- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The article in the Friday, March 6, 2009, Los Alamos Monitor failed to elaborate on the problems roundabouts pose for the following five categories of pedestrians: children, the less fleet of foot (whom much of the documentation calls elderly), the visually and cognitively impaired and those who travel via wheel chairs or mobility scooters.
Children and the cognitively impaired can’t always accurately judge traffic speeds. The elderly need a much larger traffic gap. Those who use wheel chairs or mobility scooters are harder to see. The visually handicapped rely heavily on traffic sounds at intersections controlled by signals and stop signs. With good skills they should be able to arrive at an unfamiliar intersection and should be able to cross without special, intersection-specific training.
If this is not the case, then the intersection is inaccessible and is not allowed under the ADA. Accommodating the above by using pedestrian activated signals at roundabouts would have a serious impact on traffic flow (level of service). However, the current signalized intersections create gaps that allow pedestrians to cross mid-block via well constructed islands. Keeping Trinity a four-lane road with landscaping, bike lanes, better constructed islands, protected left turns and decent sidewalks would be a great improvement as long as the entire length of Trinity from DP Road to Diamond Drive is upgraded.
Another upgrade only from DP Road to Oppenheimer, ignoring the apartments and businesses between Oppenheimer and Diamond Drive, should be unacceptable to the council.
Finally, many who are opposed to roundabouts are opposed, not because we “hate” them or because they are “new” or “different”, but because we see limitations that do not always make them the answer to pedestrian access. They cut down on serious t-bone accidents, and they do calm traffic.
However, it is more expensive to make them as safe for the five categories of pedestrians described above than just to maintain crosswalks at the current signalized intersections and adding a signalized crossing between Oppenheimer and Diamond Drive.