There are over 3,000 roundabouts in the U.S. and a new one is being built every day, according to Lafayette city engineer Tony Coe.
But no one will be building a roundabout in Lafayette any time soon, if the public have a say in it.
More than 50 residents crowded the Lafayette Library Community Hall Monday to discuss the proposed plan for medians and roundabouts on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The city council ultimately did not make a definitive decision about the project, and it will be continued to another meeting.
The plan, which was recently seen by both the , would include new medians and a roundabout on the east end of Mt. Diablo Boulevard.
City engineer Tony Coe presented the project to the city council, which was followed by a long public comment session.
Many members of the public were concerned about the effect the roundabout would have on traffic in the area, along with the effect of the medians on business viability. Multiple business managers and property owners came out to discuss the potential negative impact of the roundabout and the medians, including Gerald MacPherson, who owns property on Mt. Diablo Boulevard.
“The change by the city to put in a solid median is going to significantly change the viability of our business at that location,” MacPherson said.
“I don’t think there’s been any economic impact study done on the businesses in this particular area and I think it needs to be done before this kind of thing is approved,” he continued.
Some suggested that pedestrians at the proposed roundabout area could walk a few blocks in either direction to cross a cross walk at a signal, or that the city could look into a traffic signal for the area instead. Two new senior development projects were recently approved in the studied area, prompting the look at traffic calming measures.
Other residents expressed concern about the cost of maintenance that the project might create. Both the medians and the roundabout would have landscaping, which would be maintained by the city.
There were a few members of the public who supported the plan, and said they wished to see a more aesthetically pleasing and walkable area on the east end of Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Amanda Walter said that she approved of the project, and thought that the additional shade features and traffic calming measures would make it a much more pedestrian and bike-friendly area of town.
In general, the city council seemed split on the plan. Council member Mike Anderson was concerned that they were not getting support from the public, and wanted to put the project aside. Council member Carl Anduri, however, said he thought it was time to make that part of downtown more pedestrian-friendly, and approved of the project.
The city council ultimately asked staff to come back to them with an alternate plan for the intersection, along with more information, at the September 24 city council meeting.