Carmel Mayor has plans to install more roundabouts

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Roundabouts

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard recently told Current in Carmel that “There aren’t a lot of intersections in Carmel where a roundabout wouldn’t work.”

And now that he’s been reelected for a sixth term, it seems like more of these circular intersections will be installed. The question comes down to which areas need them the most and how much will it cost.

The city’s eastside is likely to see the most roundabout construction in the near future. City councilor Sue Finkam, who represents much of this area, stood with the mayor as he announced plans for roundabouts at 116th and Gray Road, 116th and Hazel Dell Parkway, 126th and Gray Road, Main Street and Gray Road, 136th Street and Gray Road and 136th Street and Carey Road.

John Accetturo, a former member of the Carmel City Council, ran unsuccessfully against Finkam in the last election, but he didn’t disagree with her on the need for roundabouts. In fact, he said he wishes these projects were started sooner. Accetturo has often painted himself as a “watchdog” and “fiscal hawk” and he ran unsuccessfully against Brainard for mayor in 2011 on the position that Brainard was piling up too much debt. Still, he said there’s a need to invest in these intersections.

“While I oppose borrowing money to get it done, these areas really need some new roundabouts,” he said. “The eastside has needed some attention for a long time.”

Another roundabout possibility is at 96th Street and Keystone Parkway, an project that would likely need federal money to get off the ground. A federal Tiger Grant request estimated the cost at around $30 million for a small version of that project.

City Council President Rick Sharp, who ran unsuccessfully against Brainard for mayor this year, voiced his opposition to a roundabout at 96th and Keystone because of the cost and because he said there might be better ways to improve traffic flow.

Brainard will also push for new roundabouts along Range Line Road, as the new council members that will take office in January are expected support these projects. Roundabouts are in the planning stage along Range Line Road at Carmel Drive, 116th Street, City Center Drive and 4th Street.

Brainard said some areas might not work for roundabouts because there isn’t enough space to construct one without taking out homes, but he said they work in most places.

“They reduce accidents and improve energy efficiency,” he said. “We’ve been a leader there with more than 60 roundabouts and we will continue to lead the way.”

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