Readers question need for, lighting of Lake Flora roundabout

The in basket: There is some skepticism about the need for a roundabout at the Lake Flora Road-JM Dickenson Road intersection in South Kitsap. It’s nearly complete and about to open.

This week, Larry Taylor of Bremerton e-mailed to say, “I thought this state was hurting for money. So why in the world would they build a roundabout at Lake Flora and Dickerson Road or any rural area for that matter.

“I used to travel that road very frequently, sometimes three or four times a week and never had a problem with the stop sign that was there,” Larry said. “Even if the economy was booming, I think it is a complete waste of the taxpayers money. I don’t think the words ‘save money’ (are) in the government’s vocabulary.”

Back in August, Ed Kalmbach, a commenter on the Road Warrior blog at asked, “How does the state and county determine that an intersection like Lake Flora and JM Dickenson requires alteration due to safety concerns. Do they have a formula or algorithm and if so what is the data for this intersection that determined a roundabout was required and the correct solution?”

Another e-mailer had a different concern. Sandy Gold wrote this month to say, “Is there any plan to put a light in the roundabout on Lake Flora? We live out beyond the roundabout, and have noticed how dark that corner is.

“Once the construction barrels are gone, it will be really easy to have folks running into the center of the roundabout, just like they used to run the stop sign.  If they crash in the roundabout there won’t be any way for traffic to get around,” Sandy said.

The out basket: It’s a Kitsap County project and County Engineer Jon Brand explains the reasoning:

“There were several factors that led to the decision to move forward with a roundabout in this location. The intersection was selected for improvements because of the accident history, traffic volumes and pavement condition.

“There were 16 collisions in this location between January 2003 and December 2007, seven of which involved injuries.  This is well above the countywide average.  A roundabout reduces the likelihood of rear-end accidents or motorists’ blowing through a stop sign.

“Transportation projects undertaken by public works design for 20 years in the future, in this case 2028,” Jon continued, adding that Lake Flora links highways 3 and 16, the South Kitsap Industrial Area, and the city of Port Orchard.

“Traffic volumes are expected to increase significantly in the future and they are distributed in a relatively equal manner,” he said. “This was a major factor in the decision to proceed with a roundabout instead of a stop-controlled intersection. A roundabout offers more traffic capacity and efficiency than a stop-controlled intersection, especially when the volumes are balanced.”

As for Sandy’s concern, lights are coming, says Doug Bear of

county public works, and their foundations are already there. There’ll be a street light on each of the three approaches to the roundabout and two inside it. They’ll be installed soon, he said.

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