Complaints from residents prompted Columbia officials to install a temporary roundabout at a borough intersection last October.
Nearly one year later, complaints from residents has prompted officials to take it down.
Borough Manager Mark Stivers on Thursday said the roundabout was installed to test whether the intersection at South 12th Street and Central Avenue would reduce the incidence of accidents and speeding.
At a Sept. 1 borough council work session, residents let officials know how they felt, with some calling the traffic-calming measure a “monstrosity,” a “death trap” and a “failed experiment.”
More than a dozen residents made public comments or wrote letters expressing dissatisfaction with the roundabout. Concerns included it is confusing; it’s too narrow for large vehicles, including emergency vehicles; and cars frequently hit the barrels, moving them out of place.
The roundabout is an 8-by-18-foot barrier made up of six traffic barrels forming a circle. Yield signs were placed at the corner of each street at the intersection.
“The overwhelming response from the public is that (it) did not help but in some people’s opinion, made it worse,” Stivers said Thursday.
The roundabout, which was installed Oct. 7, 2019, will be removed Oct. 1.
Borough police Chief Jack Brommer told LNP | LancasterOnline last May that he reached out to the state Department of Transportation after receiving complaints from residents.
“The PennDOT experts tell us a roundabout will be more effective at slowing traffic than stop signs,” Brommer said then. “Stop signs actually cause greater issues and more accidents.”
Brommer said there had been an increase in the number of accidents along the heavily traveled five-block stretch of South 12th Street between Lancaster Avenue (Route 462) and Manor Street.
The only stops signs for motorists traveling on South 12th Street along that stretch are at the street’s intersections with Barber and Manor streets.
At the Sept. 1 borough council work session, several residents proposed creating a four-way stop at South 12th Street and Central Avenue. However, PennDOT traffic consultant Patrick Wright said the intersection does not meet quantitative requirements in terms of traffic flow and number of accidents.
Stivers, who began his job as borough manager at the end of March, directed a question about whether the roundabout did reduce the number of accidents and speeders to Brommer. The police chief did not respond to Watchdog’s requests for comment.
Prior to its installation, Brommer said it would be monitored for three to six months and then it would be evaluated. A meeting to evaluate the roundabout was scheduled in March but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Stivers said the borough will continue to work with its engineer, Derek Ronaldo of C.S Davidson, on a solution to the speeding and accidents along South 12th Street.