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Roseville drivers " are you ready for a roundabout"

City says change will improve traffic flow downtown, be pedestrian friendly
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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In an effort to lower traffic speeds and accidents, while providing a more pedestrian friendly environment, Roseville may construct a roundabout downtown.

An outside consulting firm determined the best location for the roundabout is at the intersection of Oak Street and Washington Boulevard. Traffic signals would be installed at Oak and Grants streets, and Oak and Lincoln streets.

Roseville City Council unanimously approved staff's request to move $1.3 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement funds to the roundabout project. Traffic mitigation fees would pay for the signals.

Acting Public Works Director Rhon Herndon said the roundabout falls in line with the city's vision for the redevelopment of downtown. Roundabouts result in lower traffic speeds and accident rates compared to intersections with signals, he said.

"Roundabouts are becoming a popular way of calming traffic," Herndon said. "In fact, they've been used in Europe for decades."

He said they add character to a neighborhood and are more pedestrian friendly. Roseville's downtown is a Pedestrian District Overlay Zone, which means the city's levels of service goals for traffic congestion are exempt in the area because the emphasis is more on creating a comfortable environment for pedestrians.

"We envision this as being an area of a lot of pedestrians - people milling about, enjoying restaurants down by (Dry Creek)," Herndon said.

In October 2011, staff began evaluating the feasibility of a roundabout downtown and retained a consulting firm to look at three options along Oak Street. The firm compared traffic conditions projected for 2025 and found that a roundabout would improve flow.

Roseville resident Teresa Gemignani spoke out against the plan during public comment.

"You're trying to impose a roundabout at an intersection in town that has existed for over 100 years ... adding a roundabout is going to be even more confusing to people who use that intersection."

Resident Laura Bullard also expressed opposition to the proposal.

"I just think roundabouts are a nightmare," she said.

Mayor Pauline Roccucci asked staff to solicit input from residents as they move forward on developing plans for the potential project.

"I'd still like you to meet with the neighbors," she said.

Here's a look at some other items approved during the May 2 council meeting:

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers MOU: The one-year agreement requires IBEW employees to continue to fund equivalent to the employee portion of their retirement benefits in 2012. Also they will be allocated 80 hours of personal time to be used or cashed out. This agreement will save the city about $454,000.

Jail access fee budget adjustment: The city will transfer $49,000 from its general fund to Roseville Police to pay outstanding invoices and make payments to the Placer County jail through this fiscal year. For the past 5 years, Roseville Police has come under budget for county jail booking fees. This year's increase is due to a decrease in city jail operating hours and staffing, so more inmates are transported from the city jail to Placer County jail.

Fuel purchase budget adjustment: With fuel price increases this year, a budget adjustment of $250,000 is needed to purchase fuel for the remainder of the fiscal year for a total award of $2.6 million to Hunt & Sons, Inc.

Advanced funding agreement: The city will make funds available through a loan from the Strategic Improvement Fund to the Roseville Community Development Corporation, following the dissolution of the Roseville Redevelopment Agency Feb. 1. The agency had agreed to provide a $5 million loan in initial start-up capital to the corporation and had released $3.47 million before its dissolution, leaving $1.53 million to be distributed.

Purchase of vehicles: The city will buy one 2012 Ford F550 with an aerial bucket truck and one 2012 Ford F350 4x2 super cab pickup from Downtown Ford for a total cost of $143,041.

Multi-family and small business audit program: Roseville Electric must implement energy efficiency programs to meet state mandates. The city selected Staples & Associates to perform on-site energy audits and install energy-efficient measures for an agreement not to exceed $400,000 so customers achieve electric savings as the city moves toward its goal of a .62 percent reduction in kilowatt hours per year. An estimated 1,300 small business customers and 800 multi-family customers will be able to take advantage of this program.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.