Delays & bumper cars...but just wait

Greenwich Ave., Veterans MEmorial Drive site of most accidents

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Designed to improve the flow of traffic and reduce the volume of accidents, Apponaug’s roundabouts so far have failed on both counts. The interruption in the flow of traffic, which has city and state authorities suggesting motorists should seek alternate routes if they are going through the Greenwich Avenue roundabout at Veterans Memorial Drive, should improve in another 10 days. As for the accidents that are triple what they were with the one-way rotary through the village, police are saying it’s a matter of Rhode Island drivers learning how to drive a roundabout.

For the period from Jan. 1 to May 2, the four intersections that make up the roundabouts (Apponaug Four Corners is not included) recorded 46 accidents as compared to 13 for the same period last year, according to police records. By far the worst of the roundabouts for accidents is at Greenwich Avenue and Veterans Memorial Drive, where 30 were recorded this year compared to five last year.

Sgt. John Kelly, director of the traffic division for Warwick Police, knows of no serious roundabout accidents, with most of them being sideswipes where motorists failed to yield on entering a roundabout or abruptly changed lanes while in a roundabout to get out of the system.

Delays in the overall system are related to construction and, in particular, crosswalks at the Greenwich Avenue roundabout that is key to motorists looking to go east and west as well as north and south while avoiding the heart of the village.

With the extension of Veterans Memorial Drive to Centerville and Toll Gate Roads completed, the roundabout became functional late last year. Department of Transportation spokesman Charles St. Martin explains because of colder weather and to let motorists acclimate to the roundabouts, the decision was made to delay the installation of cement crosswalks until now. The cement takes a week to cure before they can be opened to traffic. Hence, the walks are being built in segments with traffic restricted to a single lane. Once one lane is completed and cured for a week, it is reopened and the second lane is closed for a week.

“It’s not fun for anybody,” said Kelly. “Everybody wants it done.”

He suggests motorists looking to get to Route 95 from the east side of the city take Main Avenue until the Greenwich Avenue roundabout is fully reopened. Crosswalk construction resulting in the constriction of lanes has also resulted in delays at the Post Road Extension and Veterans Memorial Drive roundabout with traffic backups beyond the underpass and to West Shore Road.

Kelly has found breaking old habits especially difficult. In an informal survey he found that eight out of 10 motorists looking to get to West Shore Road from Centerville and Toll Gate Roads chose to go through Apponaug Four Corners rather than continuing on Veterans Memorial Drive and cutting across to Williams Corner. Now as crews work on the Apponaug Four Corners roundabout, he’s finding motorists realize it’s to their advantage to stay on Veterans Memorial Drive. That should be true as well with completion of the last piece of the overall $71 million project – the Apponaug Four Corners roundabout and that segment of Post Road in front of City Hall – by this fall.

As St. Martin points out, the village center portion of Post Road, which will remain one-way going east, will include a bicycle lane and include bump outs like those in Pawtuxet designed to slow traffic. The objective is to offer motorists looking to avoid the village a means of doing so and providing a pedestrian-friendly environment in the village that will serve to bring businesses into Apponaug and revitalize the village.

As for educating motorists on driving roundabouts, Kelly said it is taking time.

“We’ve already replaced a ton of yield signs,” he said. There have also been some wrong way and drunk drivers.

“It’s confusing enough for someone who is not drunk,” he said of the overall system.

Yielding to traffic in the roundabout is critical, he said, as is maintaining the flow. He recommended for motorists finding themselves in the inner lane and finding themselves hemmed in as they approach their exit to make a second round.

“Whenever changing lanes make sure it is safe,” he said.

For motorists who find themselves in a game of bumper car and an accident, he said, it’s best for the motorists involved to get out of the roundabout and let police sort it out.

Despite construction delays and the learning curve, Kelly finds the roundabouts efficient and could see them working at Wildes Corners and Oakland Beach Four Corners. He doubts it would work at Hoxsie Four Corners, the city’s busiest intersection with 40,000 vehicles as day. He doesn’t see a roundabout – assuming there was the space to build it – working at the Airport and Post Road intersection either.

Kelly said only a few violations for failure to yield has been issued and those mostly related to accidents. He said enforcement of yielding would be stepped up with completion of construction and as drivers become familiar with the roundabouts.

