To the editor,
So far, the roundabout proposed for Rubber Avenue in Naugatuck seems to be a proposal for a major roadway change being considered in a vacuum. There are apparently no stats on volumes by time of day or by vehicle type — car, light trucks, buses, tractor trailers — and by pedestrians. There is also no projected information on increased traffic flow by truck type — trailer, tandem trailer, container carrier — by numbers, time periods or routing should the “Port of Naugatuck” project become a reality, nor are there apparent projections on traffic volume increases from the economic development of Rubber Avenue.
According to a number of studies, roundabouts seem best suited where traffic is light to moderate, truck traffic is light, and there are little if any snow or ice conditions. None of that applies here.
Roundabouts take away any chance of positive traffic control that permits fast, immediate handling of heavy traffic volumes regardless of cause, especially emergencies. One officer in one patrol car can effectively handle traffic flow through a normal four-way intersection for as long as needed. Not so with roundabouts. The circle effect on emergency response has to be considered in detail, despite the “no problem” inferences. Ambulances, firetrucks and police cruisers cannot be delayed. In emergencies, time delays mean lives lost.
Not a lot seems to be said about high volume traffic areas with heavy truck traffic, high pedestrian flow rates, weather severity, snow and ice, all of which apply to Naugatuck.
The support material and photos favor light traffic, few buildings, trucks or pedestrians, and little activity. This is not so with Rubber Avenue.
Consider how well traffic will flow with tankers and tractor-trailers making deliveries, with dozens of school buses, and with traffic backed up from the light at Advance Auto.
Pedestrians? Right now a single crossing guard safeguards a lot of school kids and pedestrians crossing the intersection. But one crossing guard has no chance of doing that with a roundabout.
There are any number of good reasons to reject the roundabout idea on Rubber Avenue and few if any to go for it, especially lacking all the specific information that should be available before any such decision is made.