Possible plans for Friday Harbor’s painted roundabout pushed to fall

A small, painted roundabout could potentially be installed this September at the intersection of Spring Street and Argyle Avenue.

“Council didn’t make a formal decision; they wanted to see the pocket park finished and how traffic would function around it to give everyone a chance to adjust before even considering putting in a roundabout,” said Town Clerk Amy Taylor to the Journal.

The Town of Friday Harbor Council made the tentative installation plans on April 6, at the final public discussion on the project. About five people spoke about the project at the first discussion in March and none at the last.

Council requested an update on the roundabout plans from town officials in August to reevaluate the project’s timeline and possibly vote to purchase materials. No vote will be taken on whether to install the roundabout.

Town Administrator Duncan Wilson said starting the project in the fall will:

  • avoid losing one to two parking spaces to the roundabout during summer’s busy season.
  • allow the construction of the Spring Street pocket park to be completed and time for residents to adjust to the new traffic patterns around the park.

“I think the roundabout in the addition to the park at the same time would cause heads to explode,” said Wilson at the April 6 meeting.

The pocket park, which will hold greenery and seating areas in front of Haley’s Sports Bar and Grill and the Palace Theatre, will be completed in May.

No additional land was purchased to create the roundabout, nor will any be excavated, Wilson told the Journal. The existing road will be painted with signs to indicate the roundabout’s turns and exits. No physical roundabout structure will be installed.

The revision to the roundabout’s plans, presented at the April 6 meeting, moved the crosswalk closer to Ace Hardware, so drivers can better see pedestrians. The thick black line in the plan indicates where a sidewalk or a concrete barrier to separate cars from pedestrians will be added.

Councilmember Steve Hushebeck questioned if drivers turning left onto Nichols from Argyle would cause traffics jams, similar to the current traffic flow. If traffic doesn’t move freely, said Wilson, it’s “back to the drawing board.”

And since the roundabout will be painted, that’s an easy fix.

“If it doesn’t work, it can be removed and go back to the way it was,” said Wilson.