Comments

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Thecaptain

The amount of unnecessary costs of this project is insane. There was no need for stamped concrete crosswalks. Yellow paint is acceptable, more noticeable, and much less expensive. The stone walls are the most ridiculous waste of money but were just a gift to the laborers union. Now we are paying for big letters that say WELCOME TO CRAPPANAUG. Just more waste from incompetent department heads and politicians. Guess we have an unlimited revenue stream. Too bad we cant afford to sweep the debris.

Tuesday, May 23
Stella

The roundabouts are too small for the volume of traffic. If you yield the right away to the traffic you will never enter during rush hour.

Tuesday, May 23
RISchadenfreude

The joke in Europe is that if the population in a given area gets too high they build a couple of rotaries.

Whoever thought this was a good idea for Apbortionaug needs to be committed.

Residents will be paying the price, as usual, and the city center will be further avoided, not revitalized; for example, the only thing worse than the backup at the rotaries is pulling into a parking lot (Captain's Crotch, for example) and trying to get back out into traffic again.

Wednesday, May 24
bendover

LOL! Only in Rhode Island and more specifically Warwick would we import 1940's traffic ideas that mimic the Bourne and Sagamore rotaries and tell the taxpayers that this is new technology in traffic calming and traffic mitigation measures...I guess the powers that be are still trying to wrap their heads around the boy Treasurers letter to the editor from last week that surprise, surprise, cities and towns are a combined $2B+ dollars in the hole regarding unfunded liabilities...BEAM ME UP...The decision makers are brain dead.

Wednesday, May 24
Kammy

I guess I am in the minority here. I love the new traffic pattern. Instead of getting off of 95 and waiting endlessly through two lights and many left turns, I can now smoothly go through the two rotaries and get home faster. I also like coming from East Greenwich, going straight to the "problem rotary" and heading past the police station to Post Road. If RI drivers could learn the art of yielding and getting in the correct lane this would be a much more effective way to travel. Unfortunately in this state no one likes to yield even when they have a yield sign, no one likes to give way and no one wants to be second. We are a state of rude, distracted and ignorant drivers. Do I think the amount of money spent on this is ridiculous? Yes. But now instead of avoiding the square I chose to drive through it when 95 is backed up. I am well aware I am a party of 1 on this but I stand behind my opinion.

Wednesday, May 24
PaulHuff

LOL @Bendover. You don't even know the difference between a roundabout and a rotary. If you don't know what you are talking about it is best to keep ones mouth shut.

These roundabouts work great, other than the RIDOT closing the lanes for the crosswalks 24/7 with no traffic control. If the traffic backs up into the roundabout how is anyone else supposed to enter? You need a cop or a flagged there to let people in. If you need to do these foolish cement crosswalks then you should man the posts properly so it doesn't take 20 minutes to get from the Post Rd. Extension to Greenwich Ave.

Wednesday, May 24
Thecaptain

To Kammy and MrHuff,

Maybe you missed this. Since early 2014, the project was publicly announced as a 30 million dollar project. Every related news article about the project confirmed that it was a 30 million dollar project. RI DOT announcement confirmed it was a 30 million dollar project. It was not until October 16, 2016 when the first Gina Raimondo / DOT sign went up in Crappanaug, was there any notification anywhere that this was now a 71 million dollar project. The bottom line is that there are too many aspects of this project that are unnecessary, not cost effective, and add nothing positive to the project. These were all giffts to the laborers union. I have enclosed every news article about the project since the first day that Linc Chaffee announced it. You will not that it was touted as a 30 million dollar project. The project specifications show it as a 30 million dollar project. Why now is it 71 million, on time and on budget?????

http://warwickonline.com/stories/chafee-in-spotlight-as-apponaug-circulator-starts,95608?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/on-the-way-to-lake-apponaug,95202?

http://wpri.com/2014/11/12/fall-river-man-dies-at-apponaug-circulator-project-in-warwick/

http://turnto10.com/archive/road-worker-killed-in-early-morning-accident

http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20141114-worker-who-died-in-warwick-construction-accident-identified.ece

http://www.630wpro.com/2014/11/12/news-construction-worker-dies-during-apponaug-construction-project/

http://wbsm.com/massachusetts-construction-worker-killed-in-warwick/

https://www.m-n-law.com/blog/fatal-rhode-island-construction-accident-highlights-risks-workers-face/

http://johnstonsunrise.net/stories/swinging%20equipment%20blamed%20in%20death%20of%20construction%20worker,97849

http://warwickonline.com/stories/apponaug-circulator-were-starting-to-see-where-well-be-going-this-fall,111948?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/some-relief-in-sight-for-apponaug-drivers-as-crews-shift-focus,103662?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/tower-ready-to-come-down,101786?

