VERSAILLES — Roundabouts — those circular intersections that are popular in Europe but not so much in Lexington — were proposed as alternatives Thursday night for two troublesome traffic spots in Versailles.
And residents appeared open to the idea, according to results from instant polling on hand-held keypads of audiences at two separate meetings at Falling Springs Arts and Recreation Center.
The roundabouts were among 10 ideas that residents were asked to consider to improve mobility and ease traffic congestion in and around Versailles. About 60 Woodford County residents attended.
Lexington's first roundabout, which opened on Reynolds Road in 2001, still has some drivers struggling to navigate the circle safely.
But that particular circle "was not done well at all, so everybody thinks roundabouts are bad," said Tom Creasey, transportation planning engineer for Entran. Entran is a Lexington firm conducting a $200,000 state-sponsored traffic study for Versailles.
Creasey asked residents to consider the roundabout concept for two intersections. The first is the "five-legged" intersection where Broadway, Main, North Main, Frankfort and Elm streets meet. At the other site, Tyrone Pike and Rose Hill Avenue meet at a sharply skewed angle. Both intersections see an above-average number of accidents.
To gauge public reaction, residents at the meeting answered questions using hand-held keypads, and their collective answers were then projected on a large screen.
Residents generally supported the roundabout on North Main but were cooler to the one at Tyrone Pike and Rose Hill.
After the meeting, Dr. Bill Graul expressed support for a Tyrone Pike and Rose Hill roundabout.
"If you learn how to do a roundabout, how to enter it and get out of it, it's simple," Graul said. "People in it have the right of way. People coming in have to give way to the people who are in it."
Pete Barrows also thought roundabouts are a fine idea.
"As a device in slow-traffic areas, I think they work well," Barrows said. "If you're going to have something multi-interchange, and you're already doing 25-mph speed limits, I think they work well. But if you've got people who want to be in a hurry, they don't work."
Among the other ideas, people were least in favor of building a "northwest corridor" from Falling Springs Boulevard and around the west side of Versailles to U.S. 6 at Midway Road.
Residents offered firm support to putting signs on Blue Grass Parkway directing big trucks headed to Interstate 64 to "use U.S. 127 North" at Lawrenceburg. They also expressed support for modifying the timing of five downtown traffic signals.
Creasey emphasized that "nothing at this point represents a commitment or a recommendation." Planners and a local steering committee want as much information as possible to improve mobility, efficiently allocate public dollars, improve safety, and reduce environmental impact.
Data collected at the meeting is to be posted soon on www.nwversailles.com.
A third public meeting will be held sometime this summer.