Council Members Support Roundabout Approval

Although a majority of Santa Barbara city councilmembers said they thought the seven mini-roundabouts on the upper Eastside were ugly, obnoxious, garish, and confusing, they chose to reject Santa Barbara Safe Streets’ appeal of the final approval bestowed on these traffic calming experiments by the Architectural Board of Review. Safe Streets contended that city traffic engineers hoodwinked the ABR by withholding damaging information about the mini-roundabouts from its members. Specifically, they claimed the engineers failed to inform the ABR that the fire marshal expressed serious safety concerns about the roundabouts. In addition, they argued that city traffic engineers rigged two of the three neighborhood advisory elections by failing to give voters the option of voting “no.” While most councilmembers concluded these concerns were not reason to remove the traffic circles, they did vote to re-examine the issue in a year. Engineers claim their surveys demonstrate that motorists have slowed down considerably on the streets where the traffic calming devices were installed.

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