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roundabout

May 30, 2019 - 3:20pm

Above, Scott Kern, who lives on Alleghany Road, was one of the most vocal in opposing the state’s proposal to put a roundabout at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road.

ALABAMA – Scott Kern minced no words when he shared his concerns and disapproval of the state’s proposal to build a roundabout at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road during a public hearing Wednesday night at the Alabama Fire Hall.

Kern lives a few hundred feet south of the intersection, and while he acknowledges there are frequent accidents there, he also says there are much more practical and cost-effective ways to address the problem.

Like all those who spoke in opposition to the proposal, Kern’s concern was over the fact that traffic (especially truckers) would be coming around a curve and down a hill and face the intersection just in front of them.

“You are asking truck drivers (who would be accelerating after leaving the 40 mile per hour speed zone in Indian Falls) to slow down in winter on slippery roads," Kern said. "Then coming up the hill, they don’t have a running start after having to slow down for the roundabout.

"It seems to me the money could be better spent than wasting it on a roundabout in the middle of nowhere.”

He advised representatives from the NYS Department of Transportation to give this a whole lot more thought.

“You’ve given no consideration to my neighbors on the corner who now put up with noise and pollution, and will be faced with even more when vehicles are slowing and speeding up,” Kern said. “The guy on the corner is going to have headlights in his bedroom at all hours of the night.

“I know people have died on that corner. I was there when they died. But it would be better if you took that $1.8 million and paved the road. Just give it some more thought.”

The public hearing began with a time for residents to ask questions from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Frank Billittier, regional design engineer for the NYSDOT, introduced members of the design team and explained the roundabout was a proposal to improve safety at the intersection.

The engineer said in the last five years there have been 34 crashes, five times the number they expect to see at a similar type intersection. Eleven of the crashes involved an injury and one was a fatality. He said all the right-angle crashes involved an injury, and the roundabout would simplify right turns.

The design team looked at low-cost safety enhancements, such an all-way stop and a light-controlled intersection. They studied grades and said the hill just south of the intersection was not steep.

They also took a look at how long it took a truck to stop on a 3- to 4-percent grade when it was traveling at 55 mph. The distance was 495 feet, compared to 553 feet when on a 6-percent grade.

Billittier showed a video of a roundabout in Kansas to demonstrate how an oversize vehicle could navigate a roundabout by running up on the concrete apron. The video also showed how a snowplow would remove snow from a roundabout.

Construction of the roundabout would begin in the spring. Both Route 77 and Ledge Road would be closed to traffic for four to six weeks. Traffic would be detoured using Route 5 and Route 63. Road closure would be during July and August so as not to impede school buses.

Tom Finch, from the NYSDOT Northeast Regional Office, said five properties would be affected by the acquisition of land to build the roundabout. All property owners will be contacted and an appraiser will develop a fair market agreement for each property.

Property owners will be asked to sign the agreement, and in the case they fail to do so, filing of the map allows contractors to begin work.

Jill Klotzbach, a member of the Alabama Town Board, was the first to speak, making it very clear she opposed the roundabout.

“My family travels that intersection several times a day,” Klotzbach said. “I believe this intersection has features which makes it unsatisfactory for a roundabout. It’s on a hill and a sharp curve. Cars waiting for the right-of-way to enter the roundabout might be jeopardized by fast-moving vehicles coming down the hill.

"There is an intersection in the city where the road is flat and the speed limit is 35 mph and there are still crashes. Our farmers are all concerned about the difficulty navigating the roundabout with their large equipment.

“As a town board, we wrote letters to our legislature expressing our disapproval. The state has not listened to the expertise of local highway superintendents. What about the property values of the resident who will have the roundabout 30 feet from his house?

"The state keeps waving safety statistics at us, but do you have statistics of how safe a property owner feels with a roundabout 30 feet from his house?”

Attorney Reed Whiting spoke on behalf of his clients, Robert and LeNora Thompson, who live on the northeast corner of Route 77 and Ledge Road.

