Plan for roundabouts in Templeton scrapped after residents object

A Main Street-Highway 101 interchange roundabout option presented to Templeton residents.
A Main Street-Highway 101 interchange roundabout option presented to Templeton residents.

Templeton residents on Monday rejected plans to alleviate traffic congestion near the Main Street-Highway 101 interchange by installing roundabouts.

Caltrans and the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Works proposed multiple $10 million to $16.5 million plans involving interchange roundabouts to a crowd of more than 100 people. Most proposals involved putting a roundabout on the west side of Highway 101 and making improvements to the east side of the interchange.

Changes are needed because increased development along Theatre and Ramada drives in Paso Robles — which can be accessed using Main Street — has caused traffic backups, especially on the northbound off-ramp, said Dave Flynn, deputy public works director. Industrial facilities along Ramada Drive also attract large trucks to the area.

“Main Street really has not had any improvements since it was constructed in the mid-’60s,” Flynn said.

We have heard clearly from the community — roundabouts are not going to be desirable at this location.

Dave Flynn, deputy county public works director

But residents’ concerns about the roundabouts, including whether they would be safe for truck traffic, sent Caltrans and public works planners back to the drawing board, Flynn said.

“We have heard clearly from the community,” he said. “Roundabouts are not going to be desirable at this location.”

Flynn said alternative plans could involve hook-shaped on- and off-ramps that dead-end into Theatre and Ramada drives. This would require that traffic signals be installed on either side of the bridge crossing Highway 101 and that the bridge be widened to accommodate more traffic.

“Caltrans does not typically approve isolated off-ramps or hook ramps,” Flynn wrote in an email. “They feel they are both confusing to the motorist, are apt for wrong way entry of vehicles and are less accommodating to large vehicles.”

Even so, public works planners and Caltrans will consider the alternatives and hold another town hall meeting, likely in August, Flynn said. Eventually, the county Board of Supervisors will have to approve final plans and an environmental review, he said. Construction would start in 2022 at the earliest.

“We’re just looking at the alternatives that could be advanced for further study,” Flynn said.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27