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Dear Chadron,

In a May 10 letter to the editor, there were three victors (Big Bats, China House, and McDonald’s) and two losers (Miles Bannan and Mark Werner). I think this sentiment is short sighted and inconsiderate. There are a lot of winners and losers in this decision.

Do you realize that there is no pedestrian, bicycle or handicapped access to any business west of Ace Hardware? Granted, the truck stop, lumberyard, car dealerships, motorcycle dealership, motels and trailer dealers do not count on pedestrian, bicycle or handicapped people as their source of income. But Wal-Mart, Subway, Security First, Maurices, Taco Johns, Helens, China House, McDonalds, Cheemas, and Maverik would benefit in some way from access to these customers.

Of course, the winners in this equation are all of the downtown businesses who value and provide access to these members of our community. Mark Werner’s comments on the benefits of sidewalks should not be minimized.

Do you think it fair to not provide safe access to the workers in these locations who do not have access to a vehicle? Would you consider them losers when they have to walk through mud, slush, and snow banks to access their workplace? The winners in this situation would be truck drivers and Nebraska Department of Roads employees who don’t have to figure out how to remove snow from a roundabout.

The Chadron City Council has to rely on reliable and verifiable data as well as constituent feedback when making a decision. I feel that this data was not provided by the roundabout opponents. I don’t understand how a roundabout would negatively impact truck drivers seeking access to the truck stop. In an in depth study done in Kansas and Indiana in 2016 on the impact on nearby businesses of a roundabout, the results were roundabout favorable.

In the Indiana study they found that 85.7 % of the nearby business experienced a positive impact on their business. In the Kansas study 61.5% of the businesses experienced a positive impact. In Golden Colo., four roundabouts were installed in a business corridor. They went from $1 million in sales tax revenue along that corridor in 1998 to 1.6 million in 2004.

The council needs to “trust but verify” the testimony presented in council chambers. There were long term and substantial safety, social and financial issues on the table. To state that Mark and Miles are anti-business is false and to base a recall effort on that statement is exactly opposite of what the testimony led you to believe.

Can I get you to watch the last 5 minutes of the “Mythbusters” episode on roundabouts? After a 30-minute practice session, they were able to move 460 vehicles safely through the roundabout in 15 minutes.

My comments and conclusions demand intense scrutiny because I’m emotional and biased on this subject, as should the Pouriers’ comments and conclusions stand up to scrutiny for the same reason. We really could have used an independent study to confront the financial and accessibility issues that were not covered by the traffic study. I would not be in this discussion now if my son had not been accused of using “voodoo” to make his decisions. I’m assuming voodoo means he’s insincere. Let’s lighten up on the rhetoric and try to be civil.

Another segment of our population that did not win are our elderly and inexperienced drivers. There are good reasons why the AARP endorses roundabouts. At present, you have to cross three lanes of traffic and hope the vehicle across the road remembered his blinker as well as trying to judge the amount of time it’s going to take to avoid cross traffic at 30 mph. With a roundabout, collisions are limited to sideswipes and front and rear end collisions at approximately 15-20 mph. Our present intersection is susceptible to head-on and broadside collisions at 30-45 mph. My elderly mother avoided that end of town at all costs. Unlike others, I feel that even two accidents with the potential of serious injuries are too many.

There was some discussion on how devastating the impact of a roundabout would be on Big Bats. There is an article in “Trucker Talk” magazine about a Flying J truck stop located off a roundabout in St. George, Utah. The author says “the lanes are wide enough and the curbs are low so it is easy to get around the nicely landscaped center island.”

Mr. Schumacher commented in one of his articles about how disappointed he was with Democrats who flooded the courtroom at the courthouse and treated Rep. Adrian Smith with anger, emotion and disrespect. How was the situation at council chambers during roundabout discussions any different? I find this to be hypocrisy. At least Adrian had the opportunity to return to Washington D.C. and verify the concerns of his constituents and then place his vote in peace.

I would not have had the courage to vote under such angry and emotional circumstances. When new information is presented at a council voting session, such as the China House and McDonald claims, the council needs to table its vote until they can verify the information and provide counter-views. Mr. Schumacher, please use your skills as a former public affairs officer to help the Pouriers find verifiable studies and research about the negative impacts on truck stops after roundabouts are built. They didn’t need to spend all that time and money on lawyers and surveys of their own.

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My heartfelt thanks go to Mark and Miles, as well as Doc Gamby in the past, for voting for the roundabout. You did your best to make our community safer, more accessible and more business friendly for as many citizens as possible.

I absolutely hate that the downtown business district and my employer would lose any more revenue after a roundabout was built, but I think safety and public access concerns would outweigh the other concerns.

Please mail me a stamped and self addressed envelope to 501 N. Main Street if you would like me to provide the web addresses of the papers I based my conclusions on.

Let’s make that corridor really safe and run a median south to Eighth Street and make the Sixth Street intersection into a “right turn only.” Then, see if they would put a merging lane at Linden and Hwy 20 so you can get up to 45 mph before trying to blend with traffic. My son, wife and daughter were t-boned at the Sixth Street intersection by a bus without self-canceling blinkers, and I feel that intersection to be unsafe, especially for learning permit and elderly drivers.

Let me tell you, you only use the term “barely two accidents per year” if those accidents didn’t involve your friends or family.


Tom Bannan

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