“They have many concerns about property devaluation and traffic lights flashing across their property all hours of the night,” Whiting said. “There will be jake-braking trucks, and any truck which enters at a high rate of speed is likely to travel near my client’s home.”

The attorney suggested rumble strips were far less expensive and far more effective than a roundabout.

Kathryn Thurber, who lives on Ledge Road, was upset with the fact Billittier said this was a public hearing, yet it was indicated they were going to take the property.

“It’s a done deal, and we don’t have any say,” Thurber said. “You said you are started construction to be thoughtful of school buses, but what about the farmers, who are at the peak of their season then? They need to move their equipment through there, back and forth to their farms.”

Lorna Klotzbach is a member of the Alabama Planning Board and she posed the question, “Is there anything that could be said to change your mind?”

“There are six current and former highway superintendents and workers in this room who have offered input and you have ignored them,” Klotzbach said. “You didn’t study the intersection in wintertime – you consulted charts.

"This intersection has a hill, curve, wind and heavy truck traffic in both directions going the speed limit of 55 mph. What happens if you are a car stuck in the roundabout waiting for a chance to move out and a truck comes down the hill at 55 mph?

“You are spending $1.8 million in a state where people are moving out in record numbers, yet you refuse to consider local input.”

She added it was rude and insulting to show a video from Kansas where roads are flat. 

“You have acted in a patronizing fashion to us,” she added. “You say we just don’t like change. We are not from the dinosaur era. We’d like to ask you to consider accepting our input, rather than come here and tell us it’s a done deal.”

She also quoted a comment from Alabama Highway Superintendent Bob Kehlenbeck, who said he’s been there on that hill in winter with the highway superintendent from Pembroke, shoveling sand under a truck that couldn’t make it up.”

She added at the end of the meeting how insulting it was to the residents of the Town of Alabama to discover the state had staked a state trooper and sheriff’s deputy outside the door. 

Julie Scarborough, who lives at Maple and Ledge roads, said she visited Scotland and saw many roundabouts there.

“But none of them were on a hill,” she said. “We live in one of the most expensive states and there are a lot of more economical options you didn’t even consider.”

Travis Warner is the resident on the southeast corner who will be faced with the roundabout 30 feet from his home. He said he doesn’t have air conditioning in his home and leaves the windows open in the summer.

He fears the increased noise from vehicles, especially trucks and motorcycles, jake braking and accelerating out of the roundabout will make it impossible for him to enjoy the summer. He is also concerned about increased exhaust and air pollution.

In addition, Warner said the snow which blows through that intersection will blow out of the roundabout and drift in the road within 10 minutes.

Jeff Kelkenberg, who lives on Marble Road a quarter mile north, has between 400,000 and 450,000 miles on the road, hauling loads as wide as 18 feet. He said big rigs these days have steerable rear ends and farmers have equipment, even when folded up, which is 18 feet wide.

“It sounds like the state didn’t really look at what the community wants,” Kelkenberg said. “They could put in a traffic light, with no turn on red. It appears we need to stand together. We need to unite and stand together in that intersection.”

Wes Klotzbach was concerned that traffic approaching the intersection from the south has been coming out of a speed zone.

“Traffic behind you wants to pull out and pass, then you see that roundabout at the bottom of the hill and climb on the brakes, and you get rear-ended by the traffic behind you,” he said.

He said the majority of accidents are a result of drivers who fail to yield right of way, and asked what was so magical about a roundabout that it would make them yield, when they won’t in a normal traffic pattern.

Farmer Dennis Phelps, who also lives on Ledge Road, called the proposal “horrific.”

“You are supposed to be engineers and professionals, yet you can’t see the danger in a school bus in the roundabout with a truck coming down the hill which can’t stop,” Phelps said. “Slowing them down would be the smartest thing you could do.”

Richard Rudolph was highway superintendent in the Town of Pembroke for 32 years and plowed Route 77 from Route 5 for 25 years.

“One of the worse spots I had was that hill in a sleet storm,” Rudolph said. “I’m not against roundabouts, but I don’t think that’s the place for one. Turning lanes and flashing lights would do the job.”

