1. Archive

What's next for roundabout? A fix for the fix?

Published Sep. 10, 2005

The good news is that the Clearwater Beach roundabout fountain will be gone soon and drivers will be able to see opposing traffic.

The bad news is that the City Commission fell into the same trap as the former roundabout commission.

After having the Citizens Committee reject the Crown Report as too expensive and possibly not a fix at all, the City Commission voted to implement the new geometry recommended by the Crown Report after viewing the traffic department's modeling of two cars in the roundabout. (Are we talking about the same roundabout?).

This feature was rejected once before. Why? Because all it does is move the point of conflict from the exit at Coronado Drive to the entrance on Mandalay Avenue, forcing cars that enter from Mandalay to either go down South Beach { mile and then turn around, wait in traffic on Coronado to try once again to exit the beach (wasn't a selling feature of the roundabout that it would reduce gas and emissions?), or risk cutting across two lanes in heavy traffic, relying like Blanche Dubois (in A Streetcar Named Desire) on "the kindness of strangers."

Wouldn't you think that it would be enough to take the fountain down, soften and/or enlarge the edges of the roundabout, then see where we are at that point before we dramatically change the geometry?

We will use the money left over from construction to implement the fix, but where will the money come from when it becomes blatantly apparent that the fix was not a fix at all but a good old shell game?

I expect that we will have to wait until the next City Commission appoints another committee to fix the "fix" before we can safely exit from the north beach.

Suzanne Boschen, Clearwater

Amen to column on roundabout

Re: Beach roundabout, column by Diane Steinle, July 15.

I was just about to sit down and write a letter supporting the plan to correct the frustrating flaws built into the roundabout when, alas, this chore was so nicely handled by the editor of editorials for North Pinellas in Sunday's Times. She covered every point I intended to make, and then some. So, all I have to add to her complete job is, amen!

Fred Nassif, Clearwater

Reflecting pool is a great idea

My husband and I took our grandson to Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota on Friday. In front of the aquarium I saw a small reflecting pool with a manatee in the middle and water bubbling around it.

I said to my husband, "Why don't they do that with our roundabout, only larger, with a dolphin, manatee or ray in the middle?" I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened up the Clearwater Times Sunday and on page 2, there was what I had been talking about.

I really think if you would take a poll, a lot of people would say "great idea." I hope the powers-that-be will take something like this into consideration.

John and Carol Jo Brenneman, Clearwater

Turn signals would help

Re: Fountain must go, commissioners say, story, July 13.

Most of the improvements planned for the roundabout appear to be well thought out. With this in mind, I would like to have the planned lowering of the center of the circle explained to me.

I use this roundabout from two to six times a day and find that my attention is to the traffic near me and to the traffic entering and leaving this circle. My eyes are always to the right or straight ahead. The need to see what is across from me is unimportant.

Perhaps I am missing an important point in my navigation and would appreciate being enlightened. The most important thing missing is drivers not using their turn signals.

Robert Peggs, Clearwater

Don't we ever learn?

Re: Fountain must go, commissioners say, story, July 13.

Here we go again! Spending lots of money to fix a big mistake without really fixing it. I suggest that we elevate one lane of the causeway approaching the roundabout, such that cars heading for the south beach would not drive on the roundabout but will drive above it to descend onto Coronado Drive or the beach boulevard. With major traffic flow completely bypassing the roundabout, I believe our accident and traffic problems would be solved.

The suggestion to make people attempting to reach the causeway from Mandalay Avenue wait for a gap to get into the center lane is going to make it worse than ever, especially for the north beach people.

I was interested to read that this roundabout was originally proposed by our ever-present consultant, Charlie Siemon _ the same man who conceived of the major redevelopment program for downtown, which was soundly defeated by the voters last year. Now we have him under contract again for big bucks, to "help" us with the beach development. I believe this says something very significant about the commissioners who approved his hiring. Don't we ever learn?

D.R. Roberts, Clearwater

Altering Mandalay would help

As a resident of Clearwater for over 16 years and someone who has used the beach for exercise and relaxation during that time, I am now avoiding Clearwater Beach at all costs because of the traffic problems created by the roundabout and, of course, lack of parking.

The fix is rather simple and I can't figure out why someone hasn't thought of it. The problem is that you can't go north to south or south to north without getting on the roundabout. Mandalay Avenue should be straightened out with an entrance coming from the roundabout. A traffic light at that intersection would allow traffic (coming from the mainland) to turn right to go north or left to go south. North-south traffic on Mandalay would at worst have to stop for a traffic light before continuing on.

David Brockmeyer, Clearwater

Europeans are laughing at us

The Europeans are laughing at us about the roundabout.

Our roundabout seems to be the only roundabout where it is legal to make a right turn from the left lane (cross over the right lane) and still let the right lane continue straight.

This would be a death sin in Europe. But who cares? We know better because we decided so.

Gunnar Hedqwist, Clearwater

Remove roundabout completely

The solution to the roundabout problem is to remove it completely. Let the senior group be able to drive to the beach and enjoy it. We are part of the majority helping to support the businesses there on the beach. Stop spending good money to decide what to do with the roundabout.

Elizabeth A. Woods, Clearwater