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Thursday, July 7, 2022
Editorial: Around and around

We love roundabouts. They are safe, efficient and keep traffic moving.

Anyone who has driven in Europe or the United Kingdom knows that roundabouts (aka traffic circles) are everywhere.

Because they work.

North American drivers for whom the concept is new sometimes need a period of adjustment when encountering a new roundabout or if they've never driven on one before.

It's pretty simple: the vehicles circling the roundabout have the right-of-way. Oncoming vehicles need to yield to traffic on the roundabout and enter when there is a break in the action. 

Sometimes patience is required.

The Region of Niagara seems to love roundabouts as well. 

Niagara's planners and engineers have installed several roundabouts across the region in recent years – and the plan is for more of them.

Because, in the right circumstances and in the right situation, they are a sound and sensible choice.,

That said, a roundabout is not a sound and sensible choice for the “Four Corners” intersection at Four Mile Creek and York roads in St. Davids. (Yes, the region is eying one for the crash-prone intersection of York and Concession. Now that one seems to make logical sense.)

Besides legitimate concerns for those pedestrians who might need to cross the street in St. Davids, there seems to be a litany of reasons why this intersection is not suited to a roundabout.

It's a case of trying to force a “round” peg into a square hole.

The geography, with several businesses directly abutting where the roundabout would go, would seem to be the biggest reason why this regional idea is a bad one.

It's all just too crammed, will require some expensive property expropriation and then some of those same businesses that border the roundabout will suffer because it may be awkward, even dangerous for people wanting to get in and out of their parking lots. Not to mention what might happen to the value of their properties.

Some of the historical and other concerns voiced by residents are also not to be taken lightly.

The region's seeming fixation with a roundabout at the Four Corners is misguided and needs to be revisited.

The existing four-way stop remains workable and in the future maybe a conventional stop light will be required.

But squeezing a roundabout into this space strikes us as a foolishly expensive and unnecessary choice.

The region needs to head back to the drawing board.