Another resident asked if the DOT had ever seen a pea-picking machine.

“They’re huge,” she said, adding wryly “...Mommas and poppas, don’t let your children grow up to be engineers.”

John Anderson said with the winters experienced in this area, if a truck is slowed down to 10 miles per hour through the roundabout, it will never make it up the hill. He recommended a stop-and-go light and rumble strips.

Ron Thurber asked what statistics were given for other options. He asked for data showing statistics of similar intersections with a stop light and rumble strips.

“I drive truck, and common sense needs to prevail,” he said. “My biggest concern is for the residents of that corner. If the state doesn’t offer them a whole chunk of change for their properties, it will be a crime.”

Eighteen-year-old Seth Doctor, an Oakfield/Alabama student, said he goes to school with a lot of kids who go through that intersection every day and he was concerned they could possibly lose their lives.

“I’ve been driving for two years and I know it’s not easy to stop in snow and ice, especially with a truck,” he said.

Annette Johnson is a volunteer Alabama firefighter who sent the DOT office on Jefferson Road in Rochester a petition with 1,079 names protesting the roundabout. She has another petition with 300 more signatures ready to send.

“I have responded to accidents there and in five years, there was one fatality,” she said. “There are far worse intersections in this county, and we don’t need a roundabout (for them).”

Residents have until June 10 to file comments with the NYSDOT Region 4, 1530 Jefferson Road, Rochester, NY 14623.

Frank Billittier, regional design engineer for the NYSDOT, at a public hearing Wednesday at Alabama Fire Hall on the state’s intent to put a roundabout at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road.

Lorna Klotzbach, a member of the Alabama Town Planning Board, reads her statement in opposition to the roundabout.

Kathryn Thurber, of Ledge Road, was another Alabama resident who spoke out against the proposed roundabout.

May 22, 2019 - 6:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, news, roundabout.

Press release:

The New York State Department of Transportation announced today it will host a public hearing next week for the proposed intersection improvements at Route 77 and Ledge Road in the Town of Alabama, which include the installation of a modern roundabout and other safety enhancements.

The hearing is set to take place at the Alabama Fire Hall, located at 2230 Judge Road in Oakfield, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29.

Department of Transportation staff will be available from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and directly after the hearing, for approximately 30 minutes, to discuss the project and answer questions.

Anyone interested in expressing their views concerning the project will be given the opportunity to do so in person or through written statements. A short presentation will be given at the start of the hearing, followed by comments from the public.

NYSDOT has current information posted online regarding roundabouts, as well as downloadable brochures here. A copy of the Draft Design Report is available for review at the NYSDOT Regional Office and the Town of Alabama Clerk’s Office.

November 15, 2018 - 12:39pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Alabama, news, notify, roundabout, Route 77 and Ledge Road.

(Officials from the State DOT at the Alabama Firemen’s Recreation Hall Wednesday night. From left are Jillian Button, real estate specialist with Region 4 Office of Right of Way; Paul Spitzer, regional traffic engineer; Frank Billittier, regional design engineer; Jordan Guerrein, public information officer with the DOT; and Wesley Alden, assistant regional design engineer.)

ALABAMA – The State Department of Transportation held a public information meeting Wednesday night at Alabama Firemen’s Recreation Hall to address residents’ concerns about plans to build a roundabout at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road.

It was clear that 100 percent of those who spoke at the meeting are strongly opposed to the project, for a variety of reasons.

The DOT’s public information officer Jordan Guerrein said Alabama Town Supervisor Janet Sage requested the meeting to inform the public where the project stands and to take comments from local residents.

The project was initiated to address a high rate of severe accidents at the site, Guerrein said.

Between April 1, 2013 and May 31, 2018, there were 56 crashes in the area, 31 of them at the intersection. One involved a fatality. Another fatality occurred prior to 2013.

The DOT said they have considered alternative solutions and have implemented minor safety enhancements, such as upgraded signs and modified striping, but propose a modern roundabout as the best solution to the problem.

