It was with fear and trepidation that I read the article concerning a study to put a roundabout at the intersection of Route 151 and Old Barnstable Road. While I am not a traffic engineer (I did, however, play one on television!), my 40 years of driving experience (over 30 years in Mashpee) tells me this is not a great idea.
I can see that roundabout constantly clogged during the summer and “rush hours.” Until there are more turn lanes and better coordination of the lights at the fire and police complex and at the Commons, 151 will always be backed up.
My uneducated suggestions would be to do some of the following: Add longer right turn only lanes on southbound Route 151 at the Old Barnstable Road intersection and at the intersection of Route 151 and Job’s Fishing Road. By doing this, it would allow more cars to take a right on Old Barnstable toward the high school and Falmouth and thereby removing more cars from the wait at the light.
The same would hold true at the Christ The King intersection. If the first car in line at that red light is going straight, no one else can move (unless they cut through the church parking lot, but nobody does that). This again would allow more cars to make a right on red and access Route 28 and South Mashpee/New Seabury.
Another cheaper fix would be to make the left-hand turn arrow stay green for a longer time for cars entering the North Market (Stop & Shop) of Mashpee Commons. On top of this, I would think that a comprehensive study of the timing of these two lights should be done to ensure they are working to increase traffic flow, not deter the flow. My other fear for a roundabout at 151 and Old Barnstable is the early morning and late afternoon mix of commuters (yup, we have commuters on Cape Cod), and highly inexperienced students meeting in a tangled free-for-all reminiscent of the old demolition derby at the county fair.
Actually, I think the long right turn only lanes on Old Barnstable Road go toward proving my point. Also, while we’re at it, can someone please add about 10 more seconds to the left-hand turn arrow at Great Neck Road North and Route 130? Currently, it’s green for eight seconds and yellow for two seconds. (And nobody goes on a yellow arrow!) This may prevent traffic backing all the way up to Sandwich Road in the morning and afternoon “commutes.”