Roundabout gets the green lightModifications were added to assuage concerns.

"A roundabout was approved by the city council Wednesday, settling the future of one of Winslow's busiest intersections.By a 6-1 vote, the council OK'd construction of a 105-foot diameter, single-lane circle at High School Road and Madison Avenue, rather than a traffic light that had been proposed earlier.In supporting the project, Councilwoman Christine Nasser assured constituents that she believed the roundabout would afford pedestrians more safety than a signal.That's my first priority, Nasser said, not which moves traffic better, but which is safer.Lone dissenter was Councilwoman Lois Curtis, who said she was swayed by negative public comment to city hall, which she said outnumbered support by 3-1.It may sound antediluvian to say I don't care what the engineers say, Curtis said, but public sentiment is important.The roundabout was proposed by the city engineering department, after a presentation by a pedestrian safety advocate last year. Over the past three months, the department made presentations before the council and school, library and church officials adjacent to the intersection.While the project failed to earn much support from those groups - or the letter-writing public - engineers cited numerous studies that showed roundabouts to be statistically safer than signalized intersections - attributed primarily to the slower speeds of the cars passing through them.Even so, the project was scaled down and modified somewhat to assuage the concerns of detractors. Features will include warning lights near each crosswalk; rumble stripes to alert motorists as they approach the intersection; better nighttime illumination; and aggressive landscaping to separate the sidewalk from the roadway lane.Access to neighboring parking lots will be unchanged, except at the Christian Science Church. There, driveways will be relocated, which would have occurred even with a signal, public works Director Randy Witt said.The roundabout will be installed this summer, at a cost of $100,000 plus landscaping, as part of the High School Road reconstruction from Madison to Sportsman Club Road. The council agreed to a public education campaign so island drivers know what to do when it's in place. They also discussed funding a crossing guard there for a year.But comments of two council members suggested some annoyance with the school district, which had opposed the plan in part because of the possible need for a second guard as students come and go from the nearby campus. The district has had trouble finding even one person to do that job.Councilman Jim Llewellyn cited his own days as a sixth-grade crossing guard, and suggested students might be enlisted for the work.I don't know why the school district can't do that now, Llewellyn said, but I guess times have changed.I'd like to see the school district look into that, Councilman Michael Pollock agreed, before we start shelling out the dough.Llewellyn also said it would be incumbent on high schoolers to pay better heed of marked crosswalks, saying they cross pretty much wherever they damn well please.They need to help us out, too, he said. "

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