Pitched as a way to reduce speed, accidents and delays, Comox council got a preliminary look at the design of a proposed Comox Avenue/Rodello Street roundabout during Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting.
Shelley Ashfield, municipal engineer for the town, presented council with the concept and design options created by Boulevard Transportation and highlighted the concept in relation to the town’s traffic study.
“Roundabouts improve safety, create less delays and reduce speed. There are eight conflict points in a roundabout, and 32 in a regular intersection,” she noted.
She added the concept was brought forth to improve the function of the road network at Comox Avenue and Rodello Street.
“The level of service was rated an ‘F’ — the worst level,” said Ashfield.
She explained a roundabout generally would improve the safety for pedestrians and cyclists too, due to the lower speeds and shorter crossing distances.
The roundabout concept would include a shared pedestrian/cyclist pathway.
Ashfield showed council the four proposed designs, which varied in size and inside circle diameter (ICD).
The first option would feature an ICD of 37 metres and would affect seven parking spots at St. Joseph’s General Hospital and impact some residential property.
The second option would have the same ICD size but be moved further to the southwest, and would impact 17 parking stalls at the hospital.
Option three would have an ICD of 35m, consequently resulting in less property impact, with eight parking stalls at the hospital affected, and the residential impact would be minimal. Ashfield did note this option would present a tight turning radius for larger trucks.
The final option also featured an ICD of 37m.
Ashfield said with a bigger circle, vehicles have a tendency to increase their speed.
There would be “a significant impact to the northwest properties,” she said, regarding the final option — and added it would come at a higher cost, with three properties impacted along with three parking stalls at the hospital.
After evaluating the options, Ashfield explained option three is the preferred option as it reduces speed, requires less land and has good alignment.
The next step comes in the new year with a more detailed design with updated costs. Ashfield said there will be many steps to the process, including stakeholder consultations, open houses and finalizing property acquisitions.
The traffic circle is part of the 2014-2018 five-year capital plan, and was identified in the transportation study conducted in conjunction with the Official Community Plan as a site for a roundabout.
The study was created to reflect the growth forecast and get on top of the town’s infrastructure, said Mayor Paul Ives.
The approved budget for the project is $538,000, which would come primarily from road development cost charges (DCCs).
Ashfield noted while construction is scheduled for 2015, the project may have to be put off to 2016 because few DCCs have been received.
She added she will be looking at grants and funding from ICBC.
Coun. Russ Arnott questioned the costs and statistics for amount of accidents at the intersection, and inquired how much it would cost for the town to expropriate land.
“It would just be for the path,” replied Ashfield. “It should be huge costs, and we’re working with the hospital and would have stakeholder meetings with them.”