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Our take: North Cowichan has got you going in circles
Roundabouts are great and local government needs to be applauded for turning to them to create safer, cheaper and more efficient intersections.
But the valley — North Cowichan in particular — seems to be rapidly approaching a point where it seems to be going in circles on traffic circle development.
Traffic circles have been popping up in the valley on a regular basis since making their debut about a decade ago at Symonds Street and First Avenue in Ladysmith.
And it’s pretty hard for anyone who remembers what it was like at that spot before the switch to argue it hasn’t been a big improvement. Same goes for the Beverly and Lakes Road intersection in North Cowichan, and the Henry Road/Chemainus Road intersection in Chemainus.
These were spots where traffic back-ups were common and the chances of frustrated drivers and fender-benders seemed to be growing daily. Enter the roundabout and voila: traffic moving smoothly and fender-benders a thing of the past.
Not only were the roundabouts safer and more efficient than installing traffic lights, they were cheaper as well.
But somewhere along the line local planners seemed to have forgotten that old staple — the stop sign — still has a role in the traffic equation.
Roundabouts have started appearing in simple, relatively quiet intersections, like Donnay Drive. If we read North Cowichan’s plans correctly, there will soon be four roundabouts in less than a kilometre along Chemainus Road, including a stretch of three consecutive intersections.
Is there really enough traffic flow or potential for accidents to justify this expense?