First Street Roundabout. Photo by Robert Eliason.
First Street Roundabout. Photo by Robert Eliason.

San Juan Bautista’s First Street roundabout is nearing completion, according to City Manager Don Reynolds. Built by The Don Chapin Company, the roundabout is intended to help regulate traffic entering and exiting the Meritage Homes Rancho Vista subdivision at Lavagnino Drive.

Quoting an April 6 status report on the project, Reynolds said the final layer of hot mix asphalt was placed on the roundabout on April 13. There is a seven-day wait for the asphalt to set before the lanes can be striped. April 20 is targeted as the final date of construction.

With the planned landscaping also completed, Reynolds said he is considering having an unveiling ceremony April 22.

The roundabout is an alternative to placing a three-way stop at the intersection and, according to Reynolds, was not considered a mechanism to keep large trucks (over 3 tons) from using First Street to enter the town, which is prohibited by local law. 

“I had heard that it was to deter trucks when I first came to the city,” Reynolds said. “The Meritage engineers told me at that time that it was too small to build so maybe there was an effort to make it small to keep trucks out or to reduce the right of way.”

One problem, Reynolds said, is that building a roundabout too small for large trucks to use creates a new set of problems.

“If you have a moving van, for example, they would not be able to get into town that way,” he said. “And if a truck did get to the roundabout and was unable to pass through, there would be no way for it to turn around. I don’t know any engineer who would put their stamp on plans for one that is too small for a truck.”

Reynolds said that there have been discussions with San Juan Bautista City Council members about reducing truck traffic in the city and there are some actions currently being taken.

“I have been in touch with Public Works about better signage,” he said. “And I have been in contact with Earthbound Farms and True Leaf about their delivery trucks not coming into town. So we have been working to cut down on the trucks, which the roundabout is not going to do by itself. Having said that, I think if a truck driver came through that roundabout once, they would not come that way twice.”


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