group to more deeply understand concerns, doing a school survey, and visiting with the trails committee and the Mayor’s Environmental group on the benefits of roundabouts, we think we were able to alleviate a number of those concerns,” he said via email. “There is certainly an intent to do additional public education about roundabouts and how the use of a roundabout will allow traffic to flow more smoothly at this very busy intersection and how it will allow pedestrians to move safely through this area as well.”
People were also given the option to expand the intersection by adding lanes, and 65 percent favored or strongly favored that option. I have a message into the city to see why they went ahead with the roundabout option, despite the neighbors’ preference. I’m hearing from a lot of angry residents about this, and I imagine the city is too.
I can say in my own experience using the 33rd and Sheridan street roundabout frequently to get to Southeast High School in the morning, it doesn’t do a great job of handling the huge volume of traffic coming from the south. Due to the large number of those northbound vehicles turning right or going straight, the traffic coming from Sheridan Boulevard is always able to sneak in to the roundabout, while a huge line of vehicles forms to the south. And although traffic engineers have said it really handles the traffic well, they’ve obviously not used it on a daily basis. But I do see where roundabouts would cut down on collisions.
The $11 million project also includes two “undercrossings” on bike trails along 14th Street and Superior Street — similar to the undercrossings near 33rd and Pine Lake Road and the two near 84th and Old Cheney,