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Case's Corner: Safety and Rural Aesthetic Further Discussed

Proposed roundabout at Case's Corner could slow traffic and solve tie-ups.

Safety and the rural aesthetic of a proposed roundabout at Case’s Corner in Weston were among the topics discussed at the Feb. 15 Weston Traffic and Sidewalk Committee meeting, which drew a handful of residents to Weston Town Hall.

Committee members rehashed issues brought up at the Jan. 11 public meeting on the proposed roundabout, in preparation for the next public meeting on the issue, at the Board of Selectmen’s Feb. 27 meeting. 

Two residents who spoke at the Jan. 11 meeting also brought comments and concerns to last night’s meeting. 

Sarah Jensen, who lives on Wellesley Street, said safety is her main focus. She said she isn’t anti-roundabout, but wants it to be safe, especially for pedestrians and schoolchildren in the area.

Jensen suggested a raised crosswalk be part of the roundabout design, which she said would raise the visibility of pedestrians and slow the speed of cars.

“Having a safe crossing area there should be paramount,” she said. “I think you could get a lot of positive support from parents if you can demonstrate this is a significant safety improvement for the kids.”

Jensen said crossing the street can be done safely, but requires out-of-the-way walking, “or you run and hope for the best.”

Police Chief Steven Shaw said the committee has been working with concerned citizens and the schools on the proposed project, in hopes that the roundabout would slow drivers.

“It’s not just a matter of cleaning up the traffic, but slowing people down,” said Shaw. 

Weston resident Laura Sher cautioned the committee that the roundabout may draw more cars to use the corner as a cut-through. She also said she isn’t convinced that the consultants (Tim McIntosh and Erin Thompson of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.) truly understand the rural area, and preserving that aesthetic.

Sher also said she wanted to see more numbers on traffic counts.

“I want to be convinced that your project is needed, and I’m not,” she said. “What I’m trying to do is keep the rural aspect of this.”

Peter Hill, a member of the committee, said there will be fewer signs in the area if the roundabout is created, and currently the intersection is not safe. 

“Right now, getting across to Land’s Sake is very difficult,” he said. “It’s not safe.”

Clint Schuckel, committee chairman, said the committee would charge the consultants with showing imagery of how the roundabout would maintain a rural aesthetic. In addition to there being less signs, the roundabout would require less pavement, too, Hill said.

Members of the committee also referenced a Weston Patch poll, which appeared on the website on Jan. 13. In the poll, 53 people said a roundabout would alleviate traffic buildups, while 86 people said the traffic is not a big issue (poll results are not scientific).

Schuckel said the majority of the traffic problems occur from 8 to 8:30 a.m., and some people may not realize there is a traffic problem there if they traverse the intersection at different times of the day. However, the area is unsafe all day. 

“That is another thing to try to address, that this is only a problem that hour of the day,” he said.

The committee also talked about raising awareness of the potential roundabout project, with members saying they hope to spread the word about it leading up to Town Meeting, where voters could approve funding.

The topic will next be on the Board of Selectmen’s agenda for Feb. 27. 

ScottRAB February 17, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit www.iihs.org for FAQs and safety facts. Modern roundabouts operate at about 20 mph. This speed is transformative in the safety is accrues to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Crash frequency goes down and crash severity goes way down. Modern roundabouts also have median islands where the roads enter so pedestrians only have to concentrate on one direction of traffic at a time. This makes crossing much simpler, especially for our youngest and oldest pedestrians.

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