Twinsburg Officials Battling Opposition to Roundabouts
Despite city and consultants saying they are safer and keep traffic flowing, many residents believe plans for two roundabouts on Darrow Road will make driving the road more dangerous and congested.
Twinsburg officials and consultants wanted to deliver a simple message Wednesday about roundabouts: Data shows they are safer and keep traffic flowing better than traditional intersections.
The problem? Most of the residents who attended a public meeting at Dodge Intermediate School didn't buy it.
Councilman Ted Yates, who led the presentation for the city, told concerned residents that city council also still has questions about the plans and that it's not a "done deal."
"Nothing has been finalized in terms of where we're moving with this project," Yates said. "We wouldn't be holding these types of meetings if it was a done deal."
City officials said they weren't happy with an open house held in October to discuss plans for two roundabouts planned for Darrow Road. So the city held Wednesday's meeting to clear up confusion about the plan and make the case that roundabouts would improve traffic flow up and down Darrow.
The plan is to build two roundabouts on Darrow Road, the first at Glenwood Drive and the second at Meadowood Boulevard and Ethan's Drive. The project is expected to cost about $8 million, with the city paying about $1.6 million and the rest paid for with grants.
City Engineer Amy Mohr said the plan is to build the roundabouts one at a time. The Glenwood intersection would be redone first, with construction expected to begin in 2014. It could take another three years of planning and right-of-way acquisition before the second roundabout is built.
On Wednesday, residents viewed a presentation and watched a video explaining how to drive through the circular intersection.
Ed Franks, the project manager with with engineering firm GPD Group, said roundabouts will calm traffic, resulting in lower speeds, make the intersections more visually appealing and reduce city costs, since signals won't have to be maintained.
But residents, especially those who live in developments near these intersections, said they think the roundabouts will make it more difficult to get onto Darrow Road and more dangerous for pedestrians.
Instead, they say the road should be widened and improved with stop-lighted traditional intersections.
City officials acknowledged the disconnect, saying that it will take time to get used to the plans and that the roundabouts, if built, will have a "learning curve."
For now, city officials and consultants are finalizing a list of questions and answers prepared from the October open house. Those will be publicly available in a few days.