North Vernon residents receptive to roundabouts

North Vernon area residents seem OK with the idea of adding two roundabouts to U.S. 50 on the east and west sides of the city. That was the consensus of those who took part in a public input session by the Indiana Department of Transportation Wednesday night at Jennings County High School.

INDOT held the meeting to educate and hear feedback about a proposal to turn a pair of intersections on U.S. 50 into roundabouts. Specifically, the intersection with State Road 750 on the west side of North Vernon and the intersection with Buckeye Street on the city’s east side.

Rickie Clark, with INDOT’s Office of Public Involvement, led to the session. He explained the benefits of converting these intersections to roundabouts. The main one he stressed was safety. Repeatedly referring to the proposed changes as “safety enhancements,” Clark cited INDOT statistics that showed that conventional intersections account for 45-percent of all traffic crashes and one-third of all fatalities. By implementing roundabouts, he says that crashes go down 44-percent, while fatalities drop 82-percent. Clark cites the lower speeds needed to negotiate roundabouts, as well as the reduced angles of possible collisions when crashes do occur for these improved figures.

About three-dozen people turned out for the presentation. Most who spoke had little issue with the roundabouts, but with the lack of signage. Specifically, these people were upset with the lack of signage at the intersection of State Road 750. They relayed instances of semi-trucks and other vehicles executing u-turns in tight spaces due to the lack of signage pointing out how to get to North Vernon, Seymour and other areas.

Clark told those in attendance that these concerns would be passed on to decision-makers at INDOT, but he implored them, and other residents and travelers, to contact the agency with their written comments and concerns.

Those comments can be made by calling the Seymour District Office at (877) 305-7611, or by email at Clark says that the deadline to submit your questions and/or concerns is Friday, Sept. 30.