Latest Update on Proposed Roundabout at Rio Grande and Candelaria.
5/30/2014: In March of 2014, the City reapplied for the federal safety grant to fund this project in order to extend the deadline for the project. The State once again awarded funds for the roundabout and increased the award for the total estimated cost. This means that $500,000 of City funds will not be required for the roundabout and can be made available for other City transportation projects. On May 19, 2014 City Council passed R-14-60 reaffirming that the construction of a roundabout at Rio Grande and Candelaria is a City project.
View the consultant’s responses to the questions and concerns from the public at the September Public Meeting for the Rio Grande Blvd and Candelaria Road Intersection Reassessment Report. This report was presented at the Nov. 13, 2013 Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee hearing.
Statement from Councilor Isaac Benton
May 14, 2014
Over the last year, I have carefully and respectfully considered the arguments for and against the roundabout.
There have been 11 accidents at the intersection of Rio Grande and Candelaria since data was collected for the updated intersection study last year (report dated July 2013). Two accidents since December of last year resulted in multiple injuries. Contributing factors were disregard for the traffic signal in three of the accidents, improper turns in three other accidents, and speeding in one accident. These factors are safety issues that can be mitigated by a roundabout, which is a nationally-recognized proven crash safety countermeasure. The 2013 study recommended a protected-permissive left turn signal, however, when disregard for signals and improper turns are contributing factors, this is not an effective countermeasure.
The 2013 study acknowledged that a roundabout would provide superior safety benefits and recommended that the intersection continue to be monitored and a roundabout not be ruled out, and after receiving the study, the City Council voted 7-2 against canceling the project. It is clear that this intersection will benefit from the significant safety improvements a roundabout can provide. I have decided to proceed with completion of the design of the roundabout, plus the restriping of a three-lane configuration (one lane in each direction with a center turn lane) on Rio Grande Boulevard north of the intersection to Griegos as a test project. Data will be collected before and after the restriping in order to help gage its effectiveness.
With 3-lanes on Rio Grande north of the intersection, the roundabout is even more logical and simple, as it will become a transition from three (3) two-travel-lane roadways to one 5-lane roadway to the south.
Over a minimum one-year period, the City will analyze the operation of the 3-lane test section. If it is functioning well, as I fully expect it to, the City will design permanent improvements to the public right of way between Candelaria and Griegos. The City would also then study continuing 3 lanes south, approximately to the area of Matthew, where outside lanes would become turn lanes at the transitions. South of Matthew, the present 5-lane configuration would remain, hopefully with slightly narrower lanes in accordance with the speed limit and allowing proper bike lanes (minimum 5 feet from the gutter pan).
My office will keep you informed as the project progresses.
City Councilor, District 2