City staff rejects roundabouts for Carp Road

Phil Sweetnam is the vice-president of the Stittsville Village Association

(Photo: Phil Sweetnam and the Stittsville Village Association supported roundabouts for at least some of the intersections on Carp Road. He told earlier this summer that roundabouts work well in other communities, and would work well along Carp Road as well.)

At next Wednesday’s Transportation Committee meeting at City Hall, staff will recommend traffic lights instead of roundabouts along Carp Road.

The roadway between Hazeldean and the Queensway is scheduled to be rebuilt, with construction completed between 2020-2025 at a cost of $18-million in 2015 dollars. The city had been gathering input from the public for the last year and a half or so.

Staff considered a number of alternatives for the corridor, including traffic lights at three intersections (Westbrook, Rothbourne, Echowoods/Kittiwake), roundabouts at all three intersections, or a combination.

In the end, they found all the alternatives would have roughly an equal potential to improve traffic flow, but that most of the businesses and residents on Carp Road preferred traffic lights, and it would cost to much to acquire additional land to accommodate the traffic circles.

Councillor Scott Moffatt supports, the plan, but Councillor Shad Qadri wanted at least two of the intersections built as traffic circles.

The report quotes Qadri: “The City has highlighted the benefits of roundabouts and is incorporating them throughout the City. Carp Road would benefit from the continuous movement of traffic at all hours of the day and roundabouts require less maintenance, can operate during power outages and eliminate requests for turning signals… It is important that all users of the road are considered and not only the businesses located on the road.”

Here’s more from the report:

The study examined two categories of design alternatives at crossing streets: roundabout and signalized intersections. Both alternatives have the potential to improve the traffic and mobility environment. However, a majority of stakeholders with homes or businesses adjacent to the road expressed strong opposition to the roundabout design due to its impact on properties and the raised median which would prohibit convenient access to properties at mid-block locations. Therefore, at the third open house (June 2014), a draft Recommended Plan (also referred to in the report as Alternative A) for the project was presented which included a four-lane widening, a central two-way left-turn lane, and signalized intersections along the corridor.

Subsequently, the Stittsville Village Association and residents mostly from the area outside the widening limits of Carp Road provided feedback indicating a preference for roundabouts along the corridor. As a result, an Alternative B plan was established which included a central two-way left-turn lane at intermittent locations and roundabouts at Rothbourne Road and Kittiwake Drive/Echowoods Avenue. Both alternatives were presented to the study stakeholders in an additional round of consultation that was arranged in May and June 2015. The stakeholders appear to be divided on the roundabout design at Kittiwake Drive and Rothbourne Road. Generally, those who have properties and businesses within the widening limits of Carp Road support the signalized intersection proposal.

While the roundabout option has some advantages, its footprint is comparatively much larger than the signalized intersection option. This would mean a much greater impact on adjacent properties including the effects on the function of some lots, the potential impact on private on-site waste water systems at some locations, and a less direct crossing for cyclists. Furthermore, the cost of the roundabout option did not fit into the affordability envelope identified in the TMP for this project. Therefore, based on the evaluation results (Document 1, Table 1), public feedback, and consideration for project affordability, the study team recommends signalized intersections as the preferred design, thus providing the basis for developing the recommended plan for the project.

You can read all of the report and background documents here.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Traffic lights or traffic circles?  Tell us which one you prefer and why.  Add your comments below or email



11 thoughts on “City staff rejects roundabouts for Carp Road”

  1. City planners should seriously visit the UK and drive around for a while.

    They would find that roundabouts work extremely well, and traffic flows as well as it can.

    People here aren’t comfortable because they are not experienced with them, plus many drivers don’t know how to use them properly. This can make them a little intimidating.

    Education is the key. If people can learn the correct way to use them, they will reap the benefits of better traffic flow. No waiting for lights.

    The one on Prince of Wales at the Experimental farm works well. This is because people that regularly use it now know how to use it. I can’t imagine that intersection being traffic lights now. It works too well.

    We are behind. Let’s not stay behind. We need the better traffic flow. Roundabouts work incredibly well.

    1. I’m all in favor of roundabouts as well. I’ve seen them used in Quebec in some fairly busy places, and they’re double lane ones. Everyone goes with the flow seamlessly. I don’t have any statistics, but I bet that the number of fatal or grave accidents tend to be much lower with roundabouts. I bet most of the time, the damage is cosmetic. Traffic light intersections left turning is usually the dangerous thing. However, using separate left turn signals improves it a great deal. Also, sensors are usually used to prevent unnecessary stopping and waiting.

