The Takoma Junction Task Force is looking for someone to develop a simulation of a splitter-island type roundabout on Carroll Avenue starting at Ethan Allen Avenue and heading west.
"We (the Task Force) decided to pursue it, but that’s as far as we’ve gone,” said Howard Kohn, the Task Force co-chair. “We’re trying to find someone to do it pro-bono,” he added.
The decision to pursue the splitter-island type roundabout on Carroll Avenue follows a proposal for such a roundabout made by Barbara Muhlbacher, a member of the Task Force. Muhlbacher said she took a map of the area and “started playing with designs on how a roundabout could fit into the existing space of that intersection,” and she came up with the splitter-island type roundabout. However, Muhlbacher said,”I’m not an engineer, the details (of the design) would have to be worked out.”
In Muhlbacher’s “vision,” the length of a splitter-island type roundabout on Carroll Avenue would be 30 feet, and that would leave around room for a single lane of traffic on the road. In addition, the “bus bay” at B.Y. Morrison Park would be eliminated for more road space. “The bus stop can still be in that spot,” she said, just the bus bay would be extended to the tip there so traffic lanes would keep going that way and make more use “of the bypass” by having another lane vehicles can use, she said.
However, the bus transportation that travels through the junction area has to be considered in any design, say members of the task force.
“I’m not sure that is a big issue, or if they (bus stops) have to be ‘X’ feet” before or after a roundabout,” Muhlbacher said. The Metro buses (F-4, F-6) that travel on Carroll Avenue do not go around the corner at B.Y. Morrison Park, while the other buses (Ride On) that do turn the corner there will still be able to turn and stop right there, she said.
In addition, members of the task force mentioned concerns about the Fire Station at Philadelphia and Carroll Avenues and that any roundabout cannot impede a fire truck from traveling out of the station in any direction.
There are roundabout designs that have aprons, Muhlbacher said. In addition, there are likely guidelines that engineers are aware of with such roundabouts and how wide the road needs to be to accommodate emergency vehicles, she said. “That is something the engineers and the Fire Department would talk about,” she added.
Questions concerning Carroll Avenue crosswalks were discussed, and Muhlbacher said the crosswalks are relatively in the same spots where they are now. “There’s not that much movement of those,” she said.
Actually conducting a traffic simulation on a computer in which a splitter-island type roundabout on Carroll Avenue is examined “is a good idea,” Muhlbacher said. “You would have traffic numbers, you would have how many vehicles go through the intersection at a particular time frame during morning and evening rush hours, and then you can plug in a roundabout and a traffic light, how does that work (or affect traffic),” she said.
“One of the things we need data on is what a circle does to the feelings of safety in the commercial district,” said Seth Grimes, co-chair. “This is certainly worth simulating,” he said, adding, the Task Force needs to call on the resources available to it.