Everything you wanted to know about the state's proposed roundabout in Minden but were afraid to ask may be answered March 29.
Nevada Department of Transportation officials set a meeting for 7 p.m. at the CVIC Hall in Minden to take public input on the traffic-calming device for the intersection of County Road and Highway 88.
Minden Town Board Chairman Ross Chichester said the town has asked the state three times to schedule a meeting for the public about the controversial $500,000 roundabout.
"We met with them in October and told them they needed to come down and sell it to the town," Chichester said Wednesday. "We met in February and told them the same thing. Finally, in March, we asked again."
State officials have been meeting with small groups to answer questions about the roundabout, which has been roundly opposed by residents who have lobbied for a traffic light.
Town officials began putting aside money to pay for a traffic light 10 years ago, but, according to the state, the intersection didn't meet warrants.
The state offered the roundabout as an alternative.
Fred Droes, chief safety/traffic engineer for the state Department of Transportation, said Thursday officials were eager to meet with residents.
He said the smaller-group format allowed people to ask questions in a more informal setting.
"We always intended to go to a larger format. We're hoping to see a large number of people on March 29," Droes said.
At the smaller meetings, Droes said he's attempted to clear up misunderstandings and misconceptions about the proposal.
"Safety is our No. 1 priority and we believe the roundabout is the safest way," Droes said. "We're going to provide information why the department believes the roundabout is an appropriate safety improvement we can make for the town of Minden and travelers in the state of Nevada."
Department spokesman Scott Magruder said calls to his office indicated more people were in favor of the roundabout.
He cited statistics from around the United States that indicate once a roundabout is installed, 75 percent of people who were opposed come to favor it.
The busy intersection serves Douglas High School, Carson Valley Swim Center, the Carson Valley Meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a fitness center, the county library, a Montessori school, dance studio, several office buildings and the East Fork Fire and Paramedic districts station.
Droes repeated the department's position that the roundabout will not be forced on the community.
"The position from my director's office is that we need approval to go ahead from the County Commission. The County Commission made it clear that they are relying on direction from the Town Board," Droes said.
Town board Chairman Chichester made it clear the decision is to be driven by the citizenry.
"It's the state's job to convince the people who live here, not mine, not the town board's. If that's what the people want, that's what we'll do," Chichester said.
If you go
WHAT: Nevada Department of Transportation meeting
WHEN: 7 p.m. March 29
WHERE: CVIC Hall, Esmeralda Avenue, in Minden