Thu, Dec. 05

Editorial: Roundabout the perfect solution to Mingus-Willard traffic quagmire

Let’s face it. Some folks are always going to make a fuss about change.

So it should not come as a surprise that there are some people upset over Cottonwood’s plan to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Mingus Avenue and Willard Street. One reader comment this past went so far as to say “I usually drive up Mingus Avenue to Airport Road and go over Blackhills to avoid the roundabout altogether.”

To each his own, but we’ve had several years now to get used to this experiment called roundabouts and they have to be considered a success. Both Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek use them on their busiest Main Street intersections. The Yavapai-Apache Nation utilize them to keep traffic flowing at what otherwise would be a vehicle quagmire at the entrance of Cliff Castle Casino. And, of course, there is the series of roundabouts along Arizona 89A between Cottonwood and Clarkdale that allow for continuous traffic flow and ease of access along the highway’s busiest intersections.

The planned roundabout at the Mingus-Willard intersection will solve one of the biggest traffic jams in the entire Verde Valley. With the current four-way stop signs at this intersection, during peak traffic flows there often is a back-up that can run 20-cars deep in all four directions.

There are many who prefer signalized intersections over roundabouts. It’s debatable if that’s much of an improvement over four-way stop signs. The Arizona 260 and SR 89A intersection at the Chamber of Commerce building in Cottonwood is ample proof of that.

When you consider all the options for alleviating the Willard-Mingus traffic jam, it’s clear that Cottonwood officials have thought this one through.

The verdict is in on roundabouts in the Verde Valley: They are safe, efficient and most importantly, they keep traffic moving.

Cottonwood is on the right path with this project.

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