Narberth Considers Roundabout For Wynnewood Intersection

Officials are waiting on more information before making a recommendation, Councilman Bob Wegbreit said.

Narberth officials are still waiting on more information before recommending a solution to traffic and safety concerns at the Wynnewood and Wynnewood intersection, but want more information on the logistics of installing a roundabout, Narberth councilman Bob Wegbreit said Tuesday.

Narberth Borough and Lower Merion Township have been considering options for the N Wynnewood Avenue and E Wynnewood Road intersection since a teenage pedestrian was struck there in December.

At a Monday night meeting, the Narberth Highway Committee heard from traffic engineer Brian Keaveney of Pennoni Associates as well as Michael Becker from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

Keaveney provided updated traffic counts for the Wynnewood intersection, which showed a significant drop in traffic volume since the reopening of the Narberth bridge. According to Wegbreit, however, Keaveney believes the new traffic counts still meet PennDOT’s requirements for considering a traffic light or roundabout for that intersection.

“Overall, the sense of the room was that a roundabout would be the preferred solution,” Wegbreit said of Monday's meeting. “It’s more traffic calming, it’s pedestrian-friendly.”

The committee asked Keaveney to return to the next Highway Committee meeting prepared to talk about the costs and logistics of a roundabout at the intersection.

After that meeting, the committee will have a stronger view of whether to recommend a roundabout, traffic signal or no changes at the intersection.

“Then with more facts, we can discuss with Lower Merion and with PennDOT what steps would come next … we want to be able to offer the public different alternatives with better facts and background,” Wegbreit said.

The next meeting of the Highway Committee is tentatively scheduled for March 25 at 7:30 p.m.

NB March 01, 2013 at 02:02 PM
PADOT said a round a min round about could fail as traffic builds up. So why is it that you all asked for a design of round about, knowing the traffic experts said it would fail AND knowing that a round about is almost $1million dollars, while a traffic light--more easily implemented and more effective--is only $150k? What kind of insanity is this?
Michael Alexander March 01, 2013 at 04:07 PM
NB, a mini roundabout doesn't cost $1 million dollars. The initial cost is about the same as a signal. The ongoing cost is much less that a signal. As traffic volumes increase, both a roundabout and a signal would "Fail", which simply means that queue times are over one minute for a car entering the intersection during peak periods. Most signalized intersections in our area are already failing. Under current conditions and even with the increased traffic due to the bridge being closed, a mini-roundabout can handle the traffic during peak periods just fine.
NB March 02, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Michae, according to the traffic engineers, a round about is much more expensive than a traffic light and much less effective. You are twisting words to say that a traffic light and a round about have an equal fail rate. You also know that a traffiic light is ot $250k. Finally, your committee has already made up its mind it wants a round about because your asked for round about designs from the engineers, instead of also asking for plannning for a light. You've made it blatantly clear you want a round about and will not consider a light. I'm trying to understand why that is?
Michael Alexander March 03, 2013 at 01:48 AM
Larger single lane roundabouts (100 ft inscribed circle or larger) funded through the DVRPC have recently cost somewhere around $1 million dollars. One example of these is in Burlington, NJ. This project is much larger than ours, requiring a lot more concrete. After taking a look on Google, I think utility poles there will be moved, which also inflates the cost. Here's an article about that project, with a picture: http://bit.ly/YV8mZr If we do construct a roundabout, it will be a mini-roundabout, and will be much smaller (45-60 ft inscribed circle). The cost would be comparable to the mini-roundabout just built in Bel Air, MD, which has an inscribed circle of 58 ft and cost $172,000 to build in the spring of 2012 (I think they also spent $25,000 on new LED lights too). They didn't need to move utility poles, and I'm hoping that we won't have to either. Here's a video about that one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KLbr1awEbk Our committee is a group of volunteers who is trying to do what's right for our community. We are also considering a light, but at the moment a mini-roundabout seems like a safer, more efficient and more ecological alternative, so we are exploring that avenue first. The reason we prefer a mini-roundabout is that roundabouts have been proven to be safer for pedestrians and automobiles than traffic signals. I'm not sure why that's hard to understand.
Michael Alexander March 03, 2013 at 01:52 AM
(I forgot to say that I think a traffic signal would cost between $150,000 and $200,000, which is why I say the costs are comparable)


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