Stafford ’roundabout’ plan misplaced, some say

DOT illustration of the roundabout. Tiverton's director of public works argued that the roundabout would be better located where Hurst Lane enters (upper right in this drawing). DOT illustration of the roundabout. Tiverton's director of public works argued that the roundabout would be better located where Hurst Lane enters (upper right in this drawing).

DOT illustration of the roundabout. Tiverton's director of public works argued that the roundabout would be better located where Hurst Lane enters (upper right in this drawing).

DOT illustration of the roundabout. Tiverton’s director of public works argued that the roundabout would be better located where Hurst Lane enters (upper right in this drawing).

While the roundabout idea — meant to slow traffic — came in for praise, the town’s public works director and others questioned details, especially the location.

Francisco Lovera, an engineer for RIDOT, said the current plan calls for the roundabout to be located at the junction of Stafford Road and William S. Canning Boulevard, not far from the Fall River line.

Vehicles entering from Hurst Lane, just south and east of that intersection, would be required to make a right turn only. Those wanting to go south (left) would need to circle the roundabout to then head south on Stafford Road.

The purpose of roundabouts is to slow and calm traffic, Mr. Lovera said. At present, that intersection is travelled by over 14,000 vehicles per day, many of them at 40 mph or faster, he said.

The roundabout would be intended to slow that speed to 20 mph which, he said, could be expected to reduce the number of accidents by 40 percent, and the number of accidents with serious injuries by 90 percent.

Roundabouts are gaining in popularity among traffic engineers, Mr. Lovera said. There are now five in Rhode Island with over 30 more under consideration including one in Portsmouth on East Main Road at the three way corner at the foot of Quaker Hill (near Clements’ Market).

Roundabouts may indeed accomplish that, said Tiverton Director of Public Works Steven Berlucchi, but this one is “in completely the wrong place.” He said it would work better moved 100 yards south to where Stafford Road and Hurst Lane meet.

He said he participated in the design of a roundabout on Martha’s Vineyard that has worked well. The Tiverton plan, he added, needs much more work.

And Town Council President Edward Roderick said he worries about the safety of drivers entering the proposed traffic pattern from the 200 residences on Hurst Lane.

The RIDOT engineers said they would take those concerns and suggestions into consideration as they move forward and will present updated and revised plans to the town at a later date.

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