Residents were all vocal about their opposition to installing a roundabout in a 55-mile per hour speed zone at the bottom of a curve and hill. Instead there were suggestions of speed bumps on Ledge Road, a four-way stop, better lighting at the intersection, cameras, increased traffic enforcement and a signal light.

Several residents with homes at the intersection were very concerned about how close the roundabout would bring traffic to their house (one within 30 feet), the increased noise and exhaust fumes from vehicles having to slow for an extended distance and trucks accelerating to make it up the hill. 

Richard Rudolph, of Akron, who was a former Pembroke highway superintendent, said he plowed that stretch of road for more than 20 years.

“When it was snowy and slippery, trucks had a hard time getting up the hill,” Rudolph said. “Now you’re going to put an obstruction in the road and expect an 80,000 pound truck to stop on ice.”

Several voiced objections to the $1.6 million price tag to taxpayers.

“Putting in a traffic light would be a whole lot cheaper and quicker,” one resident commented. 

There were several suggestions from the crowd to reduce speed limits from Indian Falls to Alabama.

Paul Spitzer, regional traffic engineer, replied that setting lower speed limits typically results in more accidents.

“Reducing speed limits does not reduce accidents,” he said. “Reducing speeds lowers accidents, and roundabouts lower speed.”

He said the maximum speed in the roundabout would be 20 miles per hour. 

(The State DOT shared this aerial photo at left of the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road in the Town of Alabama during Wednesday's public information meeting. It  shows the close proximity of homes on three of the corners. At right, this design drawing shows the proposed roundabout and where a temporary road would be built to reroute traffic west on Ledge Road during construction.)

The engineers explained the roundabout would be elliptical in shape. They would meet with each of the four affected homeowners, whose properties will be appraised. They will be paid the highest market value for the portions of their land that would needed to construct the roundabout. No structures would be razed. The roundabout would come closest to the home on the southeast corner -- within 30 feet of it.

Construction of the roundabout would close the intersection for four to six weeks, engineers said. Closure will be planned to minimize impact to the school districts and local farming community.

Traffic would be detoured down routes 5 and 63 and a temporary roadway at the intersection will be used to maintain access for businesses, residents and emergency services. 

Several asked if the project was a done deal or if there was still an opportunity to stop it. Annette Johnson, who lives in the Town of Alabama, is circulating petitions opposing the roundabout.

Each person who attended Wednesday’s hearing received a comment form which they can fill out and send to the DOT in Rochester.

Guerrein said the DOT will carefully read all the comments before moving forward. The next planned step would then be an environmental hearing in early 2019 to accept any further comments. The design phase would be completed in the summer of 2019, with construction scheduled to begin in the spring of 2020.  

Roundabouts are proven to substantially reduce the severity of accidents, Alden said. Typically, they provide an 80-percent reduction in serious accidents, he said.

The final decision on building the roundabout will be made by the chief engineer of the State DOT in Albany, said Frank Billittier, regional design engineer.

(Photo below: Wesley Alden, assistant regional design engineer with the State DOT, takes comments from residents opposed to the construction of a roundabout at Route 77 and Ledge Road in the Town of Alabama during a public information hearing Wednesday night.)

November 9, 2018 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, Alabama, dot, roundabout.

Public Notice

The NYS Dept. of Transportation will have a public information meeting at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Alabama Fire Department Recreation Hall, 2230 Judge Road, Alabama.

This meeting is open to the public and will provide information regarding the proposed roundabout at the Ledge/Alleghany Road intersection.

May 27, 2016 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, accident, batavia.

Debris from an accident in the Oak Street Roundabout is causing some havoc, with popped tires and slowed traffic.

Earlier, Batavia PD had responded to a fender-bender in the roundabout and after this current incident was reported, he confirmed there was very little debris from that accident and it was cleaned up, so this debris is apparently from a later, unreported accident.

A Sheriff's patrol came through and reported a good deal of debris in the roundabout and "people are popping their tires."

