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Roundabouts Q&A With City Engineer Amy Mohr

Twinsburg Patch took some time to ask Twinsburg's City Engineer Amy Mohr to address some questions and concerns residents have with the State Route 91 project

With all the talk about roundabouts and road construction on State Route 91 lately, it can be easy to get confused about what's going on. Twinsburg Patch talked with Twinsburg Engineer Amy Mohr to get answers to the most common questions folks ask.

Twinsburg Patch: Is the SR 91 project with roundabouts a "done deal?"

Amy Mohr: I have approval to move forward with the roundabout at the Glenwood intersection, which is Phase I. Before they make the decision about Meadowood Drive, they want to make sure everything is functioning the way they feel is good and get everyone acclimated in the area. We're moving forward on Phase I, which is the Glenwood/SR 91 area.

TP: Will this project require another vote from city council?

AM: It won't require a vote but I've been taking this to council at every stage. The next vote that will be required will be when we award a contract for construction. I've been taking everything to council so they're aware of what's going on and usually ask for a motion of support.

TP: This roundabout is being compared to the one in Green. How similar are they, especially in regards to traffic volume?

AM: Very similar. Green has four different legs that come to the roundabout and one is lighter in traffic. The other three pass more traffic in a nine-hour period than Twinsburg would have. On their state route they will pass more traffic than we would on SR 91, so they're very comparable. With our fourth leg, which is more balanced, we end up with a few hundred more cars in that nine-hour period. If you watch their video, it's very realistic to what Twinsburg would experience.

TP: Has anyone addressed the business owners near the SR 91/Glenwood Drive intersection about this project?

AM: They've received stakeholder letters. was at the public meeting and spoke with people along with the property owner of the dentist's office, but we need to sit down with them in more detail because they'll see the most impact. As we move into construction we'll notify everyone with the traffic plan and how it will work. But everyone in that corridor has received a few letters about what is going on.

TP: Won’t a roundabout make it tough or dangerous for cars pulling out onto Darrow Road?

AM: It won't be any worse than it is now. Your traffic volumes are still the same and you'll still have to wait for a gap, but they will occur.

TP: Many people seem to think widening the road and a left turn lane would be better. Why not build that instead of a roundabout?

AM: In 2008, when we started the review of this, Federal Highway had put out a directive that for safety reasons, when reconstructing a road or intersection, you should examine the use of roundabouts, because studies show they're safer. They reduce the number of fatalities, injury accidents, and statistically the number of accidents at an intersection. We want to make sure we have the safest mode of operation out there.

TP: Would a traffic signal be safer for pedestrians rather than a roundabout?

AM: There are more conflict points for a pedestrian with a traffic signal. People are used to looking both ways at traffic signals or stop signs. In this case, you only look in one direction because there's only one way cars are coming. We put all the safety measures into the roundabout design for pedestrian traffic such as road-splitters, signage and lights. Editor's Note: Splitter islands provide a pedestrian refuge between the inbound and outbound traffic lanes.

TP: How will large vehicles like semi-trucks be able to safely negotiate a roundabout?

AM: It's designed for them. The radius won't be too tight and there's a truck apron in the center if they need it to put those back wheels on and it's designed for that purpose.

TP: If people don’t know how to use roundabouts, won’t it cause more accidents?

AM: A roundabout is an intersection just like any other. If you want to turn left at an intersection, you put yourself in the left lane. If I'm going right, I get in the right lane. Human error is going to be the only wild card out there, and like any roadway, you need to be aware of what others are doing. It's the same set up as any intersection, but it's the newness and uncertainty that causes apprehension. Just like you would any other time, use your signal and pay attention to the other drivers around you.

More State Route 91 coverage:

Coming Soon: How do people most affected feel about this contreversial project?

Scott Darpel March 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
So, I guess that seals it. We're going forward without understanding the full impact on the traffic turning left onto 91 from the side streets and Deer Run. I do agree with Ms. Mohr in that turning left against any 4 lane design will be tough. I'm just disappointed that the firm can't answer this basic question. Mark my words, we will see an increase in accidents in front of Deer Run. Those of us around Sherwin-Warren Parkway can always exit onto Glenwood from Gary. Just understand that any gas savings that will be seen by the use of the roundabout will be absorbed by us having to us more to go way out of our way. By the way, I like roundabouts. I just don't like not being given concrete answers to simple questions that should have been addressed by this firm.
Scott Darpel March 19, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I went back and looked at the roundabout at Rt 241 & Streese Rd in Green, and it doesn't appear, to me, to be that similar. Perhaps from the traffic volume perspective, and I have no doubt that Ms. Mohr's numbers are right there. I just don't see major side streets, or anything like a major apartment complex within ~200 feet of the circle. I suppose you could always extend Vail Dr to Darrow Park Rd (inside Deer Run), or put a driveway out to Post Rd.....That would give the complex an drive way not onto 91. Of course, just like those of us on Sherwin/Warren Parkway, it requires them ot go out of their way. So, please, don't tell me this will make my life better.
ScottRAB March 23, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit www.iihs.org for FAQs and safety facts. Total crashes will reduce by 20 to 30 percent. Fatal crashes will be almost impossible except for an intoxicated person that drives straight into it. The modern roundabout's 20 mph operational speed is transformative for safety due to the ability of all users to interact much better.
Scott Darpel March 23, 2012 at 09:39 PM
k, Scott, one more time: I am not conconcerned about the main, rouncabout interesection. I am concerned about the impact of constant traffic flow on left hand turn traffic further south on 91, especially near Deer Run apartments. I will concede that the intersection of Glenwood & 91 WILL likely be safer. What I'm telling you, and what NO ONE has been able to SHOW me (mathimatically/statistically) that there will be no greater problem for left hand turns. They CAN'T show me because they did not consider it. My concern is not emmotional or based on opinion. It is based on the FACT that this traffic was NOT considered. Therefore, you can site everyone else's statistics about generic roundabouts, but you still cannot tell me, for a fact, what is so.

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