South Stormont is looking into the feasibility of replacing the Moulinette Road – County Road #2 traffic lights with a roundabout. The announcement has resulted in an understandable concern by some residents in the community as it would be a major shift from what folks are used to.
Are roundabouts good or bad? I did some checking and discovered that contrary to having a negative outcome, the introduction of a roundabout would bring a number of benefits. Here’s what popped up, the information coming from transportation departments and insurance research studies.
Roundabouts reduce accidents by 37%. They reduce accidents with injuries by 75%. They reduce accidents with fatalities by 90%. It occurs to me that these three statistics alone make for a strong argument in favour of roundabouts.
There’s more. Roundabouts increase the ability of an intersection to handle traffic by 30%, a welcome relief to local residents and visitors alike on a summer weekend. And, from an environmental perspective, traffic is constantly moving as opposed to drivers experiencing long delays at a traffic light, effectively lowering needless exhaust emissions.
There is a legitimate concern about cost. However, a brief conversation with one of the engineers hired to develop the proposal revealed the following. The current traffic control system is outdated and must undergo a complete re-fit. According to him, the cost, whether it be for lights or a roundabout would be roughly the same. The benefit, of course, is that a roundabout, once established, would be significantly less costly to maintain.
Are there drawbacks? There appear to be two main ones: drivers’ learning curve and land cost. However, there are three new roundabouts in Kemptville and drivers seem to have taken them in stride. As for the land, it already belongs to the Township.
A post script to all this. A family member had an unfortunate accident at this intersection and totaled a vehicle. Had there been a roundabout back then, the accident would not have occurred. So, as residents ponder the possibility of a roundabout, let’s hope the statistics and safety factors help to ease their concerns and we can all look forward to a positive step forward.