As a regular reader of the Mountain Democrat, especially the Letters to the Editor, I find that I have sometimes agreed with Mr. Alger and sometimes with Mr. Longhofer and Mr. Garon. For the first time I find that I disagree with all of them.
I have looked forward to the installation of the roundabout since I heard of the possibility several years ago. I use the Cedar Ravine/Clay Street/Main Street intersection several times a day. I find that getting out of Clay Street onto Main is problematic. All traffic from upper Main and Cedar Ravine merges together and forms a constant stream of vehicles.
The roundabouts that I have used were well marked, everyone seemed to know what they were doing, and had few problems, if any. Let’s not shut down this project. If we turn it down, there will be no money released for local use, since projects take time to be approved, and the money for this one will be gone, used elsewhere. The original reasoning for developing a roundabout included aligning Cedar Ravine and Clay Street, since both end at Main, offset by less than a block. If Clay is rerouted to join up with the current location of Cedar Ravine, the loss of parking will be the same. There is a one-lane bridge on Clay that would also be rebuilt as a part of this proposal. I think that the replacement of the one-lane bridge and the realignment of Clay to join Cedar Ravine is a great plan, with or without a roundabout. The roundabout came into the picture as a way to get funds.
The funding was obtained by getting a grant for cleaner air, by removing the stopping, idling, then accelerating that stop signs create. There is no cost to local government. If we do not use them, the available funds will be transferred to another municipality, not returned to taxpayers. I think that there is a bigger picture here than just a roundabout, and that our local government did a great job of finding the money for the roundabout and solving ancillary problems at the same time.