Henry Smorynski, Sartell
Like many Sartell residents, I’m glad Pinecone Road will be resurfaced and reconstructed in the coming year. The city has made good decisions about having a number of roundabouts in areas not heavily traveled to connect better with St. Cloud, on Roberts Road and the most recent 19th Street roundabout. However, roundabouts being proposed for 2nd Street South and 7th Street North are not a good idea for safety or traffic-flow reasons.
Many Minnesotans do not either know the rules for properly entering and using roundabouts or ignore them in heavily congested roundabouts. This makes for dangerous roundabouts like the ones built by Walmart and the one entering CentraCare Plaza on CR 120. These roundabouts have poor sight lines of the oncoming traffic entering them and are highly congested, causing many poor driving decisions. A roundabout at the most busy intersection in Sartell would likely lead to a series of poor driving judgments due both to the heavy traffic and the many visual distractions of commercial business intersections with significant numbers of exits onto 2nd Street North near the intersection. Seventh Street North would be better served by a light, as would Heritage and CR 133. Traffic needs to be slowed and spread out along this heavily traveled section of Pinecone Road for safety reasons. The timing of the lights should be adjusted to accommodate traffic patterns from the cross streets onto Pinecone Road as is done at 2-½ Street N.
City transportation improvement plans must take into account the importance of driving skills, driving judgments, sight lines, traffic patterns and driver characteristics. In my view, limited use of roundabouts on Pinecone Road will afford reasonable traffic flow without creating serious backups in the areas of the roundabouts from any traffic accidents. With an aging population and a youthful population, one must plan for judgment and reaction differences and errors of those drivers. Stoplights are vital in that planning.