This is a photo of the mini-roundabout concept on North Davies Rd.
Some drivers really like them and some are still getting use to them, but they are likely here to stay: the modern roundabout intersection.
Currently the City has only two roundabouts on Lundeen Parkway. This will soon change as the State Department of Transportation is developing two more on SR 92 at 99th Avenue NE and 113th Avenue NE that are expected to be in construction in 2013. In addition the City is considering the construction of two more next year in the Lake Stevens Center on North Davies at Vernon Road and at the north access of Frontier Village.
The North Davies roundabouts or RABs are planned to be “mini roundabouts”.
So what is a “mini” RAB? It is exactly what the name implies: a smaller version of the modern RAB.
It functions the same as the larger RABs and provides most of the same benefits. Where it really differs, besides being smaller, is it can be constructed within the existing limits of some intersections and has a center island that can be driven over.
A mini RAB requires little to no reconstruction of an existing intersection. To install one requires the placement of a small center intersection island, restriping of the pavement, and the installation of signs.
Work is expected to take about one week from start to finish with good weather. The cost for these two mini RAB is estimated at $25,000.
The idea for these two RAB came about as a subtask in the process of the subarea plan effort that the City began in 2010 to help improve the economical and job sustainability for the Lake Stevens community.
The subarea looks at long range planning for the area but it was recognized that some improvements were needed now. This effort is how to protect the existing businesses and jobs within the City until redevelopment and long-range transportation improvement will be performed. Most particularly in need of transportation improvements right now is the Frontier Village area where circulation is very challenging.
The effort to get to this decision involved public outreach, meeting with businesses, and developing short-range circulation concepts. While this effort is still in process for a short-range transportation concept plan, early modeling of the concepts demonstrated an immediate need and benefit for the two intersections along North Davies.
It was considered that the two mini RABs were needed for safety and capacity and were within a do-able budget limit.
While not all intersections are good candidates for mini RABs, these two intersections appear to fit well for this type of improvement. The City has been fortunate to have been selected by the Federal Highways Department of Transportation to model these intersections for a national study.
The initial modeling results by the Feds, base of existing operating mini RAB throughout the nation, are showing these two sites to be good candidates.
“The problems with circulation of the Frontier Village area has existed long before the City annexed this area,” said Mayor Vern Little. “Part of the long range subarea plan for the Lake Stevens Center is expected to address these traffic circulation problems in the future but some action is needed now to help traffic movement until the subarea plan is implemented. The North Davies mini roundabouts are a first step in an early action in this direction. We are excited about the prospect of what these could mean to our community in protecting our businesses and helping them grow.”