By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
Rhonda L. Paglia continued to wage her battle for roundabouts in Hermitage, but lost round two on Wednesday.
City officials asked commissioners to support a project to install a traffic light on South Hermitage Road at Presidential Boulevard – the road to LindenPointe technical business park – and Carroll Lane. The city has had construction money for a light from the state grant the city and Fred George were awarded to build roads and infrastructure in LindenPointe.
When the issue was brought up last week, Paglia, a city commissioner, asked about installing a roundabout instead of a traffic signal. After discussion, she seemed to concede that a roundabout on a five-lane highway might be a stretch.
However, an engineer who apparently saw a Herald story about that meeting sent her a study on roundabouts that she quoted extensively Wednesday.
She said roundabouts can be designed for multiple-lane roads; are safer than traffic signals because drivers approach them at slower speeds; do not require electricity, saving the city money and are not affected by power outages; and save fuel and reduce pollution because vehicles are not idling.
“I think we can handle it,” she said. “It should be considered, if not tonight, for the future in our city.”
Commissioner Tim Ruffo said he did his own research and concluded roundabouts are more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“For blind pedestrians, these are horribly dangerous,” he said.
The light would make it safer for residents from Carroll Lane and adjoining neighborhoods to get to LindenPointe’s walking trails, city officials have said.
Roundabouts are better on smaller, two-lane roads, Ruffo said.
Paglia responded that a bicycle lane can be built into roundabouts, and the slower speeds in roundabouts lead to fewer pedestrian and bicycle crashes.
“They have their place,” said Commissioner Duane J. Piccirilli. “I’m not sure a five-lane highway is the place.”
Ruffo, Piccirilli, William J. Moder III and Rita L. Ferringer voted to support the traffic signal project and the necessary agreements with PennDOT to move it forward. Paglia voted no.