Converting 3rd and 4th streets to two-way thoroughfares would include traffic roundabouts at 10 intersections that would cost less to change than using traffic lights, Davenport aldermen learned Monday.

The idea of roundabouts was met with groans from some on the city council, while other aldermen defended it.

“This isn’t something being used just in big, progressive cities,” Alderman Jason Gordon, at-large, said during the council work session. “They are being used in small Midwestern cities.”

Several aldermen traveled to Carmel, Ind., just north of Indianapolis, recently to see what that city has done with roundabouts.

A roundabout is a circular intersection with a raised dome in the center that requires vehicles to yield to other vehicles and slow down as they go through the intersection or go around it to exit the roundabout. The outside of the dome would be about 2 inches high with a concrete dome about 6 inches high in the center. Some cities place landscaping in the middle.

The two-way change would run from Telegraph Road through downtown to River Drive.

Public Works director Mike Clarke described “mini-roundabouts” for the intersections of 3rd and 4th streets with Iowa, Harrison, Gaines, Marquette and Division streets. State approval would be required for the Harrison Street intersections because Harrison is a state route carrying U.S. 61 traffic.

The original estimate to convert the one-ways to two-ways was $2.2 million to install new traffic lights along the route. But the plan presented Monday to use a combination of roundabouts, stop signs and traffic lights would cost only $500,000.

Aldermen also heard about a plan to implement parallel parking on Harrison Street from 6th to 16th streets. The plan received positive comments from area business owners and representatives of the Hilltop Campus Village. Most of the work to convert the parking could be done by Public Works crews with no significant costs.

Both the Harrison Street and 3rd and 4th streets projects will be included in the capital improvement plan presented at the city council budget session at 9 a.m. Saturday at City Hall. Alderman appeared likely to act on the Harrison Street project, but move more slowly on the conversion of 3rd and 4th streets.

Fire Chief Lynn Washburn raised a safety concern with the roundabouts and how they could impede a fire truck and slow response time. Three companies that operate out of the Central Fire Station would be affected.

“We would talk to other departments about how they deal with it,” she said. “A 100-foot aerial won’t make a nice easy turn like a car.”

Kyle Carter of the Downtown Davenport Partnership spoke in favor of the plan, saying two-way streets would make the downtown more accessible and open up more parking as the downtown continues to grow.

“We see this as something that can continue to catapult us in that direction,” he said.

The change on Harrison Street would likely occur in the summer after a significant educational and informational push, Clarke said. The parking spots would be 25 feet long so that most vehicles could pull into the spot without having to back up.

On Harrison Street, the traffic count at Locust Street is 15,000, but it drops off toward the downtown. The parking plan would include three lanes of traffic during peak commuter times in the morning, Clarke said.

DeAnn Soults of Crescent Cleaners was in favor of the change.

“Businesses don’t have parking,” she said. “They really need that parking on Harrison Street.”

Wendi Laake, who just opened a retail store, Eclectic, in November, agreed, saying she would love to have parking on the east side of Harrison, near her location.

Tim Phillips of St. Ambrose University said the university favors the change to improve walkability in the area and pedestrian safety so that students would have fewer vehicles on campus.

(62) comments

pokey2mama
pokey2mama

Roundabout are o.k. for residential areas, but have you ever seen a large delivery truck or a semi attempt to go around one of these things? they don't fit!! My husband is a semi driver with over 30 years experience and he hates them. He take up both lanes, when people will let him have both lanes, and still goes up on the grassy center. Listen to the public for a change and put the money to better use.

ScottRAB

If you're actually describing a modern roundabout, I'm not sure.
Modern roundabouts are designed for trucks by including the center flat area around the circle. It’s not a sidewalk, it’s called a truck apron, and it’s for trucks to begin a sharp right or end a left or U-turn on. Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsCoI7lERGE
Or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nVzsC2fOQw for examples.

