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Roundabout progress halted after vote from Board of Supervisors

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Posted at 6:05 AM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 09:05:02-04

Traffic between San Luis Obispo and the Five Cities has been an ongoing problem for years – especially during peak commute times.

A project designed to alleviate some of the congestion along highway 227 was set to get underway in the summer of 2024, but at the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisor's meeting on Tuesday - County supervisors decided not to fund a new roundabout.

"Most of the people I think, out here in this area, are totally against the roundabout," said neighbor, David Elam.

And that was the issue with supervisors – everyone agrees the problem needs to be fixed, but not everyone agrees on how.

Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton voted to stop the project.

Supervisors Dawn Ortiz-Legg and Bruce Gibson voted to move forward. Supervisor John Peschong recused himself because of a conflict of interest.

With a 2-2 tie, the funding was not approved.

Currently the intersection is controlled by a traffic light. There is disagreement among neighbors about whether a roundabout or additional lanes of traffic would be the best solution.

"Delaying it is a good thing," added Elam.

Elam thinks the roundabout is going to have the opposite of the intended effect, actually increasing traffic.

"I think it's going to just impact us where certain times of the day we're just not going to be able to leave the house unless we're going to work or having to go somewhere," said Elam.

However, planners want something to be done before the congestion gets even worse.

"Back in 2014 we did some traffic forecasts and found that the 227 was going to be congested by 2035," said San Luis Obispo Council of Government Transportation Planner, Stephen Hanamaikai.

And with Tuesday's decision to not fund a roundabout, it’s back to the drawing board.

"Time cost is a big difference that we're looking at from today's decision," said Hanamaikai.

The project manager stated that the roundabout is just one of multiple projects needed to alleviate traffic.

"We need improvements on the 227 and we need improvements on the 101 to really address the traffic," said project manager, Gamaro Diaz.