Monday, December 21, 2015
Saturday, December 12, 2015
During the past months I have held back from looking at the intersection numbers along the [Burlington, VT Champlain] Parkway because quite frankly they do not reach the levels found on our busier streets and in particular the North Avenue highest trafficked section--VT 127 to Ethan Allen Parkway--which do reach near the limit of the single lane roundabout. (Compared to any signal or signs at busy intersections, the single lane roundabout drops vehicle occupant, walk, and bicyclist serious and fatal injuries about 90%.)
The current and 2028 numbers for each street section and each intersection are readily available in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) traffic chapter for the Champlain Parkway on the Department of Public Works website.
Still looking at the Pine/Maple intersection where anyone familiar with that intersection well knows waiting 5-7 minutes going north on Pine during the afternoon peak is routine. Good time to get some internet time when on the Montpelier-Burlington Link!
Still, a detailed look at the p.m. peak hours at the Maple/Pine intersection for 2028 with the new signal as planned there dismays. Why? Well, the traffic numbers 13 years hence are slightly above those today at Montpelier's downtown roundabout, Keck Circle, where peak hour delay a.m. and p.m. can be counted on a hand with three fingers.
Yes, a roundabout--checked out by one of the foremost roundabout designers in the world as part of the AARP Workshop in September 2013 as both workable and feasible--would likely delay the average vehicle on a Friday drive time about 5-6 seconds in what is called "stop delay." This is not a fairy tale, the Parkway consultant, CHA will tell your their Keene, N.H. Main Street roundabout dropped the Winchester Street leg adjacent to Keene State College from six minutes to six seconds during drive times compared to a proposed signal.
What in the world is wrong with our Department of Public Works that it will not install a roundabout at Pine/Maple next spring at the 10% of the cost of the Pine/Lakeside signal upgrade of $419,000? Why not?
A traffic signal at Pine/Maple--part of the current Parkway design--will likely delay an average vehicle 20-30 seconds, about ten times the wait time at a roundabout there. What is far, far worse, the signal will generate more crashes and injuries over and above the four-way stop now in place (the four-way stop, next to the roundabout the safest intersection). So the signal promises a 20-30 second wait for everyone (pedestrians face no significant delay today) as well as an extra crash and injury or two each year. Why?
Burlington already has the "dirty 17" intersections (13 signalized) averaging a pedestrian injury each per year and so the City in its wisdom clearly is on a crash course to install another signalized intersection (one of five new ones on the Parkway) sure to add to the City's transportation unsafety. Why?
(The message above sent to the Commissioners of the Department of Public Works does not mention the tens of thousands of gallons of fuel saved and associated pollutants deduced, scenic quality, etc.)
Champlain Parkway: Stop! Re-Evaluate! Re-Imagine!