C MICHAELS

Revisions of one-way thoroughfares to two-way traffic streets are lobbied for by retail businesses with the belief that traffic will be slower and therefore see their businesses and stop to patronize them. What they don't realize is that the streets were made one-way to begin with to alleviate gridlock and bottlenecks and increase traffic flow so people would patronize dying downtown areas of cities. By slowing and impeding traffic, that traffic will simply avoid the area in favor of clearer, faster routes, rendering these commercial districts virtual ghost towns. The reality is that many of these commercial districts were built in, and functioned well in a world of foot, streetcar and horse & buggy traffic. They are not conducive to the habits of a 21st century automobile world. Trying to increase business by trapping people in these areas will only lead not to prosperity, but a death knell. Increase your business by carrying and advertising compelling products and services. Not by trapping customers through traffic control.

ScottRAB

One way couplets are about one thing, moving cars.

mist

So, when a bridge is being worked on (and they're ALWAYS being worked on!) or River Drive or any of a number of cross-town streets, and traffic redirects into the downtown, how exactly is that going to work? This is another incredibly stupid bit of denial on the part of Davenport's leadership. People don't avoid the Davenport downtown because it doesn't have enough parking ramps, dayglow skywalks to nowhere, median planters to make winter driving just that much more exciting, two-way streets, or roundabouts. They avoid it because 1) there's not a lot to do there and 2) it's kinda seedy.

It's getting slowly, marginally better. The Farmer's Market seems to draw a crowd, especially in the summer. But if you really want to liven it up, invest in interesting venues like The Capitol Theater, and then make it inexpensive and easy for acts to play these venues. Offer incentives to entertainers, especially the locals; we have how many bands, how many comedians, how many burlesque troupes? I want to see these shows, and it'd be nice not to have to go to RI to do it. And while I'm at it, I'll be getting dinner beforehand, and drinks after.

Encourage a few upscale bars that AREN'T focused on the college demographic and aren't so run down that you feel like you need a tazer and a bodyguard to walk in the door; it'd be great if adults could go out without having to choose between elbowing past cap-backwards pseudo fratboys, or taking their chances with some of the more westerly bars' hardcore liver-poisoners. Get your cops out on foot in the evenings so we can see 'em. And while you're at it, boost public transit after hours; people may be willing to stay out later and drink more if there's no question of whether they're going to be safe to drive. It certainly wouldn't hurt to promote safer revelry.

Davenport seems always to be frantically throwing money in random directions for no good purpose. Stop doing that; it's OUR money, and all you're doing is making us wonder why we stay in this unglamorous burg. Stop thinking there's something you can do that will suddenly make Davenport a desirable destination for anyone who can just as easily travel to Chicago or Omaha or even Des Moines; people don't come here for vacation, and that is really unlikely to change.

They DO come here for work, to be close to family, and to live somewhere where costs are reasonable. Start catering more to those people, YOUR RESIDENTS, especially the younger, post-college, freshly employed crowd. They're flush with an actual salary after years of scraping by, they still like having fun, and they're trying to figure out if this is just a stopover on their way to a better place, or a home. Make their weekends memorable and fun, and you just might win them over. Give them a roundabout? And they may decide it's easier to navigate around Chicago.

Cuchulain

Look at Dubuque's downtown - it is vibrant. They did it without tearing down landmark buildings and paving everything over; they did it without crazy roundabouts. They even have one-ways still! Converting back to two-way traffic or installing roundabouts is not going to resurrect downtown Davenport. If you have something there that people want to come to, they will come down! Plain and simple. One other comment - if anything, get rid of the angled "Mayberry" parking on E. 2nd Street - now there's an accident waiting to happen.

Davenport Dan

"I'm all for progress, It's change I object to!" Mark Twain

rando

Interesting that all the proponents argue that roundabouts are enormously successful and popular in big cities. Even if we were to assume that's correct, which is a stretch, typical traffic patterns in big cities are much more congested and much slower moving than they are around here, so the comparison of relative benefits with traffic lights here is irrelevant.

