A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council votes for roundabout — later

Written May 9th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Traffic waits on Gibson Hill for a car to make a left on Crocker Monday evening.

Traffic waits on Gibson Hill for a car to make a left on Crocker Monday evening.

The North  Albany intersection of Gibson Hill Road and Crocker Lane should be turned into a full roundabout, but not right away, the city council decided on a split vote Monday.

Mayor Sharon Konopa broke a 3-3 council tie for a proposal by Councilor Floyd Collins to plan for a modern roundabout because that would be the best permanent solution once North Albany is fully developed with housing in perhaps 20 or 25 years. His motion was to put the roundabout in the city’s plans for five years from now, to start working on designs and property acquisition in the meantime, and to do something about improving sight clearances at the intersection right away.

A modern roundabout has been estimated to cost $1.4 million to build, not including the price of buying parts of adjoining properties. The project would be funded from transportation system development charges (fees imposed on new construction), and the city doesn’t have enough SDC money to do the project sooner.

The high costs of a roundabout in relation to street needs elsewhere in town weighed heavily on Councilor Rich Kellum, particularly since the intersection meets traffic standards now. Transportation analyst Ron Irish told the council the intersection already meets the conditions for a traffic light, but it also currently meets capacity standards for making left turns.

Kellum opposed the roundabout motion along with Bessie Johnson and Dick Olsen. Councilors Ray Kopczynski and Bill Coburn supported it, along with Collins and the mayor. Coburn also suggested that temporary traffic signals might be considered as a stop-gap measure until increasing traffic makes another treatment necessary.

Other options studied by a consultant were all-way stop signs, a simple or a more expensive signal layout, and a small roundabout. In a sounding of public opinion, a plurality of respondents in an online survey favored the big roundabout, but a roundabout also got sharp criticism from others in the survey. (hh)

The red areas represent property that would need to be acquired for the proposed full roundabout.

The red areas represent property that would need to be acquired for the proposed full roundabout.

10 responses to “Council votes for roundabout — later”

  1. Jim Engel says:

    A “plurality of respondents to an on-line survey” favored the roundabout. You bet I’ll believe those results! Liars figure & figures can be made to lie especially when the City is controlling the survey. JE

  2. Rich Kellum says:

    We do not even own the streets yet, The large roundabout had the highest favored votes but also had the highest opposed votes. 4 of 5 of all the options fixed the problem till 2040 and only 45% of the spaces for turns were used currently, the standard for action is 80-85%.

    What about clover ridge, or goldfish farm road, or 3 lakes, or south Albany…. lots of places to spend money, and this isn’t needed yet. Just sayin..

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Dearest Rich,

      As someone who drives the Crocker to Gibson Hill multiple times a day, I STRONGLY disagree with your assumption of “need”. Turning left onto Gibson can be a real test of one’s patience. It is worse at certain times of the day but with over 75+ new home starts coming to the immediate area, it is only going to exacerbate the problem.

      • centrist says:

        When we were looking for our retirement house, we looked at a few existing places north of Gibson, up Crocker. Decided to pass because of the congestion and confusion at the intersection. Figured that, as age diminished my faculties, the risk of being carted off in the wagon was too high. Found a place with a simpler traffic pattern,

      • Rich Kellum says:

        Not my assessment, that was done by professionals, they said only 45% of available left turn opportunities were used……………..disagree all you want, we still do not own the street that we are planning on spending over a million bucks on…

    • Rich Kellum says:

      with 75 homes will come different traffic. how about the 130+ homes coming to Clover Ridge??? needs all over. we own clover ridge

      • hj.anony1 says:

        Rich, needs all over indeed but why so much concern over an area that is not your ward? Never mind, we are all Albany!

        Another thought … looking at your website, body language comes to mind. May I suggest a less aggressive image ….something without arms crossed in such a hostile manner?

        • Rich Kellum says:

          HJ. You may suggest anything you want, but there is only so much money and when it is used in North Albany on a street that is not at capacity and is not owned by the city yet and we have no say as to what happens to it without the acquiescence of the owners of the street it is my business. in fact my responsibility to advocate for MY constituents needs on the other side of town. Crossed arms??? Aggressive?? The more I am told that Ward I needs are more important than Ward III needs, thru word or deed the more AGGRESSIVE I become…

  3. Scott Batson says:

    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world (much more so than comparable signals). Visit http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/roundabouts/topicoverview for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts. Modern roundabouts, and the pedestrian refuge islands approaching them, are two of nine proven safety measures identified by the FHWA, http://tinyurl.com/7qvsaem
    The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts on Youtube, or check out the IIHS video (iihs dot org).



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