A roundabout

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No one who is elected or paid to work for the City of Keizer wakes in the morning thinking they’ll make life difficult for residents.

The reaction on social media to a news story about a traffic roundabout at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane was swift. Most people who posted didn’t see a need for it and thought it was silly to spend money on it while police positions go begging. Some cited safety concerns.

Some people have spoken—only a little too late. The roundabout—a final design has not yet been finalized—was part of the city’s Transportation System Plan (TSP) written in 2009. There were public hearings concerning the plan. Funds have been secured for construction which is expected to begin in 2014.

Those who say the money can be better spent on more immediate needs such as beefing up the Keizer Police Department, may not be aware of the funding process. State and federal money will be used for the project. City money from its Street Fund must be used exclusively for street projects; it is dedicated money that is not part of the city’s general budget.

One of the reasons cited for garnering grants from the feds and the state is that the roundabout is a modern, creative solution to a traffic problem.

The intersection of Chemawa Road and Verda Lane is busy, especially late afternoons. The choice of a roundabout rather than electronic traffic signals assures that most of the $1.2 million price tag will be borne by someone else. Keizer has always found a way get the most for the lowest cost to the city itself. It would be irresponsible for the city to spend upwards of a million dollars of its own money to install signals, a decidedly 20th century solution.

Research has shown that roundabouts lead to safer intersections. Will it be an adjustment for drivers? Certainly, but a roundabout will keep traffic flowing smoothly, which is important to Keizer residents.

In previous public meetings the city’s Public Works and Community Development Departments have found that residents want creative solutions to Keizer’s traffic. As the city continues to grow traffic, too, will increase. The roundabout is a low-cost solution to an issue that always ranks high in the concerns of our citizens.

The roundabout is a change from what Keizer has now. Traffic experts are confident this change will be beneficial for drivers. No one wants to make driving in Keizer more difficult, that’s why the roundabout is a good idea for our city’s future.

—LAZ

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