      I think most people are on board with traffic circles, except perhaps people that are scared of them. But it doesn’t take much practice to grow into them. I was a little iffy at first too. Who gets to go first, and do I see any conflicts from others entering the roundabout when I want to leave the roundabout. Will I get stuck circling a bunch of times. But it turned out to be pretty smooth sailing. The rules are simple. Anyone entering has to yield. And the cool thing is that if noone is coming close, you can coast through without any hassle, and saves you from having to stop. It probably saves gas too!

      However, the article points out various obstacles. Space is described to be a problem. I’m not clear if this can be overcome. They’re worried about how pedestrians and bicycles are going to cross. In Quebec I’ve seen that done as well. It’s simple, cars must always yield for the pedestrian lane. How well that works I don’t know. I haven’t seen much of that in Ontario. There are roundabouts appearing in more and more places, so they *are* happening. But in places where there is a lot of bicycle traffic? I can’t picture one.

      Plus businesses are worried about people not being able to easily pull into their parking lots because of the roundabout. If that’s really accurate or if it’s just people being “nervous” about a “new thing”, the roundabout, I don’t know. They should show a clear picture from above, a map, of what things would look like.

      1. In Ontario we randomly chose who yields to who(typically pedestrians yield to traffic, because heaven forbid we need to stop) , We only post the signs to the people entering the traffic circle – winding up with circumstances like the Prince of Wales traffic circle, where you enter with a sign telling the pedestrians to yield to the cars, but can exit with no sign telling you the pedestrians have the right of way.. Until they sort the pedestrian portion out, I think this is a dangerous idea for the youth..

    2. How do you use the traffic circle on Prince of Wales as a reference when it for years yielded traffic to the one direction only, and has only recently been changed to work normally.. Not to mention that 95% of people reading this would not be aware that: from Prince of Wales the pedestrians need to yield to the cars and from the other streets: the cars yield to the pedestrians :/ – I really don’t think this is a textbook example; and certainly don’t want the children in the neighbourhood to have to deal with drivers who don’t like to stop.

  2. I want to see roundabouts where ever possible. While appreciating the concern for expense and “footprint” , can’t we please look forward? A little visionary attitude, please. What we do now will effect us for decades!
    We all use and pay for these roads. There are more of “us” then then there are local houses and businesses being effected.
    Actually there are places I do not stop at on the Carp rd. because I get frustrated with the traffic as it is.
    Extra thought….. regarding footprint…… less fuel emissions in roundabouts as apposed to stop, idle and go at intersections? I don’t know. I know I’m a happier driver not standing still at red lights.

    1. FOR GOODNESS SAKE, IF TRAFFIC LIGHTS ARE TO BE USED, DO NOT FORGET TO ADD ADVANCED GREEN LIGHTS ALL WAYS, the lights at Carp Road & Hazeldean do not all have all advanced green lights. it can be a nightmare with cars speeding through after the light has turned green. Hazeldean Road has become a very busy street from one end to the other, drivers are speeding & weaving in & out of the lanes. Advanced green arrows are a godsend to drivers turning left at lights……

  3. It would be totally unnatural for the City to do what the people want. Now the people will add six minutes to their commute with the installation of traffic lights….all those cars idling, wasting gas for an addtional six minutes. I thought the City did not want idling.

    1. Hazeldean was tripled in size and the speed limit was reduced by 25% – I don’t expect shad to be considerate to Stittsvilles commute into the city.

  4. I do not support the traffic circles at all. With working in Orleans and see the traffic circle at Jeanne D’Arc and St. Jospeh and the daily nightmares it brings. Stick with the traffic lights.

  5. Living on Rothbourne Road for 30+ years, we have seen a drastic increase in the traffic on Carp Road. Since they fixed the sides last fall I am seeing people driving off to the side, rather than in the lane properly, more and more are passing cars that are turning when they are not supposed to. We definitely need the lines on the road repainted so people can see where they are supposed to drive! Waiting up to 5 years for Road work to start is toooooo long, Carp road should have been widened before now not later! Can’t wait for traffic light at our Road! It is a nightmare to get on to Carp Road, sometimes have to wait 6 – 10 minutes as the timing at Westbrook and Kittiwake doesn’t allow a break in traffic! Esp in rush hour!

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