Some cool new infrastructure is arriving in Nanaimo! A notoriously dangerous and unsafe intersection is getting some love as work begins on a new roundabout on Mary Ellen Drive. In its original configuration, drivers leaving Woodgrove Crossing towards Island Highway would have to make a dangerous left turn across four lanes of highway traffic. Pedestrians trying to cross between plazas were forced to cross a dangerously wide crosswalk against drivers quickly exiting the Parkway.
Mary Ellen Road 3D Aerial View via Google Street View
In the new configuration, pedestrians will only need to cross two lanes of slower-moving traffic. Cyclists will also be able to seamlessly traverse the roundabout through the included bike cutouts that are included at the Island Highway approach. Drivers will now be able to safely cross from Woodgrove Crossing to Woodgrove mall without worrying about t-bone accidents from oncoming highway traffic.
“It’s something we’re really quite excited about because it’s something we’ve heard quite a bit from the community about concerns.” — Jamie Rose, City Transport Manager
Roundabouts promote a slower, more consistent speed of traffic, reducing the likelihood of high-speed crashes. They also eliminate the potential for severe head-on or side-impact collisions, as traffic flows in one direction around the central island. Moreover, roundabouts reduce the severity of accidents that do occur by eliminating the need for left-hand turns, which are associated with a higher risk of collision. They help to reduce traffic congestion and improve traffic flow, reducing frustration and impatience amongst drivers that can lead to reckless behaviour. Overall, these benefits make roundabouts a safer and more efficient option for traffic management in many situations. Studies have shown that roundabouts can reduce the number of accidents and delays at intersections, while also improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. Therefore, roundabouts can be just as fast and efficient as traditional intersections, while also providing additional safety benefits.
Ground View of the Roundabout Under Construction (27-03-2023)
It’s exciting to see new, efficient infrastructure in Nanaimo! The north end of town has seen a lot of love lately with the completion of the Metral Drive Complete Streets project and the continuation of the Lost Lake Traffic Calming project!