We have lived with the roundabout at Fifth and Edmonds for a period of one year. During that period we have seen numerous accidents, mishaps, incidents of road rage and frustration. We have nearly been "plowed" on several occasions. We read with interest that city supervisors would allow additional public comment prior to making this inherently dangerous situation permanent. We felt that we would contribute our two cents worth, regardless of how much or little impact this would make.
We echo the sentiment of Mr. Neider who stated he will hold the city liable for any incident which occurs at this intersection in which he or any member
of his family is hurt. You are put on public notice that this intersection is hazardous, and the design of the permanent roundabout does not sufficiently address this problem.
The most frequent problems encountered are:
1. Insufficient speed control
2. No use of turn signals
3. Individuals going the wrong direction
4. Failure to yield
5. Large trucks allowed to traverse the intersection
There have been statements made that supervisors have allocated money to "pretty up" the roundabout with landscaping and colored concrete. In its current design, this will not be necessary, as the landscaping will be provided by flowers for the dead and the color painted in the blood of the injured.
We would prefer to see a functional stoplight at this intersection. We do, however, agree that the roundabout has reduced the traffic congestion at this intersection. Any time you remove traffic control devices, leaving safety up to the "prudence" of the average driver, it is bound to reduce congestion.
We invite you to position yourselves on one of the hills overlooking the intersection between 4 and 6 o'clock on a workday evening. You'll soon understand what we're saying. Any time you drive into that roundabout with other traffic present, you are gambling your life and safety.
Between uneducated drivers who don't understand how to negotiate it and individuals who take the lack of a stop sign and speed control devices as a license to drive through it at 50 mph, to individuals who come roaring up to the roundabout and all but screech to a halt, it is a miracle that less than 100 accidents have happened there in the past year. People just do NOT recognize "Yield" as a traffic control sign. The sign should retain the same shape and read something like "Cars Already in the Roundabout When You Get Here Get to Go FIRST!"
We are regularly cut off by individuals who ignore the Yield sign. Over the past year, this has happened no less than twice a week and usually happens once a day. Other individuals have become so timid due to near misses that they stop in the middle of the roundabout to let other traffic enter. A roundabout was designed to handle limited traffic flow, not control a major intersection.
As the supervisors have collectively made a decision that the roundabout is going in, and nothing will apparently change this vote, consider the following as a way to help protect our lives and those of the families in this neighborhood:
1. Install graduated speed bumps and oversize speed limit signs to control the speed of individuals going into the roundabout (maybe even permanent radar detector signs that show exactly how fast the individual is going as he roars down Edmonds to his date with destiny and maybe our front quarterpanel);
2. Place large directional arrows to show the traffic flow;
3. Restrict the size of trucks allowed to use the intersection to be not larger than a single-length semi;
4. Exaggerate the curve required to enter the roundabout to not less than a 60 degree angle;
5. Build turnouts and merge lanes specifically for people turning right at the intersection;
6. Increase fines for speeding in a roundabout and failure to use a turn signal in a roundabout to not less than $250, and send a policeman over there periodically to enforce it.
Should supervisors prefer to buy colored concrete and landscape this travesty instead of protect the citizens of this neighborhood, that is certainly their choice as our elected officials. We're certain that our attorney will eventually be discussing that decision with whomever occupies those positions when our turn to get plowed inevitably comes.