There's a disabled semi-truck and two passenger vehicles have pulled into a nearby parking lot, coincidentally, perhaps, a tire shop.

May 23, 2015 - 10:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, batavia, Vibrant Batavia.

traficcircleflowersmay232015.jpg

Mary Valle and Paula Miller were at the Oak Street roundabout this morning planting flowers. The project is sponsored by Vibrant Batavia.

September 14, 2013 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, Bethany, genesee county libertarian party.

Press release:

The United States Constitution was crafted to protect the rights of individuals. An Eminent Domain clause was entered into the 5th Amendment to protect individual property owners from seizure of their property without the just cause of “public use,” and not without "just compensation."

We at the Genesee County Libertarian Party (GCLP) stand firmly against the seizure of the Douglas family home in East Bethany, NY. There can be no "just compensation" for a family who is forced to sell their home against their wishes. This violation of rights affects all taxpayers as well, since there is no justice in forcing said taxpayers to compensate property owners for a theft committed by bureaucratic means.

While it may be so that a roundabout will reduce the chances of accidents at this particular intersection, the GCLP believes that there are less expensive, and less intrusive solutions available to the NYS DOT which would could help alleviate this issue, while still respecting the individual rights of its citizens.

The GCLP urges the NYS DOT to explore those options, save the taxpayers undue expenses, and offer the Douglas family the security of knowing they are safe from government eviction.

September 13, 2013 - 9:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, Bethany, Suicide Corners.

Town of Bethany residents heard for the first time Thursday night details from Department of Transportation officials on their plans to build a roundabout at Suicide Corners.

There were dozens of citizens in the room. None seemed to favor the roundabout proposal, even after a stats-packed presentation by the state's leading specialist on roundabouts.

"Yeah, something needs to be done, but I don't believe spending that much money is the way to go," said resident Jeff Bloomberg. "I think there are cheaper alternatives."

DOT officials said they looked at all of the alternatives -- from rumble strips to four-way stops -- and concluded a roundabout, at a cost of $2.6 million, is the only solution that addresses all of the issues that have contributed to so many accidents at the intersection.

Where East Road and Route 20 meet, there is a hill to the west that provides less than ideal visibility while a driver looking to the east can see for up to a mile.

Ironically, nearly all the crashes involve cars and trucks coming from the east.

"People get fixated on the hill and even though they can see a mile down the road (to the east), they miss the car 100 feet away," said DOT Project Engineer Eric Thompson (inset photo).

For the study period, going back to the 1990s, there have been 36 total crashes at the intersection and three fatal accidents. There have been 18 right-angle crashes (meaning cross traffic) and 14 of those have involved westbound vehicles.

The agency has tried widening the intersection, adding more signs and adding bigger signs, but nothing, Thompson said, has really improved the intersection much.

There isn't much you can do about inattentive drivers other than slow them down and lessen the chances of right-angle impacts, officials said.

A roundabout does that.

Rich Schell (second photo), the state's roundabout specialist, said that on a nationwide basis, roundabouts have reduced accidents where they've been installed by nearly 40 percent. The number of injury crashes by 76 percent and the number of fatal accidents by 89 percent.

Colorado is one of the nation's leaders, with 200 roundabouts now, in installing such intersections.

Schell referred repeatedly a DOT-installed roundabout in Mendon. The intersection, like Suicide Corners, is rural and involves a heavily trafficked highway with a lot of truck traffic.

During one woman's comments, Schell again pointed to the Mendon roundabout and the woman snapped, "I'm tired of hearing about Mendon. Let's talk about here."

"Well, I like to talk about success," Schell said.

The most serious accidents at Route 20 and East Road involve either northbound cars blowing right through the intersection or making a rolling stop and then continuing.

Only a roundabout, Schell said, addresses both of those issues.

Schell played a video of at least a dozen accidents at intersections that had red light cameras installed. Repeatedly, cars didn't even slow as they approached the red light, even with tractor-trailers in their path or four or five cars crossing in front of them.

"Red light cameras do not save lives," Schell said.

