Cornwall traffic circle needs study if roundabouts go ahead

This City of Cornwall diagram on Sunday Nov. 29, 2015 shows one of the two roundabouts proposed during reconstruction of Lemay Street. The head of the city's infrastructure planning tells Cornwall Newswatch the future makeup of the Rotary Traffic Circle will have to be looked at if the roundabouts on Lemay go ahead. (City of Cornwall via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – The head of Cornwall’s infrastructure says the rules and makeup of the Rotary Traffic Circle will need to be looked at if two roundabouts are added on Lemay Street.

An Ottawa engineering firm, Aecon Engineering, is currently reviewing public comments on the proposed $3.5 million reconstruction of Lemay Street, east of Thirteenth Street.

It would add roundabouts at Lemay and Sydney and Lemay at McConnell.

A final report will come to city council, likely in the next two months.

Infrastructure Planning Division Manager Stephen Wintle told Cornwall Newswatch there has been internal discussions about the Rotary Traffic Circle.

“Personally, making it a roundabout is the right way to go because people are starting to understand how roundabouts work and to have a roundabout and a traffic circle in the same municipality would be very confusing,” Wintle said.

But the big challenge is the circle is too big to convert it by adding some paint and signs.

“According to our transportation engineer, the geometry of that current circle doesn’t lend itself well to being converted. In other words, it isn’t just change the signs and, presto, you’ve got a roundabout,” he said.

Wintle said they are researching whether there are other municipalities that have converted circles to roundabouts.

With the Federal Bridge Corporation’s planned rebuilding of Brookdale Avenue from Water to Seventh Streets, Wintle suggested they might wait to make changes at the same time.

Wintle said they are also looking at some “big picture thinking” and all options will be explored, which may include getting rid of the circle altogether.

Though Wintle said eliminating it would be tough because many people see it as a “focal point” in the community, with the flower gardens and flag poles.

“Our next step is to figure out what we’re going to do, with the circle. I don’t think we should introduce a roundabout (on Lemay Street) and have the confusion of a traffic circle. I think we’ve got to look at some opportunity to change the geometry or change something,” Wintle said.

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