The increased use of roundabouts as a means of addressing traffic congestion and safety has been a success, and I commend the Jefferson City Council for their use of them. But new roundabouts in old locations are expensive and if site selection for these improvements is not done prudently, roundabouts can actually create traffic congestion where it didn't exist before. This is what is about to happen at the intersection of Clark and Dunklin. I have traveled that quiet intersection for 35 years and it is not congested. It is even less congested now that the Break Time there is permanently closed. In fact, whatever mild congestion did occur there was primarily due to car and pedestrian traffic to and from the Break Time. Yet the City Council is moving forward with plans to spend $2 million of our sales tax dollars to put in a roundabout in contradiction to their own site selection research. According to the city's own 2017 study "Traffic volumes at the intersection are below what is normally recommended for a signalized intersection." The study goes on to say several different times that the traffic volume there is low or below average.
I attended a City Council meeting to express my concerns about this project. After the meeting I was told by a council member that he agreed the roundabout was not needed. He told me the idea was started by pressure from a previous Lincoln University administration, but the current administration was not pushing for it. He went on to say he felt it needed to be built because it was on a list of projects promised when the capital improvement sales tax was passed.
There is serious traffic congestion on Clark Avenue, but it is not at the Dunklin intersection. It is at the next two intersections on both sides of the Highway 50 overpass at Elm and East Miller streets. The Elm intersection has heavy traffic from the Department of Mental Health and Highway Patrol. And the East Miller intersection has heavy traffic from the Immaculate Conception school pickup and drop off. Those intersections are heavily clogged with frequent serious traffic accidents. Let's invest our $2 million on roundabouts where there is obvious, heavy, unsafe congestion rather than where it will create congestion.