FAQs about the Roundabout Project

FAQs about the Roundabout Project

What will this project do?

This project will convert a T- intersection to a roundabout at Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A as part of the Memorial Avenue Upgrade Project. Reconstruction of this intersection will increase public safety, calm traffic, improve services levels and reduce idling.

Who says that roundabouts are safer?

Transport Canada is recommending that Canadian jurisdictions consider converting signalized intersections to roundabouts wherever appropriate. Their findings as well as many others have concluded that countries showing higher reductions of intersection collisions have been implementing roundabouts.

What are the statistics?

  • 75% reduction in collisions with injuries
  • 90% reduction in fatality collisions
  • 39% reduction in overall collisions
  • At stop signs or traffic lights, the most serious accidents are right-angle, left-turn or head-on collisions. Roundabouts eliminate these types of crashes.

What are the benefits of a roundabout at the intersection of Memorial Avenue & Hwy 19A?

  • Reduced congestion at the intersection
  • Geometry of the roundabout calms traffic at all times of the day and volume
  • Reduced stop, go and idling is better for the environment
  • Better for drivers of advancing years due to the low consistent speeds, simple decisions, reduced need to judge closing speeds or gaps in fast moving traffic
  • Improved access to waterfront and surrounding businesses
  • Realign and improve the substandard intersection that show high crash rates
  • Increased pedestrian safety
  • Improved pedestrian linkage to the Uptown
  • Improved emergency access
  • Improved transit access

How will the roundabout affect the traffic flow?

Because approaching traffic only has to yield to vehicles already circulating in a roundabout, movement is often without delay. As proven with the roundabout at the Rupert Road the Memorial Avenue intersection, traffic moves through an intersection at a much higher rate than traditional intersection controls.

Are roundabouts safe for pedestrians?

Yes! For a single lane roundabout, pedestrians only need to cross one lane of traffic at once instead of multiple. This minimizes the number of things to look for (right turning on red, left turns, drivers running a light). Many studies have shown a pedestrian's risk of being involved in a severe collision is lower at roundabouts, due to the slower vehicle speeds. Also, the number of conflict points for a pedestrian is lower at a roundabout then at other intersections, which lowers the frequency of collisions.
  • Traffic speeds are slow enough to allow visual engagement with pedestrians and easy short stopping distances.
  • Traffic in a roundabout comes from one direction rather than two or more, simplifying the pedestrian's visual environment.
  • Crossing distances are shortened and splitter islands offer a place of refuge before crossing an additional lane.
  • Crosswalks are located at least one full car length outside of the roundabout circle. A vehicle can stop for a pedestrian without obstructing through traffic.
  • A vehicle or pedestrian only encounters a single conflict at a time:
  • Approaching the roundabout the vehicle encounters the crosswalk (full attention can be devoted to the pedestrians)
  • Entering the roundabout the vehicle merges with the circulating traffic
  • Leaving the roundabout the vehicle encounters the crosswalk
  • A conventional intersection can have 32 different types and points of conflict - many simultaneously.


Are roundabouts safe for cyclists?

Yes! The way cyclists operate through a roundabout depends on their degree of comfort and experience level with riding in traffic. More experienced cyclists may choose to circulate as a vehicle, merging into the travel lane before the bike lane or shoulder ends. Less experienced cyclists can dismount their bicycles and use the roundabout like a pedestrian would.

Is the cost of constructing a roundabout more than a traditional intersection?

Modern roundabouts are sometimes less expensive than traffic signals, particularly in the long run. Generally, the initial construction cost of a roundabout is similar to the initial construction cost of a signal, but because there are no traffic signals, equipment maintenance costs are less. As well, because traffic moves through a roundabout in a very efficient manner, it is possible that streets between roundabouts can operate well with fewer lanes, providing a savings in associated construction costs. The roundabout at Rupert Road and Memorial Avenue is an example of this solution.

Is the roundabout being built out into the ocean?

No. The roundabout does not extend into the ocean and will not interfere with the foreshore. A more natural estuary for Beach Creek will be re-established on the foreshore that will enhance fish access, restore the salmon habitat, cleanse stormwater and increase resiliency to extreme weather events. The Town of Qualicum Beach is working with the provincial and federal governments as part of the required permitting process. This process ensures that there will not be environmental degradation and that this projects has a positive impact on the environment.

How long has the Town been planning this project?

In 2009, the Town of Qualicum Beach adopted the Cycling Plan and in 2013, the Age-Friendly Transportation Plan. A roundabout was rated highly in priorities, due to the significant safety benefits and the high volume of traffic and significant pedestrian activity

The Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A intersection is our highest crash site based on ICBC data (large red bullet on the waterfront). This area was also the site of a multiple pedestrian fatality in recent years, the stop controlled Memorial configuration provides an extremely low level of service to vehicle users on Memorial attempting to make a turn onto 19A westbound, the intersection contains only a pedestrian warning device (it is not considered a traffic control device by the RCMP), and a traffic light is statistically more dangerous from a bodily injury point of view. Through the Waterfront Master Plan public engagement, this intersection was identified as being the start of the central waterfront, would benefit from traffic calming, and that Highway 19A should not be treated as a highway through this area.

Did the Town receive grant funding for this project?

  • In February 2016, the Town received $600,000 from the federal Gas Tax Fund to support upgrades to the Memorial Avenue corridor.
  • In March 2017, the Town received $1.4 million from Province of British Columbia, Water and Wastewater Fund for Phase 3 of the Memorial Avenue Upgrade.
  • In June 2018, the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Bike BC announced that the Town of Qualicum Beach will receive $695,308 to complete the separated bike path on the upper portion of Memorial Avenue.

When will the project begin?

The Memorial Avenue Upgrades Phase 3 - Bike Path: Village Way to Crescent Road Invitation to Tender has been issued. Signed tenders will be received until Thursday, August 16th, 2018 2:00pm local time. Click here to view the Invitation to Tender. After that time, staff will review the bids which will go before Council later this summer. A start date for the project will be determined at that time and will be announced. The public will be updated when there is new information through the newspaper, our website, Facebook and at our Town Hall front counter.

Where Do I Find More Info on roundabouts:

Cliamte Leader
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