Sue Kiesewetter reports:
A proposed roundabout that would be constructed in Liberty Township next year has at least two residents wondering whether the money would be better spent on other projects.
But representatives from the Butler County engineer’s office say the traffic-slowing roundabout is needed at the intersection of Kyles Station and Yankee roads.
An Ohio Public Works Commission grant will pay for 80 percent of the project’s estimated $650,000 cost, with the engineer’s office contributing the matching 20 percent.
“There were five accidents in less than a year when it was a two-way stop,’’ said Ray McCurley, who lives on Kyles Station near the proposed roundabout. “Now it’s a four-way stop and it’s safer.”
That intersection has long been among Butler County’s top 10 accident sites, said Chris Petrocy, spokesman for the engineer’s office.
There were seven accidents there in 2009, the year before the intersection was switched from a two-way stop to a four-way stop. There was one accident in 2010 and none since, Petrocy said.
“With a stop sign, there’s no guarantee people will stop. With a roundabout, the physical restraints force people to slow down,” Petrocy said.
“Our traffic engineers do not feel comfortable keeping this intersection simply as a four-way stop. A roundabout truly is more efficient and safer. It is the better long-term solution.”
Not so, the residents say. They have collected signatures from more than 150 people in the area who oppose installation of the roundabout.
Installing a roundabout would present other safety problems and lower property values, McCurley, and neighbor Randy Slattery, say.
Both men said they would have to back out of their driveways into the roundabout with very little site distance due to the circular shape of the roundabout.
Traffic always enters or exits a roundabout by making right turns into or out of the structure, yielding to traffic from the left.
Petrocy said both driveways are on the exterior of the roundabout and there is plenty of site distance.
Slattery is also worried about having to cross the roundabout to get to his mailbox and the safety of his children at the bus stop. Bus drivers were among those signing the petition he said.
“What bothers me the most is they (engineers) don’t want to hear our input. They tried to push the project through without anybody knowing about it,” Slattery said.
The men plan to take their concerns to the Dec. 27 meeting of the Butler County commissioners.