0203 roundabout

Traffic engineers say a roundabout at 12th Street and Commercial Avenue would accommodate separated bike lanes, widened sidewalks, shortened crossings and slower traffic speeds. (Alta / City of Anacortes)

City staff and traffic engineers are recommending a roundabout be built at Commercial Avenue and 12th Street as part of the Commercial Avenue Complete Street Project.

The alternatives were presented Monday to the City Council, which could make a decision in March. Preliminary design would be finished by June with the final design completed by October. The project would be put out to bid in November, with construction in 2022.

An estimated two million vehicles a year travel the Commercial Avenue and 12th Street intersection.

The project’s first phase includes plans to improve the visual appearance, economic vitality and vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle safety on Commercial Avenue from 11th Street to Highway 20.

The first two blocks are funded for construction. A portion of the project will be paid for by the state Department of Transportation because Commercial to 12th to the state ferry landing is a spur of state Highway 20.

Three options were assessed for Commercial and 12th: No change, a narrowed signalized intersection or a roundabout. The narrowed signalized intersection would accommodate shortened crossings and bike lanes. But there would be an increased risk of rear-end crashes, according to the presentation, as well as longer waits to make turns.

The roundabout would accommodate separated bike lanes, widened sidewalks, shortened crossings and slower traffic speeds, according to the presentation. It would make conditions safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. Traffic lines would be reduced and movement of traffic improved, according to the presentation.

The presentation was informed partly by community feedback received at a Dec. 9, 2019, open house and a virtual open house. Of those who participated in the virtual open house, 50% preferred doing nothing, 45% preferred a roundabout, and 5% preferred a signalized intersection, according to the presentation. But participants also expressed concern about traffic flow and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

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