02/26/2017: "Roundabout For FH Proposed"
The idea of a roundabout for the main intersection at Spring Street and Argyle in Friday Harbor has been floating around for a long time, but now the Town is asking the public to weight in about a proposal to install a mini painted roundabout at the intersection of Argyle Avenue and Spring Street.
A Town Council meeting will be held Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers located at 60 Second Street.
The intersection is said to “provide unique challenges in terms of congestion, traffic control, and pedestrian safety. It is a high-volume intersection for the Town during certain hours of the day and peak seasons. Motorists have challenges making turns and often block the crosswalks to turn effectively.”
Past ideas to solve the perceived problems of the intersection include: expanding the intersection, installing all-way stop signs, and, yes, installing the first traffic lights in the county, however, all of these proposals can create their own set of problems for traffic flow, and in recognition of the problem, in 2015, the Town authorized a study for the” feasibility and preliminary design of a roundabout at the intersection. Town staff has suggested installing a ‘painted’” mini roundabout to fully gauge the impacts to the downtown core.” A painted circle would be like the “painted bump out” near Market Place that drivers often simply ignore and drive over as if it is not even there.
“It’s an awkward intersection with potential hazards,” said Town Administrator Wilson. “Studies indicate that roundabouts can be safer and more efficient than traditional stop signs or traffic lights. A roundabout should decrease distractions for drivers, create a safer environment and give an alternative to circling the block to regain access to lower Spring Street.”
Other goals for installing a “painted” mini roundabout include:
• Providing a low-cost (and reversible) street modification that can be installed in a short amount of time.
• Measuring its effectiveness for traffic control before committing to a long-term investment and change.
• Raising safety awareness and gathering community feedback by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Drawings and mock signage will be put on public display at Town Hall. Changes to the Argyle Avenue and Spring Street intersection would include:
• Removing stop signs and replacing them with yield signs.
• Installing a painted traffic circle at the intersection’s center.
• Using paint on the roadway and installing directional signage for traffic control markings.
• Moving crosswalks to appropriate locations.
More information regarding roundabouts can be found at these Department of Transportation websites:
The public is encouraged to use the intersection, give feedback, and participate in upcoming meetings. Comments and concerns regarding this proposal can also be forwarded to the Town by contacting Amy Taylor, Town Clerk at 378-2810 or emailing email@example.com.