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Letter To The Editor: What Is Justification For Trinity/Central Roundabout?

on April 4, 2016 - 10:43am
Los Alamos

A significant number of issues have been identified with the impending roundabout at Trinity and Central, which is slated to be built next year. These issues include the following considerations:

  • The current design is unsafe for trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
  • At morning and evening rush hours drivers going in the principal east-west direction will simply blow through it, stranding drivers who are not brave enough or experienced enough to barge in.
  • There is likely to be a significant increase in accidents, which will bring traffic to a standstill on our major thoroughfare.
  • Asymmetric flow will tend to divert west-bound traffic from Trinity onto Central.
  • Commuters will opt to take the truck route and shop elsewhere off the hill.
  • It will hinder emergency vehicles and impede evacuation of the town should we have another forest fire.
  • It will be an unwelcome and confusing introduction to Los Alamos for the anticipated visitors to the Manhattan Project National Park and the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
  • It will destroy the attractive small entrance park that we now have.
  • It will require land acquisition from other owners, including the schools.
  • Construction will disrupt traffic flows and create delays for everyone.
  • Nearby residents will be negatively affected by construction and altered traffic flow.
  • It will cost many millions of dollars to build, and a few years later it will be replaced by a signalized intersection at additional cost.
  • NMDOT has been resistant to roundabouts on NM 502 from the outset, and agreed only reluctantly when a few County Councilors made a special request.

In light of these issues:

  • What is the justification for this major project?
  • In particular, what current problem(s) is a roundabout trying to solve?

In view of all these issues the signalized version of the intersection originally proposed by the State Highway Department appears to be the better solution. If you are concerned about the roundabout, you can show your opposition by attending the County Council meeting on Tuesday, April 5, at 6 p.m. in the County Council Chambers, during which Bill Mead will present a petition, signed by hundreds of our friends and neighbors against the roundabout, and give a short presentation.