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Roundabouts confuse traffic in Riverview

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Do traffic circles calm or confuse?

It’s been a while since traffic circles sprouted at various intersections in Riverview. Last week I rode my bike through the Ashland Avenue and Hay Street intersection. A driver entering the traffic circle yelled at me.

Many years ago, some Riverview residents petitioned (former mayor) Glen Murray, asking him for a four-way stop.  

"We felt fortunate that Glen Murray listened," said Kelly Sveinson. who lives close to the Ashland and Hay intersection.

Sveinson thought the four-way stop controlled traffic exceptionally well.

"I like the idea of people slowing down and stopping occasionally," Sveinson said.

Then one day work began on the traffic circles in the neighbourhood, including at Ashland and Hay. Many Riverview residents were unaware the circles were being built and the reason for the construction. They had missed a notice in the newspaper announcing a meeting on the traffic circles.

The circles are meant to slow down traffic in consideration of pedestrians and cyclists.

This system of traffic control is "extremely not friendly," Sveinson said.

"Pedestrians watch for vehicles heading towards the intersection. Some cars take the circle at 50 km/h. They are not required to stop."

One dog walker told me she found the intersection quite safe. A few minutes later a second dog walker said that cars speed up to the intersection and don’t always know who has the right of way.

"I worry about the kids at these intersections," she said.

"People driving down Hay Street don’t slow down and they have less respect for pedestrians," said a Maplewood Avenue resident.

"I don’t think they’ve done anything to calm traffic at all," said the woman, who had recently returned from a trip to England where she found that people know how to drive in traffic circles or roundabouts. In England, these circular intersections are usually found in urban areas rather than quiet residential neighbourhoods.

Penny Vatnsdal who also lives near Bartlett and Hay said, "People don’t seem to know how the traffic circles work. I often see drivers who are not obeying the circle’s directions."

Gary Vatnsdal is unaware of any accidents at the traffic circle.

The Vatnsdals say they did attend the meeting prior to construction of the traffic circles.
They are still waiting on one promise from that meeting — that the traffic circles would be made attractive.

Dianne Doney is a community correspondent for Fort Rouge. You can contact her at diannemary@hotmail.com

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