Roundabouts on 33 east?

Brent Finnegan -- July 21st, 2006

It would make the drive to Massanutten more interesting. But it’s all just talk at this point.

By the year 2030, I’ll be way too old to go snowboarding at Massanutten anyway. But that’s the date the MPO is planning for. The idea is to overhaul 12 miles of the east 33 corridor, starting at Vine Street in the city, and ending in McGaheysville. At a public presentation Thursday, Thomas Flynn (of Draper-Aden Associates) laid out the options they’re considering as they begin their study of 33 east. Among the ideas, a off-road pedestrian/bike trail and roundabouts for the major intersections in the county piqued my interest. The focus was primarily on the county stretch of the road.

Between both meetings, over 50 city and county citizens showed up. By show of hands, citizens preferred the idea of a “rural expressway” over an “arterial” (commercial zone-friendly) makeover. Although, about half of the attendees didn’t seem to like the idea of roundabouts, even after it was explaned that roundabouts are lower maintenence, aesthetically attractive, and drastically reduce the number of fatal accidents in the intersection. It’s funny.. even though Americans hate sitting at stoplights, we consider the idea of roundabouts “too European.”

But like I said, it’s all just talk. The project description carefully states that, “the study will have a high probability of delivering recommendations that will be embraced by [the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization]…”

After the study is finished, they’re going to hold another public meeting.

-finnegan

4 Responses to “Roundabouts on 33 east?”

  1. Adam Sharp says:

    Another reason it’s all talk? No money. There’s hardly money to cover existing roads this year.

  2. finnegan says:

    Yeah, WHSV recently ran a story about secondary road budget cuts. I’m working on a story about public trans (or lack thereof).

  3. Barnabas says:

    Most of the people in the Harrisonburg-Rockingam area are stuck in their ways. The more people that move into this area and the generation X and Y start to be active in the public arena the more we will see modern city features being used, public transportation, roundabouts, dense housing etc…

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