Editor, The Times:
I am not opposed to roundabouts in appropriate circumstances, but I am astonished at the amount of misinformation and outright falsehoods pertaining to this roundabout.
In March a Ministry of Transport (MOT) rep stated that they wanted to experiment with a roundabout on a main highway and that Clearwater was chosen because there aren’t enough people to object.
The “gentle sideswipes” that the experts are glibly sentencing us to, will come from a 30 to 45 degree angle on the blind side. In the inner circle drivers will need to look sharply back over their right shoulder to see approaching vehicles, or all they will see is their passenger, that side headrest and the doorpost. Truck bumper and tires are about the same height as the shoulder on a car occupant. Faster collisions will sometimes push the victim’s vehicle away but slower accidents turn the car and then the trailer wheels tend to roll over it.
If the through traffic is greatly reduced in speed there won’t be breaks in vehicle flow for the inner circle drivers to make their turns. (In the roundabout in Victoria – long since removed – some drivers trapped in the inner circle actually ran out of gas.) The proposed signs, instructions and advertising in the center will distract and block vision. Put unique signs back 400 to 500 feet rather than adding confusion at a soon-to-be dangerous intersection.
You can’t possible pretend that this was democratic. Some car drivers like the idea but how can someone who drives a vehicle that is 2/3 as wide, 1/5 as long and 1/43 as heavy, possibly know how much room is needed for a truck to navigate?
There are six engineered intersections in the area – five of them are flawed in design. Unfortunately the engineers have a one-size-fits-all attitude. Using their scale I reproduced their roundabout design in a gravel pit with a full-sized truck-trailer unit at five km/hr. It would have hit pedestrians with the front bumper and the trailer would “walk in” a full car width on the inner circle lane. Their long-standing and proven standards are not big enough for the size and type of trucks that regularly travel this highway.
I polled 21 truckers about this project and 18 said that it was “… the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.” The other three said it could maybe be okay if it was built big enough. One said he hoped he wouldn’t be the one to kill someone.
Stats that were presented are meaningless for this application. (They are from CAR roundabouts). There is two to 3 1/2 times as much east-west traffic (highway) and nearly double that when Roger’s Pass is closed, as there is north-south (the park road). I have studied this personally and never saw anyone wait for a full minute, even on summer long weekends.
Money is said to be available only for this project in this area – if we don’t take it, we get nothing. If someone offered you a big rattlesnake even though common sense tells you that you will get bitten, would you still accept it because it’s sort of free and nobody else has one?
Cars and truck don’t mix in close company – the cars lose!