More obviously, however, big cities have unanimously embraced another downtown planning scheme called "one-way streets." And since getting rid of our one-ways is the core of the plan, the "progressive" city comparison isn't going to work out very well.

I also find it hysterical that downtown business owners complain that people avoid their businesses because they are confused by the one-ways. And we expect those people to navigate a traffic-circle gauntlet without becoming frustrated?

If they're looking for ways to save money, city planners should start by firing the employees and consultants who are in charge of manufacturing these periodic schemes to fix what isn't broken when the city struggles to pay for basic services.

Best plan: stop the games and the money wasting and leave it the way it is.
Tolerable: wasting much-needed funds changing back to two-way streets.
Unacceptable: slowing downtown traffic to a crawl with some nutbag's brainstorm.

Mister Know It All
Mister Know It All

Compare the space taken up by the Bettendorf Roundabout: http://binged.it/XCrQjx
to the space available at 3rd and Gaines in Davenport: http://binged.it/Y8Bo9R .
Tell me how this will work? And how do pedestrians cross the street with potentially constantly flowing traffic.

displacedQCian
displacedQCian

They don't have to be that big. I live in the UK at the moment, and the ones that would work in downtown Davenport can be quite a bit smaller than the Bettendorf roundabout. The center circle only needs to be a few feet wide. Basically, just wide enough to not let people drive straight through in order to force them to "look left" and not hit a car.

I like this idea, because of my experience working on the Arsenal. Every morning and afternoon, I would be stuck at traffic lights in downtown Davenport for no reason. Often, there wouldn't even be any cars crossing the other way. With roundabouts, I couldn't been in and out of downtown much quicker. Also, if they can really do this for $500k as opposed to $2m, that is some great savings.

Lastly, I must come clean, I accidentally hit the "report abuse" button on you because I thought I was pushing the "reply" button. Sorry about that, I'm sure the QCTimes admin will ignore it.

ScottRAB

53rd and Red Fox Road is a common size of modern roundabout. The standard urban compact is typically 90 ft diameter to the outside curb. Mini-roundabouts are smaller.
Modern roundabouts are slow and go intersections, typically operating at 20 mph. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 2,400 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.
Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car.
All modern roundabouts have median islands separating incoming and outgoing auto traffic. Pedestrians don't have to find a gap in two directions of traffic, just one. This is safer for pedestrians, especially for younger or older ones, because they only concentrate on one direction of traffic at a time.

GEM

Brady/Harrison and 3rd/4th streets are thoroughfares. People use these streets to get from Point A to Point B. When people have to slow down to drive in circles, most people will take a different street. It's as simple as that.

aequitas
aequitas

The only people driving in circles would be idiots that couldn't figure out how to turn right or making a U-turn, which you can actually safely do with a roundabout.

WesB

I heard they decided to actually have them in a roundabout way and went around and around deciding where to put them... ;)

Actually, I have one near where I live and it smooth out traffic flow. If there is no traffic you have to yield to, you just drive on through. It replaced a Y intersection (with a stop sign on the lowest flow road) where they had issues because some folks couldn't understand the issue of yielding to non-stopped traffic flow when they had the stop sign. This resulted in sometimes having a vehicle pop out in front of you from the stop sign when you least expected it and there were several accidents. Just like any other traffic structure, it's really all in the drivers general driving skills that partially determines who will be in accidents... Poor, impatient, centered driving isn't a good thing.

4America

I got news for some of the nitwits that think this is a good "cheap" fix. You can't fit a roundabout in these 10 intersections as they are. The city of Davenport is going to have to buy some properties on all forty corners because a safe round-about will not fit in the existing intersections. I wonder if this is another STUPID idea by our nitwits in city hall. @aequitas go out and check the size of Bettendorfs in the country roundabout, then take those dimensions to any of the 10 intersections slated to get roundabouts! and if you think that traffic flow is going to improve guess again. Bettendorf has 1 and it is in the middle of nowhere where there was no problem with traffic before. Davenport is talking about 10 in a couple of miles

aequitas
aequitas

As the article described it, they were proposing mini-roundabouts which are very different from traditional ones like in Bettendorf. Mini-roundabouts do not have a full curb but rather a raised dome in the middle. Large vehicles are able to "invade" the center in order to make necessary turns. I've driven through roundabouts and mini-roundabouts in smaller places than downtown Davenport. There's plenty of room for them.

