Clark Lane reconstruction to continue into second phase

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | 5:17 p.m. CDT; updated 10:27 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 20, 2011

COLUMBIA — Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Clark Lane and St. Charles Road won the approval of the Columbia City Council on Monday night.

The St. Charles Road roundabout is phase two of the Clark Lane reconstruction project. The Public Works Department will begin seeking bids from construction companies for the project, spokeswoman Jill Stedem said.

The project budget estimates a cost of $1.6 million, which will come from the capital improvement sales tax approved by voters in 2005. The budget for the project includes $700,000 for design and construction, $500,000 for right-of-way and easements and $400,000 to relocate utilities, according to a July 28 report to the council from Public Works director John Glascock.

A study funded by the city showed that a roundabout would improve traffic at the intersection, as well as reduce crash rates, long-term costs, environmental impact and danger for bicyclists and pedestrians, according to the report.

“Switching from stop signs to roundabouts will help move traffic more efficiently and help traffic flow,” Stedem said.

The city is already building a roundabout at Clark and Ballenger lanes, and is planning a third at St. Charles Road and Lake of the Woods Road.

The council approved the second phase of the project with the understanding that the roundabout will include an exit point into Lakewood Drive to allow access to businesses there.

Phase one of the Clark Lane project began last May and should be completed in the spring. It focuses on pavement, sidewalks, bike lanes and medians for the section of road between Ballenger Lane and St. Charles Road.

The full project was part of the 2005 ballot initiative and has been in the planning phase since then, Stedem said. With significant development of additional businesses and homes in the area, the city felt the proposed changes would help with safety, traffic congestion and other maintenance improvements.

After the city finds a bid for construction, it will go back to the council for final approval. Although Stedem said it still remains uncertain when construction will begin, plans call for finishing the work before Battle High School opens in August 2013.

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Bill Fisher September 20, 2011 | 8:07 p.m.

I love all these round-abouts the city is putting in. I seriously don't think we could ever have too many. I know it could never possibly happen, but I'd love to one day see one at the intersection of Broadway and West Blvd.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith September 21, 2011 | 6:23 a.m.

@ Bill Fisher:

Might you be giving us a small dose of sarcasm?

There's nothing inherently wrong with traffic circles. They're a common sight in developing countries, where they obviate the need for traffic signal lights*. Whether they actually move traffic faster than use of signal lights depends on more factors than the traffic circle itself.

My all time "favorite" traffic circle exists or existed (this was yeas ago) in Belgium. It was a very busy traffic circle with a ROTATING (360 degrees) traffic light! All incoming traffic had to stop until the green light rotated directly in their faces. You can imagine the fun, as various drivers tried to get a "jump" on the rotating light. Probably kept local body shops busy.

Like you, as a west side resident who travels through the intersection of Broadway and West Boulevard routinely, I can hardly wait for a traffic circle to be installed there. :)

*- One traffic circle, located in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, had blocked storm water drainage and turned into a lake every afternoon when we had our daily cloudburst.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 21, 2011 | 6:49 a.m.

I'd like to see the stats on injury and non-injury accidents before and after the traffic circle was installed at Business Loop, Creasy Springs, and I-70 access. That used to be one of the most dangerous intersections in town; now it's probably one of the safest.

According to the CBB study done on the W. Broadway corridor in 2007, the Broadway / W Blvd intersection has too much traffic for a traffic circle to be effective. The study claimed the circle would spend most of 'rush hour' completely saturated and still cause traffic problems.

Of course that study also claimed that residents along W. Broadway making left turns in and out of their driveways was a primary cause of traffic backups on W. Broadway. That assertion is *completely* false; I've done the analysis myself. The median they want to put there is just road design pop culture, not a solution to any problem W Broadway has with traffic.

I have not evaluated whether the CBB study is correct about a traffic circle at West and Broadway.

(Report Comment)
Scott Batson September 21, 2011 | 12:13 p.m.

Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit for safety facts. The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works (or the ‘keep going fast’ large traffic circle fantasy). The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 2,300 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.

Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour – at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.

Many people confuse older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. Rotaries are not modern roundabouts. Traffic circles (Arc D’Triumph) are not modern roundabouts. European Vacation was not a modern roundabout. New Jersey/Europe are not removing modern roundabouts. If it has a signal, it's probably not a modern roundabout Visit to see the differences. has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate ( ).

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire September 21, 2011 | 12:28 p.m.

Not only that, I enjoy riding my bike through them. That should be worth at least ten points. Right?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 21, 2011 | 1:09 p.m.

@Paul: I'm probably worth 10 points, you're only worth 7. (just kidding)

(Report Comment)
Bill Fisher November 23, 2011 | 3:46 p.m.

@ Ellis Smith:

Zero sarcasm, I really meant what I wrote. Love 'em, and hope to see many, many more.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 23, 2011 | 4:08 p.m.

I might have to submit to their safety as everyone is slowing down, but effeciency is another matter. There is absolutely no way a series of modern roundabouts will move as much traffic as effeciently as a series of well timed lights along major traffic routes. If we are that concerned with safety you could just try and pass a law that says you have to slow down to 10 miles an hour (like you would be at a roundabout) every time you approach any intersection. See how far you get with that one...

(Report Comment)

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