PIQUA — The city of Piqua recently responded to questions that were submitted in regard to the roundabout coming to the intersection of Looney and Garbry roads.
The questions were submitted during an open house held at the beginning of February to discuss the roundabout and the proposed improvements to the intersection. The city also answered questions and collected comments that were submitted during a 30-day public comment period following the open house.
Accommodating semis, school buses, and aesthetics
One person asked about the size of the center island and if it will be adequately able to accommodate long and/or oversized loads.
The city explained that the size of the roundabout including the center island is designed based on a number of factors, including number and alignment of approach lanes, vehicle speed analysis, and a truck turning analysis. The truck turning analysis for this roundabout is based on a 62-foot tractor trailer and a school bus. This roundabout will feature a truck apron, which a 62-foot tractor trailer would need to utilize, but the roundabout will be able to accommodate a school bus without it needing to use the truck apron. The lanes are also wider next to and within the roundabout in comparison to the approach lanes, so the roundabout itself can also accommodate “excess vehicle width within reason,” according to the city.
The roundabout will also feature aesthetics in the form of landscaping in the middle circular portion of the roundabout and decorative street lighting.
Another person asked, “Why isn’t this being done at some other intersection with more crashes?”
The city explained that they wanted to introduce the first roundabout to the community in a location where motorists could choose to avoid it if they did not want to drive through it. The city also called the current setup of that intersection “confusing” due to the four lanes on Looney Road intersecting the two on Garbry Road. This was also the intersection for which they were able to obtain outside funding.
The city noted that they will be looking at other intersections in the future for possible roundabout installations.
Funding the project
To pay for the project, the city obtained a $1.1 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant from MVRPC in October 2013. The city also has to provide a local match of $600,000 for the project.
The city’s match for the project will come from its 103 Fund, which is generated by the city’s 0.25 income tax, and is only used for the construction or reconstruction of roads and resurfacing of roads. The money for this project has been budgeted for over the past few years.
Another person asked how much a traffic signal would cost, which the city estimated at $350,000, not including the engineering design of the signal, any utility relocation costs, or any right-of-way costs.
Determining the necessity
A number of questions were submitted about the city stating that the intersection could go into possible “failure” in its current state. One person asked what that meant.
The city explained that intersections are measured by their level of service and traffic delay. They determined that if the peak hour traffic is approximately 140 percent higher than it is today, the level of service will go down to a point that is considered unacceptable by most drivers, resulting in “over-saturated intersection conditions and poor progression through the intersection.”
The city used the example of 160 vehicles going southbound through that intersection during the peak hour of traffic. An increase of 140 percent would mean that number of vehicles would increase to 384 vehicles.
The city said that new economic development in that area could increase traffic to this point.
The city also included a couple comments that people submitted about the project, each one against the roundabout. The first one stated that they had lived on Garbry Road since the 1970s, and they believed the four-way intersection to be sufficient and did not believe there would be future economic growth. The person said, “It would be very much appreciated if you would take care of our deplorable streets.”
During the open house, City Manager Gary Huff explained that the city will be repaving more roads during the 2017 street paving program than in previous years in order to address deteriorated street conditions.
The second comment included was from someone who also did not believe there would be future economic development there due to the cost of land in that area. The person repeatedly said that this roundabout project “is a roundabout to nowhere.”
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336