Editorial: We’ve gone round and round on roundabouts long enough

VVN/Halie Chavez

VVN/Halie Chavez

For whatever reason, folks in the Verde Valley insist on going round and round over the seven planned roundabouts currently under construction on State Route 260 between Cottonwood and Camp Verde.

Especially on social media, one would think the Arizona Department of Transportation has it in for the Verde Valley and 260 is being converted into a death trap.

As if the current two-lane alignment from Thousand Trails to the I-17 interchange has been the model for accident-free transportation. Just the opposite is true. That stretch of highway long ago exceeded its carrying capacity and has become one of the more dangerous stretches of highway in Arizona. The transition to a four-lane bifurcated highway is long overdue.

Further, despite all the complaining about roundabouts, there is ample evidence they provide safe traffic flow. We see that daily with the five roundabouts on U.S. 89A between Cottonwood and Clarkdale.

Even better evidence can be found when comparing the intersection of 6th Street and Mingus Avenue with Mingus and Willard Street. Mingus and 6th is a three-way stop that becomes a traffic logjam for early morning and late afternoon commuters. Compare that to the roundabout at Mingus and Willard and it is obvious which intersection is safer and which allows for a more steady traffic flow.

The new-look AZ 260 is going to be just fine. We are long overdue for a complete four-lane highway all the way between Cottonwood and Camp Verde.

The roundabouts provide access where it’s needed most and certainly is preferable to stop-and-go signalized intersections.

Finally, this issue has been debated to death and roundabouts are going to be a reality on 260.

You had better learn to live with it.

Comments

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JohnnyMontezuma 1 year, 2 months ago

Great Editorial, Mr. Engler! The roundabouts from Village of Oak Creek into Uptown Sedona have created a pleasant drive out of what once was a stop-and-go nightmare. We eagerly look forward to the new roundabouts on SR 260 during our Snow Bird Season there. We have numerous roundabouts here in Idaho Falls and vicinity. People here accepted them wholeheartedly and we've never heard any complaints about them. We've always been mystified why some Verde Valley folks think roundabouts are the end of civilization as we know it. Love your closing sentence, "You had better learn to live with it." BRAVO!

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The_Uppity_Peasant 1 year, 2 months ago

Who wants to stop for some stupid light? That's soooo 20th century. Roundabouts are self-regulating, the wave of the future.

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apbd 1 year, 2 months ago

Two things come to mind from your editorial. Shut up. You're only a taxpayer and we'll spend your money the way we want to. And, because we've done it our way, you must learn to live with it. So much for free speech that you don't want to listen to. We're a newspaper. We can treat our paying readers like children. Sad! Bill Dwyer

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ItsyBitsySpider 1 year, 2 months ago

Perhaps all roundabouts aren't created equal. And perhaps public input improves their utility.

The Willard-Mingus roundabout is a good example. This was debated for a year or more, and it turned out OK. People still stop as if there were a stop sign, but the sightlines are clear. It has adequate radius for the types of vehicles on that stretch of Mingus. And it is not on too much of an incline.

From what I've read so far, the State Route 260 roundabouts need a good deal more debate before they'll be as safe as tripped signals.

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IzzatSo 1 year, 2 months ago

All roundabouts are apparently not created equal. I've been told that in other locations, they have "oval-abouts", which are like roundabouts except stretched into an oval, with the longer sides aligned to the main road. Access rules are the same as for roundabouts, but since the majority of traffic is along the main route, their curves are slightly less sharp than entering from the side roads. I've never seen one myself, however.

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