There is a rogue agency in our state. I am referring to the Department of Transportation. Even though there is a large number of in-progress road projects that are running over budget and past completion date, and that the DOT is running a deficit budget, asking for more funding, they are forcing unwanted “road improvements” on communities and using fuzzy logic and smoke screens to prove their need for action.
One in particular would be the roundabouts being forced on the residents of Door County and in particular those of Sturgeon Bay. They cite too may accidents as the reason for these to be installed. They also cite the cost savings of installing these instead of traffic lights. If you factor in the original cost of installing the existing traffic lights and the added cost of now removing them, how can installing a roundabout be cost effective?
Studies don’t reflect the actual amount of summer traffic that will be forced into the whirlpool of two roundabouts placed about a mile apart. Anyone who lives here can tell you about how, in the summer – especially on weekends – traffic can be lined up at the Michigan Street/Hwy. 42-57 traffic lights for more than a mile with cars and trucks and campers both heading to northern Door County and leaving northern Door County, due to the Bayview Bridge opening for boat traffic, and this happens every half-hour all summer. I have witnessed it numerous times.
The latest smoke screen is an artist’s conception of what the roundabouts will look like, filled with view obstructing trees, shrubs and fancy metal sculptures, as if making them more aesthetically pleasing makes them more acceptable. Are these costs in the original cost projection or hidden somewhere else? They also say that instructional videos will be made available on cable access to learn how to survive driving through a roundabout. More hidden costs? They say that the older population will have a harder time adapting to using the roundabouts. The median age of Door County residents is increasing yearly. They also cite what to do in case of an accident in a roundabout. I thought the roundabouts were supposed to decrease the number of accidents. I guess they are trying to cover their collective behinds.
After all this money is wasted on an unneeded and unwanted project, the still usable detour route will still allow people to avoid using the roundabouts. What will be the solution to the added traffic burden there? Another waste of taxpayer money to install a third roundabout? Or traffic lights at the new “main” intersection? They better save the lights that will be removed at the Michigan Street – Hwy. 42/57 intersection. This project needs to be stopped, pending more study by an impartial and unbiased group. The DOT has too much skin in this to be impartial. And, with all the other projects running behind schedule and over budget, maybe the DOT resources should be directed at solving those issues instead of adding more to their workload.
Delford C. Phillips
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.