Despite objections from Round Lake residents, the Malta Town Board on Monday, Feb. 4, voted to hire the engineering firm of Creighton-Manning to perform a traffic safety study on the installation of two roundabouts on Round Lake Road. The study will cost $500,000.
The proposed roundabouts are part of the Round Lake Corridor Plan, which the town is in the process of developing.
“I’m concerned about the honesty of the board on these roundabouts,” said resident John Rich at the meeting. “People have said they don’t want it. You are a bunch of puppets. The people have spoken, we don’t want this.”
Resident Kim Spataro agreed.
“You think you listened but you didn’t hear what people said,” she said, referring to a recent public hearing over the proposed roundabouts. “Are you hearing us now?”
Members of the public have been primarily concerned with a roundabout at Chango Drive, near the Chango Elementary School, saying it would pose a safety risk to children walking to or from school.
Supervisor Paul Sausville reassured audience members that no decision has been made on the roundabouts.
“This study won’t be complete for several months,” he said. “We are still in the fact-finding stage and no decision will be made until everything is considered, including public comments.”
But resident Mark Spataro was not buying the reassurances.
“We’re going to be streamlined right out of existence,” he said. “This engineering firm will be making a judgment on our community and they don’t even live here.”
The Round Lake Corridor Plan includes upgrades to six intersections along Round Lake Road, two of which are the proposed roundabouts, and comes with a price tag of $4.75 million. That cost would be mitigated by a federal highway grant the town recently received that would cover 80 percent of the cost.
Recently, the town hired Chazen Company at a cost of $36,000 to do a study of the corridor and make recommendations.
That study concluded the roundabouts are a good choice and would reduce vehicle speeds. That would help lessen the number of traffic and pedestrian related accidents, the company concluded.
A steering committee will also be set up with the goal of keeping the study unbiased and focused on safety issues.