Roundabout walls there so you can`t see around them
So what are those circulator stonewalls doing in the center of the Apponaug roundabouts?
Didn’t anyone clue in designers that you can’t see through stone and if the walls weren’t there motorists would have a clear view of roundabout traffic? And to make it all that more difficult to get a glimpse of what’s on the opposite side of a roundabout, these walls will surround raised gardens with plantings.
It isn’t a mistake, assures Department of Transportation spokesman Charles St. Martin. Motorists entering the roundabouts aren’t supposed to have a clear view of vehicles approaching the system from the opposite direction.
It’s all designed to have motorists entering the system slow down and focus on who is already in the roundabout. St. Martin also called it a “visual clue of how the road bends.”
St. Martin gives the example of a conventional signaled intersection. Confronted with a caution light, motorists will assess conditions and, in many instances, speed up because they calculate they can beat the cross traffic. That’s just the sort of response that obscuring portions of the roundabout is designed to stop. The approach, he said, should be cautionary, slowing down and yielding to vehicles in the roundabout. He listed the three tenants to using roundabouts as: yielding to traffic in the roundabout; not changing lanes when in the roundabout; and choosing a lane on entering a roundabout.
The speed limit is 25 mph in the roundabouts.
The walls are one of several questions raised by the $71 million project that has been talked about for decades and after two years of construction is drawing to completion.
Yes, the project is on schedule and on budget, assures St. Charles. That’s positive news. It’s also good news that the current traffic restrictions at crosswalks are temporary and that work on the fifth and last of the roundabouts is in full swing.
St. Martin explained the concrete crosswalks, which Cardi Construction waited until warm weather to install, take seven days to cure before they can accommodate traffic. Therefore, the walks are being done in sections as one of two lanes is closed. He also said the delay on the crosswalks enabled motorists to acclimate to the system.
Some motorists, however, are finding it difficult to alter what seems should be the quickest way to get between two points – the shortest distance.
While most of the 25,000 vehicular trips through Apponaug Village center have been moved to Veterans Memorial Drive, St. Martin notes many motorists turn off the drive to pass in front of City Hall in order to reach West Shore Road. Although longer, St. Martin ventures the trip can be made quicker by staying on the drive and connecting with West Shore Road at William’s Corner.
Apart from motorist familiarization, St. Martin points out that as the full roundabout becomes complete operation improves. Multiple entries provide for “gaps” in traffic, allowing for motorists to enter the system. When there are only two entries, the traffic speeds up, reducing the gaps.
St. Martin said drainage and electrical work is now being done in the area of Apponaug Four Corners, which will become the fifth roundabout in the circulator system. When completed, that section of Post Road in the village center will be reduced to a single travel lane, with parking on both sides and a bicycle lane.
There will be new curbing and sidewalks with bump outs for the crosswalks, “like Pawtuxet,” said St. Martin. He expects those improvements to be completed by late August. Work is also being done on that section of Centerville Road and the Toll Gate/Centerville/Veterans Memorial Drive that will include a new bridge over the Apponaug River.
Overall, St. Martin said about 75 percent of the project has been completed.
The saw tooth building – what remains of the former Apponaug Mill – will go up for auction after the previous owner is given first refusal and the city given second refusal. Mayor Scott Avedisian indicated last week that the city is not interested in acquiring the property at this point. Assuming the former owner does not want the property, St. Martin expects it will go up for auction in three to four weeks.