Public meeting held to discuss potential roundabout

Cameron Koch

Big changes are in store for the intersection of University Boulevard, Loving Way and the US31 Bypass in the form of a roundabout — a change many are less than thrilled with.

A public meeting Thursday evening at the Knicely Conference Center saw a large turnout as citizens of Bowling Green and WKU students picked apart maps, diagrams and even 3-D simulations explaining the proposed more than $6 million transformation. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2014.

A roundabout would change the intersection from a standard stoplight intersection to a double lane, circular intersection featuring almost continuously flowing traffic. Vehicles in the circle will have the right away, while vehicles entering will be required to yield.

The ability to turn left on Highway 31 from Chestnut Street will be eliminated with the creation of the roundabout. Drivers will instead be forced to turn right and drive through the circle to head north up the highway.

If approved, the roundabout would be the first multi-lane roundabout in the state.

Several WKU civil engineering students were in attendance, asking questions and informing others about the proposal, including Louisville senior Aaron Daley.

“I’m a big fan of roundabouts,” Daley said. “I think it’s the best thing they can do for the intersection.”

Others felt differently.

“If you are going around and around, I don’t see how that’s going to improve traffic flow,” Bowling Green resident John Mobley said.

Richard Feldman, a Bowling Green resident, owns several rental properties along the Bypass and Nashville Road that will be either destroyed by the creation of the roundabout or have part of the yards of the properties destroyed. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will assess the fair market value of properties affected by the roundabout construction and make offers to property owners.

“That’s a big loss of income for me,” Feldman said. “They are affecting not only my pocketbook, but destroying a lot of years of work.”

Feldman said he strategically bought the location on the corner of US31 and Loving Way and worked hard over the years to keep it an appealing living choice for students.

Despite being encouraged by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to submit comments — comments the Cabinet assures will be reviewed and considered before moving forward — some felt the coming change was inevitable, whether they liked the roundabout or not.

“It sounds like it’s already a done deal,” Mobley said.

Feldman felt there wasn’t much else to be done about the issue — he will lose one of his properties while others he fears may potentially drop in value as a result of the new intersection.

“You can fight it, but you’re wasting your time.”