The intersection of Windermere Road and Roberson Road in Winter Garden has a significant problem.
- Congestion at Windermere Road/Roberson Road intersection
- Officials hope to fix it with a roundabout
- Some have suggested adding a traffic light
"The intersection does not work and it hasn't for some time," said Mike Bollhoefer, Winter Garden city manager.
Without the proper amount of turn lanes and it being only a two lane road, this intersection can cause a maddening amount of congestion. This year, the problem will be fixed although Orange County and local residents have different opinions.
"The county was going to put in a traffic light,” Bollhoefer said. “The residents asked instead for a roundabout. So we worked with the county and decided to put in a roundabout."
The decision has sparked growing debate. Is the traffic light more efficient than the roundabout? Winter Garden city leaders like both and they say different situations call for different traffic control solutions.
Take Marsh Road, for example. The city was having significant problems turning the area into residential land with all of the big trucks coming through. Then it decided to slow down traffic by putting in a succession of three roundabouts which reduced traffic by 40 percent in the area.
"Because we did not want to turn this into a thoroughfare, the roundabouts keep traffic moving smoothly but at a slower pace which helps you develop residential projects,” Bollhoefer said. “Parents and families want places where they can walk and ride their bikes where their children will be safe."
As for the future, Dillard Street will be next to get a roundabout, but not for the same reasons as Marsh Road. Officials eventually want to turn the area into a place that makes downtown Winter Garden even better, lining it with shops and such.
"We'd like to turn into a two-lane road with a flex lane with a series of roundabouts,” Bollhoefer said. “And that will one, make the traffic flow smoother and two: encourage better development down there as we re-develop Dillard Street."
The roundabout on Roberson Road will be built later this year, it's the only roundabout in the immediate area. Will it have the impact that residents want? Even the city is not necessarily convinced.
"Generally, roundabouts work best when they are in a series of roundabouts," said Bollhoefer.