Hamburg residents are not keen on more roundabouts
“Village wants to install 2 Lake Street roundabouts.” Nice headline, but many of us in this community still think the roundabouts were a less than ideal solution to the village’s traffic congestion. Check out the traffic attempting to get past the roundabouts at 4 p.m. on a weekday. Tempers flare, vehicles jostle for position and frequently cars cut each other off or “convoy” onto the circle preventing those on another street from entering.
What’s truly amazing is that anyone would think roundabouts make an area more pedestrian friendly! After all, it’s much easier and safer to cross a street in a crosswalk when traffic is stopped behind a stop line at an intersection than to dart across moving traffic 10 feet before a yield sign that is often ignored.
I am well aware that the State of New York and many traffic experts who don’t have to drive here insist upon more roundabouts, but there are three simple things that can be done to make them safer for pedestrians and easier for traffic to negotiate:
• First, replace the yield signs with stop signs. This will make it easier for vehicles to enter the roundabouts and traffic will flow at the reduced speeds intended. People will be forced to take turns entering the roundabouts and can smoothly proceed to their exit.
• Second, enforce the correct use of signals: right signal after the last exit not taken; left signal, never. Obviously, enforcement would be a challenge.
• Third, the crosswalks at roundabouts should be after the stop signs and those arbitrarily placed, not necessarily at corners, should have signs placed in the middle of the street to make motorists aware. Neighboring communities do this; Hamburg places these signs on the curb. The one at Pleasant and Buffalo blocks the visibility of drivers without protecting pedestrians.
I hear of the importance of a visual “gateway” upon entering the village. Safety for pedestrians and relieving congestion are far more important.