Designers of the Texaco roundabout have taken into account one very important aspect of the area where it will be constructed — the number of pedestrians, many of whom are small children, who will walk through the Cruz Bay intersection where four roads meet.
After an out of control dump truck barreled through Cruz Bay and the Julius E. Sprauve School’s crosswalk last month, residents are more concerned than ever about the safety of the intersection.
“Given the size of the island, the town and the community, you have to provide safe access for pedestrians,” said Department of Public Works Design Program Manager John McClean. “It was a consideration, definitely.”
The design for the roundabout shows a crosswalk on each of the five roads which feed into the roundabout, and one handicap ramp which crosses Centerline Road just east of Dolphin Market.
Crosswalks On Each Road
“There are numerous crosswalks,” said McClean. “They are on each street off the roundabout, and the handicap ramp is where the Texaco gas station is now.”
Roundabout plans show crosswalks on the west side of Centerline Road at approximately the same area where the JESS crosswalk is currently located; the east side of Centerline Road just past Dolphin Market; Route 201 near the wall at Boulon Center; South Shore Road close to the V.I. Election System office; and Route 104 in the same area where the Housing, Parks and Recreation crosswalk is currently located.
Crosswalks on St. John have been improperly maintained in the past, including the crosswalk at South Shore Road and Pond Road where Javon Jade Alfred was struck and killed by a truck in December 2004.
No Sidewalk For Handicap Ramp
Sidewalks will run along all edges of the roundabout, except in front of Dolphin Market, where there currently is no sidewalk, and curiously, where the handicap ramp is planned to be installed.
“There are sidewalks on either side of the roundabout, except for the one that has the ramp,” said McClean.
The traffic will flow clockwise, and cars in the roundabout will have the right of way over cars entering the roundabout.
“Most roundabouts work the same,” said McClean. “If you are in the roundabout, you have the right of way. Vehicles that are going in to the roundabout have to yield to traffic already in the roundabout.”
Texaco To Be Removed
The roundabout will be just one lane wide, McClean added.
Although it may seem near impossible to construct a functional roundabout in the middle of Cruz Bay, the removal of the
Texaco gas station will provide extra space, explained McClean.
“We are going to remove the Texaco building to foundation level,” he said.
The Texaco, which is currently operating under a month-to-month agreement with the V.I. government, will be required to move under eminent domain to make way for the roundabout.
DPW has also taken into consideration the number of large trucks that traverse the intersection on a daily basis, many of which come from the Enighed Pond Marine Facility.
While trucks currently have to execute a three-point turn to get through the intersection, this will not be necessary once the roundabout is completed, explained DPW Territorial Highway Program Manager Wystan Benjamin.
“Sometimes there are planters in the middle of roundabouts,” he said. “We are going to put a mountable curb in the center, so the trucks don’t have to back up and do a three-point turn.”
DPW is on track to accept bids for the project in June, explained McClean.
“June is still our target,” he said. “The consultants are chugging along, still trying to meet our deadlines.”