By Courtney Bush
Construction has begun for two new roundabouts to appear in north Scottsdale but is causing concern for county residents about safety and efficiency issues, despite the city saying they will only improve and not destroy.
Currently, Rio Verde Drive is a two-lane road with a maximum speed of 50 MPH, but within this year, the two roundabouts will be located along Rio Verde Drive at 118th Street and 122nd Street. The first roundabout is set to give an intersection along 118th Street but is being extended north to intersect with Rio Verde. For an alternative route while construction is happening, 188th Street will guide through between Dynamite Boulevard and Happy Valley Road.
Scottsdale Transportation Director, Paul Basha, states that the city of Scottsdale will see an escalation in traffic comparing it to Alma School Parkway and Dynamite.
The second roundabout is set to be along 122nd Street bringing an intersection that leads to the entrance of the Scottsdale National Golf Club, GoDaddy founder Bob Parson’s members-only-45-hole club. It is said that the Scottsdale National Golf Club is financially involved with the construction along with some minor improvements but will have nothing to do with the construction itself.
Previous agreements with the club and the city issue that the club was responsible for paying the city for improvements on the north half of Rio Verde Drive. The city was said to not have the public funds to finish the widening of Rio Verde in the future, therefore coming about the club of funding the whole project. The club ultimately came to an agreement and is funding and widening Rio Verde Drive consisting of one wide vehicle lane going both directions with a landscaped median in-between 116th Street and 122nd Street.
It is noted that the roundabouts will be concluded in the construction that the club is funding.
Construction has begun with 118th Street being in the design phase of the process for the first roundabout. Locals are speaking foully about the second roundabout having an entrance point to a private golf club. Regardless, Basha states that the city’s studies of both intersections condoned the creation of the traffic signals. There were questions unanswered about this theory whether or not the city would require traditional traffic lights or roundabouts at the intersection.
If the idea of a roundabout did not happen, the city would have to have built a traffic signal. Basha said that high traffic volume over time from the 118th Street extension and the golf club did acquire some sort of traffic control.
The problems occurring with the residents are that they use the road as a rural highway going 50 MPH. Basha stated that a majority of the complaints are coming from the residents in the county miles east of Scottsdale who take the route on occurrence.
The city did take a look at roundabouts on rural highways in Wisconsin comparing the similarity of the speed limit and conducted that they were an adequate fit towards traffic control measure in that community. Ultimately, there should be no problem occurring with the two roundabouts; as the city did the research and will do the most to keep the community and residents safe.
Key points to remember when driving a roundabout:
• Yield to other drivers within the roundabout. For multilane RBTs, you must yield to BOTH lanes of circulating traffic
• Do not change lanes or pass others.
• Do not stop within the roundabout.
• Avoid driving next to large trucks.
• Use your turn signal before exiting the roundabout.