Some Valparaiso residents doubt roundabout
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent April 3, 2013 10:04PM
Updated: May 5, 2013 2:54PM
VALPARAISO — A two-lane roundabout to be built at Five Points Intersection this summer will improve traffic flow but will cause problems as traffic moves beyond the intersection, residents told city officials and project engineers Wednesday night.
About 14 people showed for the preconstruction meeting at the YMCA, where City Engineer Tim Burkman explained the three phases of the project that will begin this month and last into December.
The roundabout, which will be the largest in the city, is supposed to make the intersection of Calumet Avenue with Roosevelt and Vale Park roads less congested and safer.
Ray Stepanovich said the traffic lights at the intersection now allow him and other residents of the Rittenhouse retirement community to make left turns onto westbound Vale Park Road.
“With this unimpeded traffic flow, I don’t see making a left turn,” he said.
Owen Stevens said no traffic lights to create gaps in traffic mean people will have more trouble leaving businesses along Roosevelt and Calumet.
Christopher Murphy, vice president with project designer American Structurepoint of Indianapolis, said the roundabout is designed to fit vehicles into gaps in traffic so they can navigate the roundabout.
Burkman said drivers leave the roundabout in different directions, but residents remained unconvinced based on their observations.
Resident Perry Cozza said he’s always avoided the intersection because of congestion.
“I’m hoping this will be an improvement,” Cozza said.
The most negative stand against the roundabout came from two people who proposed putting it to a referendum.
The project will cost $2.27 million, but with federal grants the city will pay about $350,000, Burkman said. That money will come through the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission.
During construction, the city will replace an 80-year-old, cast-iron water main on Calumet and improve storm sewers that are a maze where 24-inch pipes empty into 12-inch ones. Work has begun, with NIPSCO and other utilities beginning to move their lines.
The city will have construction updates on its website, which now outlines the phases of the project and has a video on how to navigate a two-lane roundabout. The site is https://ci.valparaiso.in.us/index.aspx?NID=1243