Monday, August 29, 2005

Roundabout issues for our community



The newly approved roundabout costs five times as much as a traffic light and takes four months to do the construction. A traffic light is installed in one day. Why should we have to wait in four months of road construction when there is no benefit? Is this about vanity? Unnecessary and expensive road projects are the last thing we need in West Knox County.

The roundabout is dangerous for any long truck with a length of 35 feet or more like a moving van or earthmoving equipment on a long trailer. This is one of the fastest growing areas of Knox County. That brings a lot of tractor trailer traffic. There are two access points for this area for large trucks. The first is Concord Road at Northshore Drive. The second is Martel Road in Loudon County that connects to Choto Road that connects to Northshore Drive. So truck traffic will have to be detoured to Loudon County to come to the Choto area. The Virtue Road access has a train trestle with a nine foot ceiling. No big trucks allowed.

There are curves both east and west just before the proposed roundabout. The curve going west is above on the left. The curve going east is above on the right. What happens when people that are new to the area encounter this roundabout for the first time? Do we need to have roundabout training every few weeks over and over again? How is that fair to the people that have to use this thing?

Roundabouts are unsafe for bicyclists compared to traffic lights. There are many people that ride bicycles in this area. Did anyone think about that? They should have. Bicyclists have the same rights on the road as the driver or a car or truck. That is Tennessee State law. It is difficult to understand how this is a progressive idea. I thought bicycle safety was a progressive idea.

Taxpayers should not have to watch County Commission like a hawk. Where was the notice of this? I understand it was posted on the Knox County website and it was in the News Sentinel once or possibly twice in a small article in the traffic section. There was one sentence about it in Metro Pulse several weeks ago. It is bad enough we cannot park at the City County building, to have a project like this be approved without citizen review or comment shows a serious problem with our representative leadership. This is the first roundabout that Knox County has done and there should have been a public meeting at Farragut High School. County Commission needs to do some outreach. That means coming out into the community and finding out how the taxpayers feel about a project of this importance. TDOT had many public meetings on the Orange Route. It shows consideration for the community.

Was Knox County School Board invited to the County Commission meeting when this was discussed? Since it is the first one of these roundabouts in the County and school buses use this heavily traveled intersection daily the school board should have had the opportunity to provide their input as they are responsible for the children that ride the bus to school. As a taxpayer I would be interested in the school boards position on this roundabout.

Safety studies in Europe and the US show roundabouts are safer than traffic lights with one exception, for bicyclists. Does that mean that bicyclists will be forbidden to ride on Northshore Drive? What is not known is how dangerous these roundabouts are during the learning curve. Since the learning curve happens every time a new driver goes through the roundabout how can we be sure it is really safer? Do the studies reflect only experienced drivers?

The public did not have a fair and reasonable opportunity to be heard. This is happening too often with Knox County Commission. How do we as a community solve this problem?

Comments:
Nice photos. They certainly show the site line dangers of this intersection. Anything will be an improvement whether its a roundabout or stoplight.I'm just glad something is being done.
 
Nice photos. They certainly show the site line dangers of this intersection. Anything will be an improvement whether its a roundabout or stoplight.I'm just glad something is being done.

8:59 AM, August 29, 2005



If you click the photos they will come up full screen. The line of sight issue is bad in both directions but worst traveling east to west.

I wish there was more information on how the signage will be addressed. Drivers traveling west that come off the bridge at a high rate of speed will be on the roundabout with little time to decide what to do.

Until you walk this site it is hard to see what the problems are. I would encourage everyone to park in the Concord Park and walk over to where the left hand photo was taken. A traffic light is what is needed in this location. This is not the location for a roundabout.
 
Would you provide the email address for the County Commission memebers? My kids ride the bus through this intersection. Thank you for your hard work.

Holly H.
 
1st District
Thomas Strickland
thomas.strickland@knoxcounty.org
Diane Jordan
diane.jordan@knoxcounty.org

2nd District
David Collins
david.collins@knoxcounty.org
Billy Tindell
billytindell@knoxcounty.org

3rd District
Ivan Harmon
ivan.harmon@knoxcounty.org
Wanda Moody
wanda.moody@knoxcounty.org

4th District
John Schmid
john.schmid@knoxcounty.org
Phil Guthe
phil.guthe@knoxcounty.org

5th District
John Griess
john.griess@knoxcounty.org
Mike Hammond
mike.hammond@knoxcounty.org
Craig Leuthold
craig.leuthold@knoxcounty.org

6th District
Mark Cawood
mark.cawood@knoxcounty.org
Larry Stephens
larry.stephens@knoxcounty.org

7th District
Scott Moore
scott.moore@knoxcounty.org
Mary Lou Horner
marylou.horner@knoxcounty.org

8th District
Mike McMillan
mike.mcmillan@knoxcounty.org
John Mills
john.mills@knoxcounty.org

9th District
Larry Clark
larry.clark@knoxcounty.org
Paul Pinkston
paul.pinkston@knoxcounty.org
 
Wow, Great blog. Wish we had something like this for Karns.
 
You would think they could find a better place to try this idea. Do they plan to straighten the road or just let the curves stay as they are?
 
Do they plan to straighten the road or just let the curves stay as they are?


I have not heard if the curves will be straightened to improve the line of sight. I do not know if that is possible. There are three bridges that are the determining factor in the curves and those bridges cannot be moved. I do not believe much can be done to straighten the east to west curve. One feature of most roundabouts is plenty of line of sight before the roundabout.
 
One feature of most roundabouts is plenty of line of sight before the roundabout.


So few people know about this except for those on the Internet. When the construction begins people will ask how this decision was made. As a former Yankee I can say the few roundabouts I had to use in upper New York State always had line of sight. When they build it I will use Pellissippi. I feel like this road was taken away.

Stephanie
 
I grew up just down the street from this intersection and drove through it at least twice a day to and from Farragut High School (Class of 95). Even ten years years ago people were wondering when there would be a light at this intersection. But a roundabout? What would be wrong with a traffic light? Add a right hand turn lane from Concord to Northshore and both left AND right turning lanes from Northshore to Concord and just go from there. Why wouldn't that work?
 
But a roundabout? What would be wrong with a traffic light? Add a right hand turn lane from Concord to Northshore and both left AND right turning lanes from Northshore to Concord and just go from there. Why wouldn't that work?

The reason/excuse given is sinkholes. Yet somehow they can build the roundabout on the same sinkholes.
 
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