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Thu, Aug. 22

Editorial: Public should not resist roundabouts

No single word can spark a heated conversation more readily in this area than "roundabout."

It appears we may have more roundabouts as well as attendant controversy in our future.

Consultant Scott Ritchie of Roundabouts and Traffic Engineering reported this past week to the Prescott City Council that after a months-long study, he has concluded that the city should install roundabouts at six key intersections in the city, including:

• Highway 89 and a realigned Ruger Road.

• Highway 89 and the future Side Road connector (near the Phippen Museum).

• Willow Creek Road and the future Park West development.

• Highway 89A and the future Side Road interchange.

• Prescott Lakes Parkway and Sundog Ranch Road.

• Prescott Lakes Parkway and the future Sundog connector.

People whooped and screamed about the roundabout at Willow Lake Road and Highway 89, but the number of fatal accidents at the roundabout has dropped considerably.

The fact is, with some intensive signage leading up to them, and if drivers pay attention, drive the prescribed speed and stop chatting on cell phones, roundabouts are safe and efficient.

What's more important, they lead to fewer fatal accidents. And, although they are more expensive to install, they more than make up for that with little or no maintenance compared to signal light intersections.

But that doesn't mean the city will have a lark selling them to the public. Ritchie mentioned an intensive public education effort.

If that's what it takes, that's what the city ought to do.

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