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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Tuesday, June 21

Circular Street

After writing the article in response to SeeClickFix complaints about the intersection of Circular Street, Whitney Place and Park Place, I received an interesting e-mail from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation civil engineer Abram VanElswyk (I didn't think our circulation was so far reaching. Thank you internet), who suggested a different type of roundabout. Here are the contents of the e-mail which I have forwarded to Mark Benacquista, Dep. Commissioner Frank Dudla and Commissioner Richard Wirth:

Lucian –

I read with interest your article from yesterday regarding the issues at the Circular/Whitney/Park Place intersection, specifically the City Traffic Control Supervisor’s comments that a roundabout wouldn’t work there.

I checked out the site and do see how a typical roundabout could have negative right-of-way impacts. However, one option I wanted to call your and Mr. Benacquista’s attention to is a mini-roundabout. The primary difference between a regular roundabout and a mini is that the center of a mini is “traversable” (you can drive over it), which lets you make the roundabout smaller - cars go around like normal, and anything larger than an SUV or a Uhaul truck just bumps over the middle, which has a soft curb.

Here’s Federal Highway’s page on mini roundabouts:

I’ve also attached a rough sketch showing how a pair of minis (one 70’ diameter, one 60’) might work at the Circular/Whitney/Park Place intersection.

I was not able to find email contact information for Mr. Benacquista, so if you would forward this message on to him it would be greatly appreciated.


Abram VanElswyk | Civil Engineer Transportation
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Bureau of Project Delivery | Highway Quality Assurance Division
400 North Street | Harrisburg PA 17210
Phone: 717.705.8535 | Fax: 717.705.2379

He attached this picture of his suggestion:

Also here is a copy of the report prepared by Benacquista:
Circular@Park Whitney

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did the City cause a warrant analysis of the new four-way stop intersection in accordance with the required legal process and did the Council amend the City Code as a result to make sure that the police have the authority to enforce it?

Word is that John Herrick, the City Republican Chairman and former mayor of Stillwater, has involved himself in the Chief Cole matter. What is Wirth's reaction to Herrick's interference and, who is conducting the so-called investigation? The reading public would appreciate knowing if this issue is to be resolved on merit or on political manipulation.

June 22, 2011 at 7:57 AM 

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