There hasn’t been this much discussion about a Fredericton proposal since the escalator.

smythe_round

The comments on the City’s Facebook Page range between “Best idea ever” to “Wheel of Death”. Most of the concerns seem to be related to how it would be dangerous to have a roundabout on a highway. The rest seem to think that Fredericton drivers won’t be able to handle it.

Many multi-lane freeways end at a traffic light. Just a few blocks away, the Vanier does just that. Is there really much difference between a light and a roundabout? As for the poorly skilled drivers, maybe this will motivate the police to actually enforce the other traffic laws.

This leads to questioning why they would put a roundabout on a freeway? There are two possible answers:

1. This whole thing is a bluff.

Is the city strong-arming the province into building the overpass? City officials have said repeatedly that they have lobbied the province for an overpass. The province is claiming that they can’t afford one, but maybe the city is hoping that this will force the province to put one in.

2. It is part of a larger plan to “de-freeway” highway 8.

As it is no longer the Trans Canada, it doesn’t get the traffic it used to. Wouldn’t it make more sense to change the nature of the road so that it serves local residents instead of through traffic? Lowering the speed limit and adding more access points will do just that. They would do this with more roundabouts, like this badly drawn example that would make it so you can go from the Vanier to College Hill (and back again):

newround

Once this is finally built, people will eventually prefer the roundabouts. It will be so much easier to get around Uptown Fredericton.