Mark LaChance: Proposed roundabout akin to bombing ant colony

Monday, March 20, 2017
Proposed roundabout akin to bombing ant colony

Having worked full-time at our family business, Mark’s Motors, for 31 years, I have traveled Hatfield Street to the North King Street intersection almost every day of those 31 years by car, large truck and bicycle.

Never have I had an incident negotiating said intersection in the thousands of times I have done so. I am concerned that the proposed roundabout is akin to dropping a bomb on an ant colony. It is simply too much.

The project is too much of a footprint for the residents and businesses in proximity to the intersection. It is too much of an expense. There may be grant money provided, but in the end it’s still taxpayer money. It is too much construction time, which in turn will create too much of a financial burden on the businesses in the neighborhood, the majority of which are locally owned and small.

The manager of River Valley Co-op expressed concern about possible layoffs during the lengthy construction process. I imagine the same could be said of the other businesses here with multiple employees.

I am concerned that alternative, less expensive, less disruptive and less time-consuming designs were not considered. A signalized T intersection with a sensor-operated light seems like a viable alternative. Others are a designated right-turn lane off of North King Street, heading south onto Hatfield Street, with a lowered speed limit, or no left turns, from North King Street, heading north onto Hatfield Street.

UPS mostly eliminated left turns on their routes long ago, with one of the reasons that 61 percent of accidents in intersections happen during left turns.

Finally, I am concerned about all the sidewalks proposed. Having worked at this location for decades, I can attest to the fact that it doesn’t see much foot traffic. One sidewalk, on the west side of Hatfield Street, from the crosswalk at Cooke Avenue, would be sufficient for pedestrians looking to walk to River Valley Co-op and points north.

Mark LaChance