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East El Paso Residents Oppose Plans For Roundabout

A proposal to install a roundabout in East El Paso has the City spinning its wheels.

“(The roundabout) makes me as angry as hell,” said Charlsetta Finley. “It does upset me, because we pay taxes here and they should listen to us.”

Finley’s remark summed up the mood at Wednesday night’s meeting regarding the proposed two-lane, all direction, traffic circle planned for the intersection of Montwood Dr. and Wedgewood Dr..

Less than people out of a packed Eastwood High School auditorium raised their hands in favor of the project.

The roundabout only accounts for $250,000 of the massive $11.25 million total-reconstruction that reaches from MCrae Blvd. to Wedgewood.

While a majority of the funding will come from the city, A spokeswoman for El Paso Water Utilities says funding for dams will come from the Public Service Board.

It’s not the cost or sheer size of the project that most people are opposed to, it’s the concept.

The majority of the concerns voiced at Wednesday’s meeting boiled down to two things: roundabouts aren’t user-friendly, and drivers aren’t properly trained on how to use them.

The El Paso Department of Transportation offered a laundry list of positives to try and entice the crowd.

Despite spouting off statistics on how roundabouts decrease traffic-signal related deaths to their reduction of fuel emissions, the crowd wasn’t buying it.

At one point, the audience began booing District 5 City Rep. Dr. Michiel Noe when he told them he was in favor of the project.

“If (the roundabout) has been proven safer and it gets traffic through faster, why wouldn’t I be in favor of that?” asked Dr. Noe. “But I ran a campaign saying I was going to represent the people and I’m not going to dictate what I think they should have.”

City reps said, roundabout or not, the area will be totally demolished.

According to the deputy director for the El Paso Department of Transportation, the Montwood Street and Drainage Improvement Project should be completed by March 2014.

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