22nd Avenue Roundabout is an impediment to College Street traffic flow

March 27th, 2019 by Ken

It’s too late to do anything about it.  The City of Lacey has gone out for bids on the construction of a new Roundabout on College and 22nd Avenue.

For a decade or more, the city has wanted to redo College Street for the purpose of improving traffic flow, adding better sidewalks, creating bike lanes, and eliminating left turns.   That effort will be underway shortly and will take 340 construction days to finish this first phase. 

That particular Roundabout is unnecessary and will be nothing but an impediment to traffic flow once constructed.

Lets talk first about what it will do to traffic flow when it’s under construction.  Access to Mt. View Elementary School will be severely impacted.  Parents will no longer be able to access the school from College Street.   More significantly is that school buses will have a more difficult time exiting onto College.  Students using the College Street signal will be impacted and students walking down the street will be impacted.   I’ve brought this issue to the attention of the city and the school district.  They assure me they have things under control.

Traffic will also back up on College while the Roundabout is under construction.  College is already the busiest street in the city and traffic often backs up for a dozen blocks at certain times of the day.  During construction, that will be a continuous process.   In addition, traffic will be routed down Golf Club Road, Judd Street and Ruddell Road.  Golf Club and Judd are in residential areas and not used to thousands of cars.   City official tell me “that’s the price we have to pay for improving traffic flow.”

I’ve argued for years that a Roundabout on 22nd isn’t needed.  That 22nd is NOT a major street.  It only runs for four blocks from Sleater-Kinney to Ruddell Road.  I’ve lost that argument.

But – the real problem comes when the Roundabout is finished.  Roundabouts make for a continuous flow of traffic. Red Lights stop traffic. A continuous flow makes it extremely difficult to pull out on College. Red lights leave pulses when those of us living on College can pull out into traffic.

Mt. View school children cross College at a pedestrian Red Light, which will be less than 200 feet from the Roundabout.  Everyone knows that a red light within two blocks of a Roundabout, causes significant trouble.  Traffic often backs up into the Roundabout when the light is red. 

Mt. View has taught its students to cross College only at the Red Light.  It is ingrained in every student.  When activated, that light will back up traffic on College  through the Roundabout, and for a dozen blocks both ways.  It will back up traffic on 22nd and into the back school parking lot.

There’s nothing those of us who send our kids to Mt. View or who use College on a regular basis can do about it now. It’s too late. I just hope that the city and the school district really do have things under control.

Posted in The Real News

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