Local communities going around in circles

It seems that Summerland is following the City of Penticton in the area of roundabouts

A short time ago, the city fathers brought out their first brainchild, the roundabout on Front Street. It was strategically placed at the bottom of Vancouver Hill. As we all know, Vancouver Hill is the main artery to Naramata. The thought put into this, or should I say lack of thought put into this, is amazing. I don’t remember anything done by the city to confer with freight or transportation companies as to the efficacy of such a project.

These large trucks seem to negotiate the roundabout but not without some difficulty, especially since Frank the Baggage Handler isn’t in the centre to direct them anymore. It makes trucking somewhat awkward I’m sure, as these vehicles try to complete their missions in and around the roundabout area.

Council didn’t seem to glean much from this first installation and proceeded with construction of the Power Street circle, the second roundabout. I have seen so many close calls while trying to navigate this labyrinth-like form that it makes me cringe to think about it. It is a small wonder that there has been as little auto carnage as there has. Again, commercial vehicles, buses and the like find it somewhat cumbersome to negotiate this area. So too, city drivers need to be reminded that the triangular signs that adorn each entrance mean what they diagram and that is to yield. Many drivers seem to sense that if they can beat whoever is inside the circle, then so be it.

It seems that roundabouts might be likened to a virus as of late. Summerland has seemed to adopt the roundabout scenario. Perhaps this is a viral issue that might be termed as “roundaboutitis.” It seems that Summerland has followed the City of Penticton in this area of roundabouts. It almost seems like a monkey see, monkey do scenario. There are two of these in place in the main area of town currently, as many of us know. Summerland city fathers are thinking of making it three in a row. I don’t know if they are trying to upstage Penticton or they are merely trying to add to traffic confusion.

The latest proposed “circle of confusion” is at the four-way stop on S. Victoria Road, I’m led to believe. Currently this area is a stop-sign controlled four-way stop. It appears to be working and the majority of people seem to negotiate it in a satisfactory way. With the changing of this pattern to a roundabout, it’s a whole new kettle of fish. I wonder if those involved in transportation of goods and services needing to get to different areas of Prairie Valley Road have had any input as they are a large user of this path.

It begs the question of “wouldn’t it be more expedient to put in a traffic light” and in so doing, respect the environment and topography? What do the taxpayers think? Evidently it doesn’t seem to be a matter of concern or they haven’t had a chance for sufficient input. It would appear that the city fathers have taken a page from the Penticton city fathers and are going to do what they are going to do. It might be a shaky wake-up call for taxpayers in Summerland although I sincerely hope not.

Ron Barillaro