SLO County board rejects plans for Highway 227 roundabout

April 8, 2022


The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 2-2 on Tuesday not to support two controversial roundabouts on Highway 227 near the SLO Country Club, following an 11-2 vote by the SLO County Council of Governments (SLOCOG) to support the project.

In early February, Arroyo Grande Councilman Jimmy Paulding voiced his support for the project. Paulding said he had a fiduciary duty to represent the residents of Arroyo Grande who want the roundabouts.

At that time, SLO County supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton were the two   SLOCOG board who voted against the roundabouts. Compton disagreed with Paulding, saying the majority of local residents are opposed to the project because of concerns with safety and bottlenecks.

During Tuesday’s SLO County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Supervisor John Peschong recused himself because of a perceived conflict of interest. Supervisors Bruce Gibson and Dawn Ortiz-Legg voted for the project noting issues with traffic congestion on Highway 227.

“It’s the best solution for congestion, it is the best to protect public safety, it is the most cost-effective to build and it’s most cost-effective to operate in the long-term,” Gibson said.

The plan is for two-lane roundabouts, one at Los Ranchos Road and the other at Buckley Road, to help ease traffic congestion during the morning and evening commutes.

Residents are concerned that the small roundabouts will increase the number of accidents and slow traffic during peak hours, said SLO Country Club resident Susan Hack. Instead, Hack would like local officials to focus on expanding Highway 101 south of San Luis Obispo.

“The commuters going southbound need some relief,” Hack said. “The roundabouts are not going to speed up the commute. I do not think this is the answer.”

Both Compton and Arnold said they need to listen to the people they were elected to represent.

“What you’re doing in my opinion is you’re taking a rural area and you’re taking freeway traffic, and you’re rerouting it through a rural area because the freeway can’t accommodate it,” Compton said. “That does not fundamentally make sense.”

Even though the SLO County Board of Supervisors voted against setting aside $691,000 for the design of the project, SLOCOG and Caltrans could decide to move forward without county support.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Driver error….

I have been driving Highway 227 ever since it was a narrow 2 lane road with a grade crossing at the RR tracks, and no stop sign at the equally narrow, 2 lane Tank Farm Road (which had stop signs). When the current configuration was constructed, many, many years ago, Highway 227 was supposed to be constructed with 4 lanes clear to the country club. That is why the fences on the west side of the highway between the airport and country club are so far from the road. Caltrans purchased right-of-way for 4 lanes all the way to the country club. At the time, the excuse for stopping the 4 lanes at the airport was that they “ran out of money” (probably due to their own errors and ineptitude). The cost of the 4 lanes to the country club back then would have now appear to be almost nothing compared to what it will cost today. However, if it is true that the major portion of the cost of highways is the right-of-way acquisition, then the cost of 4 lanes to the country club should be somewhat less than it would usually be.

I think a much better solution would be to put in the originally planned 4 lanes to the country club. Do not allow left turns at Los Ranchos Road or Buckley Road. Create right turn merging lanes from each to 227, and right turn exit lanes to each from 227. Create a left turn/U turn lane for north bound traffic at the airport and for south bound traffic at the country club. This would essentially be a very long, narrow roundabout with plenty of distance to merge into whichever lane you need (instead of just 1/4 of a circle), and no cross traffic. It’s a little bit of a drive to turn left, but not as long as the current wait for traffic to clear. And… I suspect the state already owns most or all of the right-of-way.

Accidents at traffic lights? T-Bones.

Accidents in a roundabout? Side swipes.

One you walk away from, while the other requires jaws of life.

Accidents at roundabouts are mostly rear end, slower speed collisions, so yes, much less severe and many people walk away from.

Aren’t most roundabouts on roads with a speed limits of 35 or below. What about on roads with a 55 mph speed limit?

You need to get out more. Try a drive on 154, then come back to the conversation.

Roundabouts do not work well with significant traffic flowing through favoring north or south, be a bear to get into the loop from the side access points in my opinion. Would be required to yield to get in and then someone would be required to yield to you if you’re turning left. The flow is endless during the morning and evening.

You are exactly correct D-Bob. Can you imagine pushing the Highway 227 rush hour traffic through the roundabout at the intersection of Tank Farm Road and Righetti Ranch Road or anything even remotely resembling it? In the PM, any traffic from the cross streets would never get into the roundabout. All the roundabout would do is slow the Highway 227 traffic to the point that there would never be a break in traffic.

Roundabouts are proven to keep traffic moving all over the world. They seem confusing at first but really they are much much better than stop lights/signs for funneling traffic. It’s not rocket science!

Feelings win again. I guess traffic engineers don’t know anything. They should have taken a survey of everybody’s feelings before they desiged something that will actually fix the problem. When did not knowing anything about a subject qualify you to spout your uneducated opinions based on your feelings? Where is common sense and reasoning? Your feelings don’t matter.