Oro Valley has long held bragging rights for the best roads in the region, and that’s because the town continues to make thoughtful investments every year in the maintenance and upkeep of our roadways. We understand how quality infrastructure is a vital component to quality of life. Quality infrastructure also means we are regularly assessing the need for volume and safety improvements, ensuring that our motorists, pedestrians and cyclists can efficiently and safely travel from point A to point B. As neighborhoods grow, and schools and businesses are built, the volume of traffic on our roads also increases.
One area of town that has seen growth and has been tapped for a roadway improvement project is the intersection at North La Cañada Drive and West Moore Road. It has already been decided that the traffic volume and safety need to be improved; however, what is still up for discussion is which solution is the best fit.
For a little background: In the fall of 2017, the Town of Oro Valley hired Psomas—an engineering consultant—to analyze the La Cañada and Moore intersection and study our options. It was determined the two most viable options for this location were either the installation of a traffic signal or a roundabout. The intersection is currently a four-way stop.
Following that study and recommendation, the town held an open house meeting in January to listen to public comments and concerns. It became clear that further analysis was needed before the project moved forward, so the town proceeded with a more detailed analysis of six categories:
- Vehicle vs. Vehicle Crash Performance
- Vehicle vs. Pedestrian Crash Performance
- Vehicle vs. Pedestrian Crash Severity
- Vehicular Traffic Level of Service
- Vehicular Traffic Yielding to Pedestrians
- Pedestrian Crossing Queuing Ability
The results of that analysis concluded that a roundabout was safer and more efficient for the first four categories, and a traffic signal was safer and more efficient for the last two categories.
At this point, some of you may be wondering what a roundabout is, since they are still a little uncommon in our region. A roundabout is a type of raised intersection with no traffic lights. As traffic enters the two-lane intersection, motorists drive around the circle, exiting onto whichever street they choose. Roundabouts are designed to reduce crashes and improve traffic flow, and there are actually several roundabouts in the Tucson area, including one in Oro Valley at West Hardy Road and North Northern Avenue.
The bottom line is this intersection needs improvement, and in order to keep this project moving, we need to hear from you, our residents. While the engineering consultant and the town’s traffic engineer are both recommending a roundabout, the pros and cons for either are pretty close, and thus far, public feedback has been about fifty-fifty. So we want to make sure the public has one last chance to chime in on this important project before making a final decision.
To gather your feedback, we’ve set up a brief, online survey, because we realize families are busy and attending public meetings isn’t always the best way to make your voice heard. The survey opened on Nov. 21 and will be available through midnight on Sunday, Dec. 2. The town has also created a brief, informational video on this project, including an overview of roundabouts. You’ll want to view the video before taking the survey. Both the video and the survey can be found by visiting orovalleyaz.gov and clicking on the banner at the top of the page.
If for any reason you are unable to take the online survey and would prefer to send your responses in email, please contact our constituent services coordinator Jessica Hynd at 229-4711 or email@example.com.
Finally, on Monday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m., we will hold a follow-up public meeting during which time I’ll also present the findings of that survey. The meeting will be held in council chambers, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive.
Over the past year as your town manager, I have come to understand that Oro Valley is a town of engaged residents who care deeply about their community. So wherever we land on this decision, I want to personally thank you for your input and involvement.
Mary Jacobs is the Oro Valley Town Manager.