We now know what the City of Edmonds’ at Five Corners will look like.
And when Public Works Director Phil Williams unveiled an artist’s depiction at a City Council meeting this week, he acknowledged he’s heard resistance for the project from many residents.
But Williams, in making his case for the roundabout, said research from other cities with roundabouts show that initial opposition to the traffic circles eventually turns to support after they are in place.
Williams gave a number of reasons why the city should adopt the roundabout, whose initial design and engineering cost comes from a $463,000 air-quality grant from the federal Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, as well as $73,000 of the city’s money.
- It is necessary because a 2008 transportation plan, based on traffic delay time, congestion and other factors, gave Five Corners an “F” rating (“A” is best).
- It will speed up traffic. Williams said that, at peak traffic hours, the average delay is almost two minutes. This figure can be pared down to 10 seconds with a roundabout.
- It will approve the look of the intersection, a major gateway to Edmonds, with a possible design to tie into the fountain at Fifth and Main (which is not a true roundabout since it has stop signs).
- It will encourage new business and future development.
- It will decrease pollution and save 93,000 gallons of fuel per year.
- It will make it easier, and safer, for pedestrians to cross the intersection.
Williams pointed out that Washington has added 205 roundabouts since 1997, and more than 3,000 have been installed nationwide during the same period. In the Puget Sound cities of Woodinville, Gig Harbor and Sammamish, roundabouts have proven to be popular among a majority of residents, he said. .
Edmonds secured a federal transportation grant in 2010 to fund the design and right-of-way phases, the latter of which will likely include widening the intersection. The city will be pursuing additional transportation grants next year to fund the construction phase of the project, which is expected to be about $2 million.
The public is invited to comment on the roundabout during the City Council meeting on Dec. 20.