By The Press Democrat Editorial Board
Let’s not cut corners. Opponents of roundabouts seem locked in circular logic: i.e. roundabouts are confusing to drivers because few have been installed in the county, and Sonoma County shouldn’t install any more because they are confusing to drivers. What’s not confusing are the facts. Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration have shown that roundabouts typically achieve a 37 percent reduction in overall accidents, a 75 percent reduction in injury collisions and a 90 percent reduction in fatal accidents. That’s because when accidents occur at roundabouts, the worst that happens are side-swipes and fender-benders. Studies also show a 40 percent reduction in pedestrian accidents.
All of this is give a big thumbs up to Healdsburg for moving ahead with plans for a roundabout where Healdsburg Avenue, Mill Street and Vine Street converge with the railroad tracks. A community open house and information session on the $10 million project is set for 5 p.m. on April 14 at City Hall. The central question now concerns whether to shut down the intersection entirely and get the project done in about seven months or to allow some traffic to trickle through while doing it in about 16 months. It seems to us that getting done more quickly, and saving $400,000 in the process, is the better route. Either way, until this project is completed, the area will be confusing. Drive around it.