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Some Public Calls for a Stop to Lafayette Roundabout Plan

At Monday night's city council meeting, Lafayette residents expressed their concern about a proposed roundabout and new medians on Mt. Diablo Blvd.

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.

Diane McKee August 16, 2012 at 03:07 AM
I'd like to see a diagonal crosswalk (Barnes Dance) at the intersection of Moraga and Mt. Diablo Blvd. Having all cars stopped so people could cross anyway they chose would be much safer. And, as a frequent driver through that intersection, it would be nice to be able to just move through at a green light instead of having to wait for pedestrians.
Born and Raised August 16, 2012 at 02:06 PM
If there is going to be an influx of pedestrians due to senior housing, I can't see how going to a single east/west lane roundabout would be benificial for trafffic or pedestrians. It would definitely slow traffic flow if not downright make the roundabout a choke point. As with the street light at Condit Rd and Pleasant Hill Rd it seems once again our engineering department and city council are trying to shove their twisted version of traffic control down our throats. There are ways to continue positive traffic flow and keep the town pedestrian friendly. However, then we would be like Walnut Creek and I'm not exactly thrilled with that idea either. I guess the answer is to widen the sidewalks and go to a two lane on Mt. Diablo. Talk about traffic.
David August 17, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Cars will now go down the "quiet" single lane side streets to avoid merging lanes on Mt Diablo, so much for our peaceful, quiet, safe walks off the main drag. They will short cut near Lafayette Elementary. The children of Lafayette and their safety should come first! What will happen when there is an emergency and responders get caught in the roundabout traffic, delayed medical response times? Bad idea Carl!!!
lovelafayette August 17, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Used a really attractive BIG roundabout in Berkeley today, Hopkins area where many streets come together in a spoke. It was intimidating and confusing to me and I waited a long time to enter as those obviously familiar with it went whizzing around like a speed way. I thought is was dangerous.
Lissa Sorensen August 17, 2012 at 03:38 PM
In my opinion steps need to be taken to calm traffic in this and other sections of Mount Diablo. At the moment it is a racetrack and far too noisy for people trying to dine or spend time in the park. I can't understand why people resist efforts to make an area safer, slower, less noisy. Are we violating your <<rights>> to sail through towns and neighborhoods at whatever speed you choose?
Born and Raised August 20, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Lissa, I often hear people (on the comment sections here) complain about Mt. Diablo traffic being too "fast" when in reality the 35mph speed limit is rarely broken and I believe the last traffic study done, there was an average of less than that. Certain intersections are always congested (At Happey Valley, Oak Hill and also at Moraga Blvd.) and considering Mt. Diablo is a 4 lane road, traffic still is slowed down to a crawl at "peak" times. How slow do you think traffic should be on Mt. Diablo? Which park are cars "racing" by? Certainly not "Civic Park" right at the intersection of Moraga Blvd. Nobody's asking to "sail" through Mt. Diablo but a lot of us are asking that traffic not be impeded either.
DC / Lafayette August 20, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Um...not to mention that the park was built at one of the busiest intersections in the city. Mt. Diablo, park or not, is not zoned for neighborhood traffic speeds.
Al Pecherer October 08, 2012 at 11:18 PM
How about: The roundabout proponents lay out what they wish to achieve in measurable terms with the roundabout, and those goals are approved by the city council and people of Lafayette before any changes are made. Traffic monitoring devices (those hose thingys laid out across the road that count cars) The members of the City Council who wish to have this piece of construction have one year from implementation to see if those goals are achieved. After one year, if the roundabout is successful, fine. If not, then the City Council members pay for the removal of the roundabout out of their own pockets and pay for the replenishment of city coffers out of their own pockets. This is an idea being sold to the City Council of Lafayette by traffic "experts" who are paid for their consultancy and wish to be compensated for their allegedly superior knowledge. Whatever the outcome, the people of Lafayette will be stuck with results, good or bad, including the permanent maintenance of the medians on Mt. Diablo Blvd. In case it isn't clear, I'm not in favor of any of this. In my view this just government spending public money---because they can.

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