Bettendorf's is in a rapidly developing area. It may have once been in the country, but there are housing developments enveloping it now.

thelastoftherationals

I imagine Gluba got this idea from his pal Obama.

C MICHAELS

An ignorant post, from an ignorant commenter. Go read a book.

dlmh60

We drove through multiple roundabouts on one straight street in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, recently and it was a pain. I wouldn't wait to live in a town that had them.

Devin H
Devin H

This discussion is going in circles...

twiggy
twiggy

:-)

Deep sea

You are very funny! Good one.

tealbird

When the City of Davenport can clear the straight roads, maybe then we'll let them step up to stupid circles. Look for the surrounding streets to become traffic nightmares; I sure as heck won't be on 3rd or 4th should this go through. Too bad there are some fabulous businesses on those streets that might miss out. As for me, I'll walk if possible from side streets, but most aren't that dedicated.

Heaven forbid hwy 61 be closed again in any of those sections. I'd rather sit through a light than drive in circles wearing my tires unevenly and hoping to high heaven I don't spin out with the way Davenport 'maintains' their streets.

aequitas
aequitas

Coming to a stop and starting from a complete stop are among the hardest things on your vehicle's engine. The different wear on your tires is minuscule (especially considering you should already be rotating your tires), and such an argument is perhaps the weakest one yet on this thread.

Tyler Guth

You make some terrible non-points here. On the off-chance that you're making them seriously, I'll bite:

1)"Too bad there are some fabulous businesses on those streets that might miss out."
-Currently, you fly past those businesses trying to focus on the five lanes of traffic you're being pulled along with. Trying to move across those lanes in that current and then gracefully park is almost impossible. Traffic calming and complete streets have a well-documented and uniformly positive effect on businesses.

2)"I'd rather sit through a light than drive in circles wearing my tires unevenly"
Think about this statement for two seconds. To pass straight through a traffic circle, you turn a slight right to enter the circle, a left going around, and a slight right to leave the circle. Net non-balanced vector change of vehicle- zero degrees. By the same thought process, a left taken in a circle has a net non-balanced vector change of 90 degrees left, and a right and u-turn have the same that they would otherwise have too.

I'm disappointed in myself for having responded seriously to that.

mist

Actually, because I regularly use 3rd and 4th St when crossing through that area, especially if I need to hit Centennial or River is being worked on, I have discovered little shops I never would have guessed were there. Sure, eventually I might have looked up the Asian groceries when my udon ran out. But I probably wouldn't have just stopped in to browse.

C MICHAELS

If you seriously believe you'll be wearing your tires out unevenly by going through multiple roundabouts frequently, you're clearly too ignorant to be driving at all. It's a wonder you could figure out your keyboard.

twiggy
twiggy

Roundabouts are great! Traffic flows a lot better, they are safer. Some people are against anything that they see as "new fangled" Come on, it's called progress. Roundabouts are common in England, Spain, Canada, all over the world. Except here. Move on up top the 21st century folks, you'll like it!

Deep sea

Somebody mark the calendar! I actually agree with Twiggy!! Haha

Deep sea

But only this time ; )

C MICHAELS

Many Americans are so staggeringly ignorant when it comes to changing ANYTHING. It's a wonder any of you have air conditioning or color TV. I still can't believe a country with such a plethora of backward-*ss people ever went to a Best Buy let alone the moon.

Tyler Guth

Most of the world's most famous thoroughfares begin and end with traffic circles. Every city that some of you claim to have ever seen has traffic circles marking the streets to avoid? Really?

Champs Elysees? Tverskaya? Even Lake Shore drive had a traffic circle. Picadilly Circus IS a traffic circle.