Here's a good one!! http://warwickonline.com/stories/apponaug-circular-so-far-substandard,100432?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/circulator-project-in-hibernation-for-now-but-on-schedule,100242?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/working-on-the-apponaug-circulator,97051?

Wednesday, May 24
warwick10

71million?! Unnecessary! Roads, parks, and schools need major improvements... roundabouts, no! Greenwich Ave. bypass/connector to Centerville Road

vs. roundabout..saving $$$!

Wednesday, May 24
Kmg41699

I cannot believe the MESS that's been created there. Why are we paying millions of taxpayer dollars on brick pedestrian paths??!!! What's with all the trees and grass that eventually will look like crap because it won't be taken care of?? This is what happens when stupid people make decisions that line the pockets of their friends, families, and well-known business people. I'm disgusted at the length of time this ridiculous project has taken. Get with it, Warwick!! Morons.

Wednesday, May 24
WwkVoter

After reading Rob's comments about the Apponaug Circulator project costs, I found this at RIDOT:

http://www.dot.ri.gov/news/apponaug/index.php

Project Cost: $71 million, which includes a $29.8 million construction contract.

I found in one of the articles Rob linked above that $11 million was for land acquisition costs, 30 million for construction. Thats a total of $41 million. Not sure what the remaining $30 million is for as yet. And of course the question why the press was apparently always told 30 million when there was the land acquisition cost always there and another 30 million of who knows what. That is a lot of money. But the project was long overdue and a positive change (other than the huge increase in accidents).

Thursday, May 25
Kammy

@Thecaptain Maybe you missed this? I said I thought the money spent was ridiculous so you naming every article on the cost wasn't necessary. I said that I thought it was an improvement on the old traffic pattern. I understand many don't agree with me and I am fine with that. I also know that anytime we have a project (whether city or state) the price tag originally listed is NEVER the number at the end of the invoice.

Thursday, May 25
RISchadenfreude

Kammy,

In the 1960's and 70's, members of the General Assembly and municipal councils across RI who were bought and paid for by the organized crime-owned construction companies sold the narrative that private contractors would cut municipal costs by eliminating construction workers and equipment from the bottom line. Fast-forward 40+ years and we have "highway departments" that can hardly cold-patch a pothole, and plowing is done more and more by private contractors.

The goal was to make the private construction contractors the sole provider, which they now are. When they are the only game in town, they can charge what they want and get away with it, and you'd better believe there's collusion at the highest Government levels.

In any other business, Estimators who were that far off on the cost of a project would be fired (and probably hired by RI's Finance Director).

A couple of my favorite examples are the Greenwood Bridge and the Broadway Bridge near Olneyville in Providence- where else does it take three years to build a bridge that was already there?

It's incredible when you realize it only took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge.

Friday, May 26
richardcorrente

I can't find one traveler that thinks this is safer than what we had before. (police records prove that.)

I can't find one merchant on the circle that reports more business. (In fact, they all are reporting less, some much less)

I can't find one taxpayer (not one!) that thinks this project is worth the money the taxpayers paid (Warwick and state and fed).

For the record: As Mayor, I would have spoken to these people before spending ANY TAXPAYERS MONEY on this project.

For the record: The taxpayers, the ones that are paying the tab, would have talked against it. (almost unanimously).

For the record: I wouldn't have done it. The taxpayers would have spoken and I would NOT have moved forward.

For the record: There have been 6 times as many accidents as a result of the circulator.

I think we can all agree that this was a bad idea of Mayor Scott Avedisian.

And every taxpayer is paying for it one way or another. 71 million taxpayers dollars.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Friday, May 26