There's simply no device that can be installed at an intersection that solves the problem of distracted drivers. 

"Everybody has had the experience of driving through an intersection and saying, 'Damn, I just ran a red light,' " Schell said. "A roundabout demands your attention and that is what's needed at this intersection."

Rumble strips might slow drivers, but that still doesn't mean they will be as attentive as they should be at the intersection. Rumble strips would not have saved the driver in one accident at the intersection who came to a rolling stop before proceeding.

Many area residents who have seen the roundabout at Oak Street question the raised red-brick median in the middle of the intersection. People have called it a design flaw and implied it's not well thought out.

The raised center serves a very important purpose, Schell explained after the meeting.

"That's important to keep cars from straightening out the curve and going 40 miles per hour through there," Schell said. "Curves dictate speed. There's a direct relationship. People don't like to hear their tires squeal, so putting a curb out there allows trucks to still get through but deflects cars and lowers their speed. Lowering speed is what it's all about."

Slower cars give drivers a better chance at driving defensively and more reaction time to avoid drivers who are ignoring the rules of the road, Schell said.

Even after Schell's presentation and a more than 30 minute question and answer period, the public speakers were uniformly opposed to the roundabout proposal.

"I am dismayed that the only solution that seems to be, at least according to the NY DOT, is a roundabout," said County Legislator Esther Leadley.

There was a sense, people said, that the decision has already been made.

"I think this meeting has been educational and it's got a lot of information," Frank Morris said. "I do think the DOT has turned a blind eye to everything but a roundabout. This meeting is just a formality. Your minds were all made up before we came in here. The input we put in here tonight, I don't believe it was welcomed and I don't believe it was taken seriously."

To some degree the very proposal of a roundabout can be traced back to a petition Tom and Debbie Douglas passed around several years ago.

And that's ironic, Tom Douglas (top photo) noted, because if the roundabout is built, it is his home that will be destroyed.

A firefighter, Douglas is all about safety, but he doesn't believe a roundabout is the logical next step for the DOT, not before rumble strips are tried.

"A simple solution, that I brought to you before, is rumble strips," Douglas said. "In 2004, I was standing right outside, on my front law and I watched that vehicle on East Road. I could see them. I heard the Jake brake. They were talking, having a conversation. They never even touched a brake. A rumble strip would have woken them up."

The couple has raised five children in their more than 200-year-old home. Even though DOT officials promise to do everything possible to find them a suitable replacement home to their liking, that's easier said than done, Douglas noted after the meeting.

He likes older homes, but doesn't want to repeat the massive amount of restoration work and expense he's already put into his house.

The house was once a road stop for weary travelers on historic Route 20.

Dave Carley, a town resident and architect noted that Route 20 was once the longest continuous highway in the nation. It's history goes back even further than English settlements.

The former tavern is more than just a building inconveniently located for new construction.

"It is a piece of our historical heritage in our town," Carley said. "(Tearing it down is) one of the things that happen and continues to happen across the country that we should not allow to happen. It's a beautiful old building."

UPDATE: There is a Facebook group now, Save the Douglas Home in East Bethany.

Dave Fleenor

October 19, 2011 - 6:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, Bethany, transportation, Route 20, Suicide Corners.

Suicide Corners has a reputation, and as the name implies, it's not a good one.

While accidents may not be frequent where East Road crosses Route 20, when they have occurred -- at least until a few years ago -- they've been deadly.

There were fatal accidents at the intersection in June 1998, April 1999 and June 2004. One was a triple fatal and another a double fatal.

After the 2004 accidents, Bethany residents gathered 2,633 signatures asking the NYS Department of Transportation to do something about the intersection.

Their thought -- regrade Route 20.

The state's response: No physical changes to the roadway were necessary. The DOT put up bigger and brighter signs.

There hasn't been a fatal accident at the intersection since, only fender-benders, according to Tom Douglas. He said accidents have been reduced by 36 percent.

