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Our View: Ready for another Radio Drive roundabout?

Does Radio Drive need another roundabout?

The road, which saw its current roundabout installed in 2007 at Bailey Road, is poised for another such addition, city officials recently argued.

Woodbury staff and City Council members earlier this month asked Washington County officials why there were no plans in place to build a roundabout at Radio Drive and Hargis Parkway. That intersection, after all, will be a key entry point to the new Phase 2 development in the city's southwest corridor. That development, known as Urban Village, is slated for low-density residential housing, retail and service business.

Urban Village is also slated for a roundabout of its own.

Supporters of the effort surrounding Hargis Parkway argued that a roundabout there would complement the sense of community by creating continuity through infrastructure. That's a nice sentiment, but there are practical questions to be addressed before we get hung up on trying to build community through roadway infrastructure.

Washington County engineers said the reason they didn't lay plans for a Hargis Parkway roundabout is because projected traffic levels don't dictate anything other than the conventional stoplight, which is already in place at the intersection.

A county engineer also said a roundabout at Hargis Parkway would require a land acquisition.

That leads to perhaps the biggest question: How much would a Hargis Parkway roundabout cost? Since the county didn't draw up plans for it, no cost projections exist.

Support for the concept should be tempered until those projections emerge.

There certainly are arguments to be made for the benefits of roundabouts with regard to safety. Statistics continue to show the number of fatalities and severe crashes is reduced at intersections with roundabouts.

Indeed, compelling arguments exist on either side of the debate.

It seems reasonable to investigate the concept more - with an emphasis on treading carefully when it comes to taxpayer impact.