Roundabout would be a good thing

Bravo to Clearwater council and the Ministry for going ahead with a roundabout at the junction of Highway 5 and the road to Wells Gray Park

Bravo to Clearwater council and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for deciding to go ahead with a roundabout at the junction of Highway 5 and the road to Wells Gray Park.

Your editor drives through that intersection several times a day and is getting tired of almost getting T-boned by drivers who think the 60 speed limit is in miles per hour, not kilometers.

Modern roundabouts are safer than conventional intersections. Traffic must slow down to negotiate them – the correct speed is not optional. When entering the roundabout you need look only one direction to see what vehicles are coming at you – not three or four. If you do get hit (which is unlikely), it will be at low speed and a glancing blow from the side.

They are safer not just for vehicles but also for pedestrians. The crosswalks are located outside the circle of traffic. Pedestrians need cope with vehicles coming from just one direction. Vehicle speed is reduced and there is plenty of time for visual engagement with drivers.

Roundabouts on highways are common in Europe and elsewhere in the world. They are easy to learn how to use.

Okay, the first time you approach one you will feel a little apprehensive. Before you know it, though, you will be through it and out the other side – and ready to brag to those who still feel the fear.

Roundabouts can accommodate large trucks. We are assured that the proposed design will be adequate for the largest and longest vehicles using the highways today, plus some extra. Don’t forget that the raised ring in the middle of the roundabout isn’t a sidewalk (pedestrians cross outside the circle). The ring’s purpose is to act as an inside marker for smaller vehicles negotiating the roundabout. Large trucks, on the other hand, are expected to drag the inside wheels of their trailers over the raised ring – giving them considerably more room than might initially appear.

We have argued in this space before that any roundabout should be part of a comprehensive highway access plan for Clearwater.

This is being done. We look forward to seeing the plan when it is complete.