By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
LINDSAY – Things are moving right along for the City of Lindsay and their roundabout project at Westwood and Hermosa near Jefferson Elementary. Last week the Lindsay Unified School District voted to convey property from Jefferson school to the City in support of the roundabout, according to Lindsay city manager Bill Zigler.
Zigler says the City will receive roundabout bids today, July 25 and will present bids on July 31 to award a contractor.
This is just the latest update in an ongoing journey to build the long sought after roundabout. In January, Lindsay city staff invited the community to weigh in on plans to construct the roundabout and tensions were high. During the meeting there was a petition presented against installing the roundabout with around 800 names affixed to it. And during a public hearing on the matter at the Council’s Jan. 9 formal meeting, several residents detailed their concerns.
Diana Mata, a longtime Lindsay resident, said that she doesn’t understand why they need it and wishes the City would have sold the idea better. Mata added how she felt people at the Jan. 4 meeting did not come in with an open mind and some responses were fueled by anger. One point she made though was how difficult it is for elderly residents to navigate the current roundabout.
Mata added later on she tells her mother to take her medication prescriptions to Exeter because that is the only route she has to a pharmacy to avoid the roundabout.
Sue Scott, who works part-time at the Taco Bell on Hermosa between Westwood and Highway 65, and has been a Lindsay resident for 13 years, said that she speaks to seniors on a daily basis. She noted senior complaints about the current roundabout saying they find it hard to see cars entering the intersection because the have difficulty adjusting in their seat. Scott added Self-Help Enterprises, who in large part acquired the funding for the roundabout as a part of their 50 unit complex project opposite from Jefferson Elementary, should find another solution.
“I think that if Self-Help wants to honestly help these families they should find another solution…the roundabout is just throwing money there that we don’t need,” Scott said.
Resident Trudy Wischemann said she was concerned with the narrowing of the lanes from two to one when going through the roundabout, like they have at the intersection of Elmwood and Hermosa. She went on to say narrowing lanes for the roundabout conflicts with the independent research she had done.
Although not everyone spoke in opposition during the Jan. 9 meeting, some were in favor of the project.
CEO of Self-Help Enterprises Tom Collishaw spoke in support of the roundabout at the intersection. “When we had the opportunity to offer affordable housing…the first thing that was said is we have to deal with the issues of the intersection,” Collishaw said. “From where we sit on this it seems like it makes sense and we support it.”
Lindsay resident Patricia Gutierrez plainly said the intersection is not ideal, but that she favors the project.
“I think what we all want would be for Jefferson School to not be there at all…[but] I’m in favor of it. It just makes sense,” Gutierrez said.
Nonetheless the City has maintained their position a roundabout is a safer and more appropriate option for the intersection than a four-way stop or a stop light. City manager Bill Zigler has noted multiple times the benefits of roundabouts include fewer injuries, accidents and fatalities. But when it comes to student crossing Zigler noted there needs to be an education effort to help students learn how to cross safely.