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Is a Roundabout in Healdsburg's Future?

Five-way intersection may be the ideal place for controversial traffic flow feature.

The City of Healdsburg just posted a call for qualified designers to work up a roundabout design for the five-way intersection - where Healdsburg Ave., Mill St. and Vine St. meet, one block south of the Plaza.

Roundabouts are failry common in European cities, notably the one that encircles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, commissioned by Napoleon. Traffic enters from several directions, but always then turns and flows to the right; drivers leave the round-about by another right turn down their street. Stop sighs may or may not be placed at street entrances to control the flow of traffic.

The roundabout traffic soluton has been controversial in Sonoma County. In Cotati, voters in November passed a measure to prohibit them (Measure U), despite their being favored by the Cotati City Council.

In Santa Rosa, a series of small roundabouts were installed in the SRJC district several years ago, in part as a means of slowing residential traffic, but were removed after failing to solve the problem.

But in Healdsburg it might be a viable solution. The City has been working on a plan to upgrade the south "gateway" to downtown over the past two years or so, and this call for submissions is the next step.

The full text of the city's Request for Statement of Qualifications (RFQ) is below.

The City of Healdsburg is seeking a qualified design firm, or team, with extensive experience and knowledge of designing roundabouts, municipal utilities (water, sewer, electric, and storm drainage), pedestrian routes, quiet zone at-grade railroad crossings, signage, landscaping and lighting that will help brand the Central Healdsburg area as a destination location. The City seeks to partner with the selected consultant during the contract scoping stage to specifically define the scope of work for the purposes for preparing plans, specifications and construction contract documents for improvements at the 5-Way Intersection of Healdsburg Avenue, Vine Street, and Mill Street (the “5-Way Intersection”), including but not limited to roundabout, utilities and lighting. Because this will be the main entryway into the City, landscaping and aesthetics will be a very important component of the final design.

All qualified firms that are interested in providing these services to the City of Healdsburg are invited to submit their Statement of Qualifications (SOQ). All SOQ’s must comply with the requirements specified in this Request for Statement of Qualifications (RFQ).

To download the SOQ please see the Current Contract Opportunities page.

Pat warner February 16, 2013 at 03:48 AM
I use this intersection several times a day. The light is a pain. The pedestrian situation is impossible. I think anything is worth a try. And I am for a roundabout !!
Vesta Copestakes February 16, 2013 at 07:02 AM
I grew up with roundabouts back east - have traveled them recently in Loveland, Colorado where they are installed in new developments, and they are at many intersections in Bend, Oregon. Petaluma has seven, so you can try one out locally. They are an amazing way to calm traffic down, keep it moving so there's little brake dust or acceleration exhaust, and no idling exhaust. They are relatively inexpensive to build compared with traffic signals, and very inexpensive to maintain. The only challenge is getting people used to them. And at this intersection - anything is an improvement!
Michael MacKenzie February 16, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Right, Vesta - "an amazing way to calm traffic", while allowing a steady flow and distribution of traffic at a complicated junction. Plus, it could look really nice ..... Now, when it's all done, I wish the town would take a look at First and Tucker; the "morning raceway" out of the backside of the grid could use a bit of calming!
ScottRAB February 19, 2013 at 06:18 PM
The Arc D/Triumph is not a modern roundabout. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), search www.k-state.edu to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older roundabout/rotary and a modern roundabout: http://tinyurl.com/bzf7qmg The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ). Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Search www.iihs.org for FAQs and safety facts. The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works. The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 2,400 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way. Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds.
Robert Herrick February 20, 2013 at 01:56 AM
I can't wait. It will be a blast to fly through that thing in the middle of the night in my BMW!

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