Douglas, who with his wife, Debbie, raised six kids in a 200-year-old house (formerly an inn with a second-story dance floor) on property abutting Suicide Corners.  He and his son personally witnessed the 2004 accident, which claimed the life of an infant and two other people (inset photo from the memorial on a pole across East Road from the Douglas residence).

Now, seven years after the last fatal accident, DOT officials have apparently decided it's time to take more drastic measures to make the intersection safer.

The proposal: A $1.8 million traffic circle, a roundabout like the one on Oak Street in the City of Batavia.

If the project is approved, Tom and Debbie Douglas will lose their home. The state will seize their property through eminent domain (providing fair market value and relocation expenses).

About a quarter of the traffic circle will be on their current property, with the roadway through the area moving moved southward several dozens of feet.

Tom Douglas said not only will his family lose their home, a home with some local history, he doesn't believe the project serves any useful purpose.

"Statistically," he said, "It's not needed."

Lori Maher, public information officer for the DOT in the Genesee Region, said what the DOT is looking at is the entire history of the intersection, not just the past few years.

"That (no fatalities since 2004) doesn't mean that the problem is corrected and we should walk away from it, so we are pursuing a safety improvement program," Maher said.

But she said that doesn't mean the state will necessarily build a roundabout and that the Douglases will lose their home.

The proper corrective action is still under review and state engineers may yet determine that a roundabout is not the best solution (weighing, in fact, the serious decision of proceeding with eminent domain on the Douglas property).

The project, however, has been funded for construction to begin in the summer of 2013.

There will be public meetings and ample time for the public to provide feedback on the project, Maher said, but because fact-finding is not yet completed, no dates for those hearings have been set.

Douglas, town building inspector (Debbie is town clerk) and Bethany Town Supervisor Louis Gayton also question the wisdom of spending money on a roundabout when the Bethany Town Center Road bridge over Route 20 is in such drastic need of replacement or repair. Chunks of it regularly fall off onto Route 20.

"One of these days, somebody is going to get injured," Douglas said.

The main issue, Douglas said, isn't the traffic on Route 20. It's drivers on East Road, mostly northbound drivers, blowing through the intersection.

Douglas and others have suggested rumble strips on East Road, but both the state and the county highway department have rejected the idea as impractical.

"They think people will just drive around them," Douglas said. "But if they're driving around them, they're slowing down. It would still alert them to the intersection."

Gayton wonders if the roundabout will even improve safety.

"Trucks come through there at 60 to 65 mph," Gayton said. "Now they've got to slow down to 15 mph. I don't need to tell you what will happen."

Tim Hens, the county's highway superintendent, in an email sent Monday to county legislators obtained by Douglas, also questioned the DOT's decision.

This is not set in stone yet as it has to muster a public review process and final board adoption, but if adopted, we stand to lose funding for three bridge projects in the immediate TIP period covering 2011-14. This may only be the tip of the iceberg if new transportation reauthorization is not clear by the end of the year.

I did find it odd that they decided to keep the NEW Rt 20/East Rd (Suicide Corners) roundabout in the plan versus EXISTING bridges that are deteriorating. I know there has been loss of life at this corner, but not sure the roundabout is a popular solution with many local people.

Maher said, however, that the funding sources for bridges are different than the funding sources for intersection improvements. If an improvement -- roundabout or not -- for Suicide Corners isn't approved, then the $1.8 million slated for the project will just go to another intersection in the Genesee Region in need of improvement.

Sheriff Gary Maha, who attended a May 24 meeting with the DOT where the plan was first presented said he will leave the decision about how to improve safety to the experts, but he does know the state is increasingly using roundabouts throughout the state to improve safety on major roadways. He just visited two in Saratoga Springs.

"There's been a lot of serious accidents there over the years," Maha said. "I support anything that could improve safety in the area, certainly."

February 20, 2011 - 5:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, Oak Street.

A police officer has been dispatched to the Oak Street roundabout to check on a report of a tan sedan going in circles through the roundabout, repeatedly, at a high rate of speed.

December 5, 2010 - 4:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, roundabout.

A hit-and-run accident with injuries has been reported in the area of South Main and the roundabout, Batavia.

