A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Roundabout leads for Gibson-Crocker

Written April 5th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
A driver turns right from Gibson Hill on Crocker Lane.

A driver turns right from Gibson Hill on Crocker Lane.

Another roundabout may be in North Albany’s future if an informal survey accurately reflects what people want and the city council follows their advice. But it’s far from unanimous, and in their written comments the survey respondents are giving the council all kinds of conflicting views.

The city council asked for public input before deciding what kind of traffic controls to install at Gibson Hill Road and Crocker Lane, a T-shaped intersection where delays are becoming more frequent as the number of North Albany houses, residents and commuters expands.

The council called for a public meeting, and since this story first was published here, the open house has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, 4-6:30 p.m., at City Hall.

On the city’s website (cityofalbany.net) there’s a page showing five possible intersection treatments and asking people to pick their preferences. As of Tuesday, 294 people had given their opinions, but not all were such that they could be counted. One, for example, showed four of the choices as fourth-best and the fifth as worst.

Among the responses tallied so far, 117 opted for a “modern” or full-size roundabout, which consulting engineers estimate would cost $1.4 million and require the acquisition of quite a bit of property on all three sides of the junction.

In second place with 56 votes was a set of traffic signals with turn lanes, costing almost $1.9 million. A small roundabout costing $282,000 was third with 49 votes. Traffic signals without turn lanes would cost $538,000 and got 39 votes. The least expensive option – at $9,500 practically free in comparison – was the choice of a mere 34 online survey clickers.

People also gave the city the benefit of their thinking, several of them thanking officials for the chance to be heard. But their advice was all over the board. There were 105 written suggestions or comments. A sampling, not necessarily representative:

• “I do not recommend a roundabout because most people do not know the proper way to use a roundabout.”
• “We think the best choice is the modern roundabout.”
• “The roundabout is a traffic nightmare… Anybody that thinks the ‘modern roundabout’ is an intelligent choice should be redirected to trash collection instead of traffic engineering.”
• “Anything but another stop light. The new ones (on North Albany Road – ed.) do not work correctly. They turn red on the most used road when there is no traffic.”
• “… a traffic light would be the best option … A stop sign intersection would create a bottleneck.”
• “All-way stop would be the least cost. Start with that. No roundabout.”
• And this all-purpose recommendation: “Thanks for asking. I think it is important to keep traffic moving as much as possible. Think hard.”

The council may have thought getting the public’s input would make the decision easier. So much for that. (hh)

15 responses to “Roundabout leads for Gibson-Crocker”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The survey itself is flawed and poorly designed. There are only 4 options and 5 choices. You end up selecting two “least preferred” choices before it lets you submit it.

  2. Patricia Dornath says:

    I am unable to find the 5 options for the Gibson/Crocker intersection. Can you direct me to the link if it is still available? If it is no longer available, I will give my 2 cents. I live on Laura Vista in the Benton Woods subdivision. From Scenic to Crocker the speed is 45. That should be reduced from 45 to 35 at the fire station and then remain at 35 all the way to the Gibson Hill roundabout. People in the USA do not understand roundabouts. They work great if people know how to use them. A three-way stop at Crocker would only work if all speeds are the same. Currently they are 40 to 45 on Gibson and 35 on Crocker leading up to Gibson. I would be interested to know how many accidents have occurred at that junction in the past 5 years.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      The link, still available this morning, is: https://www.cityofalbany.net/departments/public-works/engineering/crocker-intersection.
      Scroll down a bit to find the survey on the five alternatives. (hh)

      • centrist says:

        Thanks for posting the link. Description of the options is clear. The survey (except for my own typing) was, as some used to say, “sweet, clean, and easy.”
        Personal opinion (entered in the survey) is that speed limit changes combined with one of the signal options would fix most of the issues.
        My problem with the large roundabout is the encroachment into the NW property. Seems too close to the house (assuming that the sketch places the building correctly)
        The mini would have some success. Experience with the Spring Hill oval is that the high speed thru run didn’t always slow traffic. Placed the mini last

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “People in the USA do not understand roundabouts. They work great if people know how to use them.”

      100% Correct! However, since “driver training” is virtually non-existent for folks these days, many don’t even have a clue as to how to park properly, much less use their turn signals. Asking them to be able to navigate a true roundabout safely may be giving many folks too much credit…

      • D Simpson says:

        “100% Correct!” My experience is that this is 100% incorrect. I use the roundabout at Gibson Hill and North Albany nearly every day of the week. For the first month or so after it was installed I recall encountering a few confused drivers, and virtually none since then. Although I use it far less frequently, my experience with the new roundabout on Main is roughly the same. If you encounter a significant number of confused drivers at traffic circles, you have to ask yourself if the problem lies between the steering wheel and the driver’s seat of your car.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          We obviously see different folks going through the roundabouts. The vast majority of folks I see *never* use their turn signals at any point — and that is a basic safety issue IMO.

      • Marilyn Smith says:

        Albany Police produced a two-minute,very good video about driving in and out of roundabouts. It is posted on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/albanypd/
        Scroll down to February 3.

  3. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Roundabouts are not consistent with American culture.

    Americans value speed and power; roundabouts require slowing with no passing allowed.
    Americans believe in the divine right to cut other drivers off; roundabouts require yielding.
    Americans value independence and freedom; roundabouts require sharing and signaling.
    Americans want choices; entering a roundabout requires looking left, exiting requires turning right, and no stopping allowed in-between.

    Seems clear to me – roundabouts are simply un-American.

    • Bob Woods says:

      This is just priceless from you. You have often shown stupidity, but to equate an engineering approach with patriotic intent just shows how absurd and irrational you are.

      Let’s make clear what you just said: Americans are too stupid to learn how to use a roundabout. That is just so quintessentially “Gordon.”

      • Hasso Hering says:

        Hey Bob, does the concept of “sarcasm” ring a bell? Ever heard of a “spoof”? (hh)

        • Gordon L. Shadle says:

          Bob is trapped in his own mind’s roundabout….

        • centrist says:

          Since Gordon is very forceful and direct in his positions, and since there’s no font for sarcasm, it’s not always easy to tell. Nicely played

        • Rich Kellum says:

          Since there is no font for sarcasm, you should suggest one, some obscure font in italics perhaps.


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