Kalamazoo may install roundabout at Gull and Harrison

Area bicyclists say they won't be able to get through roundabout safely

harrison street, gull road, kalamazoo, roundabout
A rendering of a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Harrison Street and Gull Rod. (May 1, 2017)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Traffic planners want to install a roundabout at one Kalamazoo intersection, but local bicyclists aren’t happy about the idea.

More than 16,000 vehicle traverse the intersection of Gull Road/E. Ransom Street and Harrison Street every day. Currently, vehicles on Harrison stop at signs while through traffic on Gull has the right of way. Kalamazoo city planners want to turn the intersection into a roundabout, saying the change will reduce the number of possible crashes.

harrison street, gull road, kalamazoo, roundabout
The intersection of Harrison Street and Gull Road in Kalamazoo, where authorities are planning to add a roundabout. (May 1, 2017)

But area cyclists say they won’t be able to pass through the roundabout safely. The current plan does not include protected bike lanes. Public Services Director James Baker said bike lanes cannot be drawn in the roundabout itself because the traffic volume is too high. Cyclists would be encouraged — but not required — to cross with pedestrians and not enter the roundabout.

“No matter what we build, you’re going to have high vehicle traffic on this street and in this intersection, until we address much, much larger problems that will happen in time,” City Commissioner Matt Milcarek said during a Monday night meeting.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” City Commissioner Jack Urban said. “I haven’t decided whether I’m going to vote for this or not, but I sure hope this is the last project we do that doesn’t include protected bike lanes.”

The roundabout isn’t a done deal yet. City commissioners still have to vote on whether to approve it, which is expected to happen within the month.