Police are on scene and Mercy EMS is arriving.

No description provided of the suspect vehicle.

UPDATE 5:24 p.m.: A second ambulance requested to the scene. Still no description available on the suspect vehicle. It sounds like there might have been a total of three vehicles involved.

UPDATE 5:48 p.m.: It sounds like a Monte Carlo is being impounded.

November 3, 2010 - 2:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, accident, roundabout, Oak Street.

mustang_roundabout.jpgThe man who owns a silver Mustang involved in a one-car accident on the edge of the Oak Street roundabout last week says he wasn't driving the car at the time of the accident.

The driver fled the scene.

There were two witnesses of the driver running from the car, according to Officer Ed Mileham, but neither witness could positively identify the driver after looking at photo line ups.

"Right now, it's just an unauthorized use," Mileham said.

The owner of the car reported it stolen the morning after the accident.

The name of vehicle owner has not been released.

bollard

 For all you land lubbers, sand crabs and scalliwags........here be a bollard. Arrggg

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 
March 26, 2010 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, roundabout.

A medical condition appears to be the cause of an accident Wednesday afternoon that left three poles -- called bollards -- splayed across the sidewalk next to the Oak Street Roundabout.

A 66-year-old woman turned herself in after learning from Attica Police that she had knocked down the bollards. She thought she had merely driven over a curb.

The Batavia woman's doctor recently changed her medication for diabetes and the woman told police she became drowsy.

The Batavian agreed not to release her name because it was a private medical condition and there were no citations issued.

The woman was coming off Pearl Street and drove up onto the curb just before she normally would have entered the roundabout.

The bollards are decorative posts meant to guide traffic along the roundabout. No word on the estimated cost of the damage.

Wikipedia defines bollard:

A bollard is a short vertical post. Originally it only meant a post used on a quay for mooring. The word now also describes a variety of structures to control or direct road traffic, such as posts arranged in a line to obstruct the passage of motor vehicles.

March 24, 2010 - 1:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, roundabout, accidents.

roundaboutaccident.jpg

Batavia Police are looking for a blue color SUV that lost its wheel well and has damage to its right front bumper after striking sign posts in the roundabout and driving off.

The car was last seen heading south on Walnut Street.

UPDATE: Sign posts weren't struck down -- light poles were -- three of them coming off of Pearl Street into the roundabout. It looks like the driver never even entered the roundabout, but drove through the median coming off of Pearl and onto the parkway, then off onto Walnut. One of the light poles was dragged a good 80 feet.

December 10, 2009 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, roundabout.

roundabout_batavia.jpg

I keep hearing all over town -- "they're never going to be able to plow that thing," or "I can't wait to see a plow try to go through that thing."

Well, when I stopped by about an hour ago, it was plowed and a truck was even making it through.

I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens when there's real snow accumulation.

Also, below, picture of a woman in Batavia shoveling her walk.

shoveling_batavia.jpg

November 6, 2009 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, roundabout, John Gardner, Oak Street.

roundabout.jpg

Work crews were planting plants in the middle of the Oak Street Roundabout today, which reminded me of a few conversations I've had around town recently -- what to put in the middle of the roundabout? Mere plants won't do.

There should be something important and meaningful there.

And in thinking about it -- it's Batavia, it's Oak Street -- what would be more meaningful and appropriate than a statue of John Gardner, and perhaps the word "LOVE"?

So there's a suggestion: Let's get a committee together, raise some money and make it a little shrine to Batavia's most famous literary figure.

October 28, 2009 - 7:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, roundabout.

Batavia will finally get to see what a roundabout is all about starting Friday when construction of the Walnut Street project is finally finished.

No more construction cones or workers holding up traffic. Drivers will be able to navigate through the circle in real time and see if they like how traffic flows.

The roundabout will be closed Friday Thursday from 5 to 7 a.m. for a final repaving, and then the route will open Friday morning with no fanfare -- no ribbon-cutting, no speeches, no coffeecake and donuts -- you can just drive on it.

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