Even here in the US- Washington DC's best known intersections are all round, for easy instance. These streets are not avoided, they are complete, integral parts of vital urban spaces.

Sure the circles here will have a traffic calming effect- third street in its present form would be safely navigable by rocket sled approaching the current land speed record; a little calming won't kill it, and a complete street usually provides the backbone for a neighborhoods entire revitalization. I can't wait to see what this looks like!

For a city this size, Davenport is lucky to have such a visionary planning staff.

Kaenom18

When I think "visionary", the first thing that comes to mind is Davenport city planning.

mist

*snork* Yes. Davenport clearly ranks right up there with London or Paris. Because it has just as many things which tourists will cheerfully crowd to see.

This may be a shocker, but people DO NOT GO TO PARIS FOR THE ROUNDABOUTS. They go for the sights, and they deal with the inconvenience of the traffic for the sights. Why do they go through downtown Davenport? Because it's a convenient route from east to west and vice versa. Make it inconvenient, and you'll lose people, not gain them. Make the downtown more interesting, and you might actually entice people.

ScottRAB

Many people confuse older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. East coast rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triumph), and neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. Visit www.k-state.edu to see the differences. www.fhwa.dot.gov has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).

scottinheights

Please tell me the City is considering a roundabout for the Veterans Parkway and Eastern Ave intersection. It is a perfect spot for that application and would save enormous amounts of fuel for cars that would have to wait for green lights at this remote location. Bettendorf has one on 53rd and Middle Road and it is a model of efficiency and smart city planning.

4America

How hard is it to turn some traffic lights around? Come on leaders STOP your FOOLISH spending. You guys have to stop trying to something you're not. This is just a hick town we are not a New York or Chicago nor are we an L.A. And thank God we're not. Quit wasting our tax money on your follies!

ScottRAB

The first cost of any two choices is a poor way to compare. Life-cycle cost is the best (present value of future costs, a.k.a. net present value). When comparing modern roundabouts to signals for a 20-year life cycle (the standard period), modern roundabouts usually cost us much less. Costs to compare include: first cost (design/land/construction), operation and maintenance (electricity, re-striping, etc.), crash reduction, daily delay (what’s your time worth?), daily fuel consumption, pollution (generated), area insurance rates (this costs more where it is less safe to drive). Each of these things, and others, can be estimated for any two choices and everyone near or using the project area will pay some portion of all of these costs.
More info: http://tinyurl.com/739pu3d

Klaatu
Klaatu

Great, we can see some real cool multi-car collissions. Roundabouts work fine in low traffic areas and times, but in high traffic situations they are insane.

aequitas
aequitas

Except that research proves otherwise. They are faster. They are safer. http://www.iihs.org/research/topics/roundabouts.html

4America

@ aequitas Stop and think 10 roundabouts and 4 way stop signs and or red lights at a number of intersections they aren't going to be faster and safer. try crossing the street where there's a roundabout

aequitas
aequitas

I don't have to guess or go with "what feels right" whether they'll be faster and safer. Actual research has been conducted in this area. Crosswalks are a little different with roundabouts and generally include a resting place in the middle of each street between traffic entering and exiting the roundabout. This means that pedestrians just have to look for cars coming from one direction, which again is actually safer for the pedestrians.

HROTer

Like in low-traffic London? Paris? Most cities?

Deep sea

If they are built right they are very efficient and easy to use.

Hereandhere

I can't see the parallel parking on Harrison Street hill as working out to well in the winter. Top of the hill should be ok.

OnTheBrink

I can't believe we're actually going to go through with ruining Brady and Harrison Street. Many of us use them in the mornings and afternoons. They're already crowded with traffic - now we're going to cut lanes for parking and make them two ways? The only reason they work reasonably well now is because the lights are timed to let the traffic flow and get people where they're going.

I understand businesses would like more parking, but that doesn't mean we should blow up a street system that works fairly well and waste millions of dollars just to appease them. I go to some of the businesses in the Hilltop area. I park on side streets and walk to the businesses in less than a few seconds. How is that a problem?

