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Residents express concerns over proposed Hwy 227 roundabout

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Dec 01, 2021

Changes could be coming to a highly traveled intersection in San Luis Obispo.

That could mean a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 227 and Los Ranchos Road.

SLOCOG, the County of San Luis Obispo, and Caltrans are all behind the project and it's set to be discussed during the next SLOCOG board meeting on Wednesday, December 8, at 9:30 a.m.

It's a heavily used stretch of road and improvements could be happening within the next several years.

"Definitely a congestion problem," said Susan Hack of San Luis Obispo.

The most recent traffic analysis of Highway 227 looked at the possibility of five lanes with traffic signals or two lanes with multiple improvements like roundabouts at Buckley and Los Ranchos roads and a signal at Farmhouse Lane.

The county says the required analysis concluded that the second option is safer, it improves local access to roads, it's cheaper to maintain, and it's less expensive to construct.

But those who use the intersection say they have some concerns about roundabouts.

"I'm concerned about the potential increase in non-fatal accidents," Hack said. "I am also concerned about the lack of protected crossing for pedestrians and bicycles as there's never a red light to stop traffic. They have to merge in there with all of the rest of us."

Others say they believe a roundabout could make traffic worse.

"That corridor has trucks, ag equipment, buses, you name it who is going to have to slow down to five miles per hour to get through this roundabout," said Kathy Borland of San Luis Obispo.

Some residents say one alternative solution is adding or lengthening turn lanes at Los Ranchos Road, or syncing the lights at Arrow Drive, Buckley and Los Ranchos roads to get traffic moving.

On December 8, SLOCOG will respond to comments from the public and during its February meeting, it'll consider a funding package for the roundabout improvement project. From there, Caltrans may finalize the project in 2022. The design phase will follow and the soonest construction could begin is 2025.

The project has a total cost of $14.7 million.