End the Roundabout Construction
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We the people of Spencer County and surrounding areas, hereby suggest that INDOT forgo their construction of a roundabout at the intersection of HWY 66 and Orchard Rd. The stoplight ensures that students will remain safe on the roads (provided they obey the rules of the road). A roundabout would be an expensive venture that inhibits traffic, confuses drivers, and is completely unnecessary.
A few years ago, there was a tragic accident; since then the speed limits have been decreased and a stoplight has been put into place. INDOT originally declared that there was not enough traffic to warrant the construction of such a light so close to the light by the gas station and the Wendy’s; however, many examples were provided to INDOT of areas where lights like this one did exist and the light was constructed. I ask you, if there was not enough traffic for there to be a stoplight what warrants an entire roundabout? The answer INDOT provides is that it will enhance safety.
While, statistically speaking, roundabouts are safer than stop light intersections many students, and members of the community are unfamiliar with roundabout traffic procedures. This will cause confusion and become an added expenditure to educating the public and students on traffic protocol. It was also stated that the roundabout will force drivers to slow down, and that the lessened speed limits are easy to ignore. I know for a fact stubborn/reckless drivers are not going to care what the suggested speed limit is, and they will see just how fast they can take this roundabout. At least with a stop light you are told when to stop and when to go; the only judgement on the driver’s end is when they will have enough time to make a turn (especially a right on red). The roundabout does not limit this; in fact, in increases the decision on the driver’s part of when they should enter the roundabout. If one is reckless enough to cut off traffic turning at a stoplight, do you believe they will hesitate to cut off traffic in a “slower” moving roundabout?
Local businesses, particularly the Orchard, will suffer while Orchard road is closed during the summer (peach season) for construction. That orchard has anywhere from 200-300 cars a day of customers. I am sure some of their business is from people passing through Reo from Evansville or Owensboro; while peaches may sound good, will those passerbys squander their precious time trying to navigate a detour just to get some delicious peaches? There are also other businesses along Orchard Rd that will be isolated from routine traffic flow. Farm equipment that is over 16ft wide will not be able to drive around the roundabout and must detour. This may not seem like a bad ideal but think about how slow tractors and combines move and how poor of gas mileage they have.
What are complaints without solutions, though? I do not have any one “right” answer but a plethora of ideas and theories. Take the 2 million dollars that would be spent on this round about and enhance current road and drainage conditions. If safety is the real concern, eliminate the ability to turn right onto HWY 66 from Orchard Rd during a red light. Is this truly a safety issue or is this an issue of pride: “We were the ones that got that roundabout put there.” I challenge INDOT to survey our traffic accident rate at this intersection; I challenge them not to rush into spending our hard-earned, tax payers’ dollars on an unnecessary roundabout that hinders traffic, confuses drivers, and causes construction that negatively impacts the businesses and lives of our community. I would feel better knowing that INDOT took years to monitor our traffic rates and accident history in this area before rushing into such an expensive project. Please stand with me today, sign, and ask INDOT to choose their No Build Solution.
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