The project is on the fast track, FDOT says. Next: Matanzas Woods and U.S. 1
The plans for a roundabout at U.S. 1 and Old Dixie Highway now include a bypass lane, so drivers who are traveling south won’t have to negotiate the circle, an FDOT official said on May 8. That is a change to the plans that were presented at a community meeting in January, which spurred opposition from residents, the Flagler County Commission and the Flagler Chamber.
But Chad Lingenfelter, a safety specialist with the Florida Department of Transportation, predicts that the opposition will fade once people see how well the roundabout works. FDOT built a similar roundabout on Grand Avenue in DeLand, and the public response went from “the sky is falling” before construction to “crickets” afterward, he said.
Lingenfelter admitted that the plans for roundabouts look like they won’t work on paper.
“You see this circle, and it looks like chaos, but when you drive them, they flow well,” he said at a Community Traffic Safety Committee meeting, which was led by School Board member Andy Dance and attended by representatives of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, the city of Palm Coast, Flagler Beach Police Department and the school district, among others.
If residents think roundabouts are too confusing, Lingenfelter said after the meeting, “well, then, don’t leave Flagler County.” The implication was that more roundabouts are coming throughout the state.
He told the CTST about the success of roundabouts in Carmel, Indiana, which since the 1990s has worked to replace all stop signs and signals with roundabouts. According to http://www.carmel.in.gov, the city now has the most roundabouts in the United States —100 — and has reduced injury accidents by 80%.
Bike trailer for safety instruction
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has been given a trailer that contains 20 bycicles, as well as traffic cones, signs, rope and chalk, that can be used to teach kids the rules of the road. The setup was donated by Safe Routes to School, according to Coordinator Karissa Moffett, who addressed the CTST on May 8.
Cpl. Joe Barile said the trailer will debut in the community in a few months.
Dance encouraged the intiative. “We have to get some of the basic education down, like which side you ride on, which side you walk on,” he said. “I still see, unfortunately, too many instances of people riding on the wrong side of the road.