Watsonville roundabout about 5 years out

Street Smarts recently chatted with Maria Esther Rodriguez, of the Watsonville public works department, about a future roundabout that's planned at the busy intersection of Main Street and Freedom Boulevard. The device should appear in about five years. Below is that conversation: STREET SMARTS: Where exactly is the proposed roundabout going to go? RODRIGUEZ: The proposed roundabout is for the intersection of Main Street, or State Route 152, and Freedom Boulevard. The landmarks are St. Patrick’s Church, Super Taqueria, and Norma’s Restaurant. It would replace the traffic signals. All the traffic lights would be removed. STREET SMARTS: What's the purpose of the roundabout versus the situation now at the intersection of Main and Freedom? RODRIGUEZ: Information included in this report is an analysis of the level of service at this intersection which addresses the congestion levels. In the future, about 2030, it is projected to worsen to unacceptable delay levels – by both Caltrans and City standards. A roundabout would improve operations at this intersection to acceptable levels. Furthermore, the installation would improve safety, provide pedestrian crossings and reduce green house gas emissions. STREET SMARTS: How many vehicles travel through this intersection now? RODRIGUEZ: It sees a lot of movement. Traffic volumes on Main street currently has about 28,000 vehicle per day going through. The Freedom leg sees about 17,000 vehicles per day. STREET SMARTS: How do roundabouts work? How do they allow drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to intermix versus the current set-up? RODRIGUEZ: Roundabouts are pretty easy. Everyone travels in the same direction -- to the right; counterclockwise. In our case, cyclists will have the option of driving as a car would or using the pedestrian paths and crossings. The following link has a pretty thorough explanation and even has video clip links to actually see a roundabout -– http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/safety/roundabouts/. Education and public outreach will indeed be a part of this project once it gets further along. Perhaps we can work with Street Smarts on that? STREET SMARTS: Why is it taking so long to get it installed? RODRIGUEZ: The city is currently working with Caltrans on the 'Conceptual Approval Report' for the roundabout. This is one of the several steps required to move forward with this project, as it is on State Route 152. The report has not yet been finalized, as there have been several iteration of submittals, reviews, and comments. After this report is finished and approved by Caltrans, the next required report would involve environmental analysis and a more detailed design. There is quite a bit of time that goes into working on projects on the state right of way. STREET SMARTS: How much will it cost to install? RODRIGUEZ: Since the design has not been finalized, an updated estimate has not been done. However, when the feasibility study was done several years ago, the probable cost for a single lane roundabout was in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. STREET SMARTS: Where's the money coming from to pay to build the roundabout? RODRIGUEZ: The city does not have a funding source for this yet but, yes, we would look into potential funding further into the process.
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