As for roundabouts, I've come to like them, though they take a bit to get used to.

bolay1

Is there a visual that can show what the planned round-a-bouts will look like?

HROTer

I love how being "progressive" is a bad idea to so many Davenporters. They use these extensively in Wisconsin - in bigger cities like Madison to smaller towns like Baraboo - and they work great. Too many people in this community have a 1950s mindset.

PainfullTruth

I think America has seen enough of being "Progressive". I know I sure have.... I would love to find the "Progressive" switch and flip it back to "Common Sense".

Do you want to explain how spending $500,000 is a good idea? Considering that Davenport is broke? Also, when have you seen ANY of Davenports project come in on budget?

Cheryl Lawrence

Davenport can't be broke. It was to spend 40+ million on buying a casino!

scott

BAU

rando

Not no. HE** no! Every one of these that I've seen in other cities is "the street to avoid" because even one traffic circle makes it slow and annoying. If the entire length of the street is filled with these idiot inventions, nobody will drive on that street, except for the occasional drunk or hapless visitor who will crash cars on them with greater frequency than the truck-eating bridge claims its victims.

I think what the proponents of this mean is that, in their quest to reduce traffic flow to fifteen miles per hour everywhere in the city, this is cheaper than installing a stoplight every thirty feet like they've done on Kimberly. It's already quicker to take the highway from West Davenport to Bettendorf -- why must we make every ten mile drive a half hour excursion? Big cities have roads that move traffic quickly, not trendy obstructions that confuse and constrict the flow of vehicles.

If this goes through, it will be the end of the downtown. The people who proposed or supported this need to be thrown out. Enough nonsense with city funds!

aequitas
aequitas

Just because you cannot wrap your mind around the concept of smoothly flowing traffic that doesn't need to come to complete stops repeatedly at red lights doesn't mean that others avoid those streets with roundabouts. Roundabouts actually get you from point a to point b faster and more safely. Studies have actually shown a decrease in accidents when roundabouts have been installed.

Cheryl Lawrence

This could be like the concrete barriors they put on River Drive. Now that was a good investment! I think they lasted 2 months.

C MICHAELS

Unfortunately, most Americans simply choose to be too ignorant to properly understand and negotiate a roundabout.

A_davenport_resident

You have got to be kidding me!!!! Is this the same town that if BROKE? Can't put the fire department back to required staffing? Can't put enough police on the streets? Why? Cause they tell us they are broke...... "The original estimate to convert the one-ways to two-ways was $2.2 million to install new traffic lights along the route. But the plan presented Monday to use a combination of roundabouts, stop signs and traffic lights would cost only $500,000."

THE COST TO LEAVE IT THE HECK ALONE.........NOTHING!!!!! Use that money for required and needed CITY SERVICES, not changing things to change something. This Country we live in is going down the tubes...... Why? Cause clowns like these keep spending, spending and spending instead of ensuring our safety. City of Davenport RESIDENTS, this is YOUR MONEY they are spending to travel to Indiana to visit a round about? STOP THE INSANITY, please?

God Bless America!!

aequitas
aequitas

There is a difference between one-time expenses like capital projects and ongoing expenses like staffing.

coffee cup
coffee cup

Good idea, they keep traffic flowing. But I'm sure it will get dismissed as some kind of European commiesocialisticnazism that we don't need here in the good ol' USofA

Roy Munson

And I thought the River Drive medians were a dumb idea.

beman101
beman101

I lived in a city that had these. and just about everybody who could tried to avoid them because the cause traffic jams and accidents.

aequitas
aequitas

The roundabout in Bettendorf seems to be working out just fine. Traffic flow is actually better than lighted intersections.

ScottRAB

Prove it. What city? Do you know the difference between a rotary, a traffic circle and a modern roundabout?
If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), search www.k-state.edu to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older roundabout/rotary and a modern roundabout: http://tinyurl.com/bzf7qmg

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