Thursday, February 23, 2006

Roundabouts: Good or Bad?

(Yeah, I know the traffic is going backwards, it's the only gif I could find.)

A Roundabout is a traffic circle that replaces an intersection. They are popular in Europe, which should be enough to make me question their value.

I don't remember hearing anything positive about them from friends who had them installed in their neighborhoods. I think their complaint was that when trucks got in the middle, they had trouble getting out safely. Here in I-Dee-Ho, we have trucks pulling 2 and 3 trailers.
Not to mention ungainly farm equipment.

How about all you Big-City-Folks telling us what you think.

"...There are no traffic signals and entering traffic yields to circulating traffic, which always keeps moving. A study by the Institute for Highway Safety indicates roundabouts reduce crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stops signs and signals were previously used..."

KBCI 2 Boise, Idaho

Here's the Wiki entry.

My reasons for avoiding these.
Thanks Cap'n Bob.
I tried to comment on your blog but Word Press wouldn't let me, (even after I signed in). Go figure.

What's the deal with that Long Beach outer traffic circle? Are there stop signs where it crosses the main roads? ... underpasses?
Looks hard to merge.
And you do realize that the graphic in your post is a Euroweenie traffic circle. They're all on the wrong side of the road. :)

I can see their benefit but I think it would difficult to deal with on any street that had more than two lanes. And there are many roads here (not freeways) that are more than two lanes.
RG - I don't know what might have happened - I didn't see any sign of you in the login database. Weird.

Anyhow, the outer circle has both boulevard stop signs and some traffic lights. As I said, even though I was born a mile from there (over sixty years ago), we seldom venture through there. I remember it always being there, even though the area has changed a lot.
I live in NJ which is eliminating traffic circles. My town eliminated ours several decades ago after a pedestrian in the park in the center was killed by a truck that thought it was an intersection instead of a circle.

I think traffic circles are obsolete. The ones that I know of that remain use traffic lights to meter access to the circles.
We've got a few in our neighborhood and I love them. Safer, faster and less hassle than a light, and they do a better job of responding to varying traffic flows at different times of day. You just have to watch out for drivers who aren't used to them. I've negotiated roundabouts in England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand, where everyone is used to them, and think its a great system.
We've got a few out here in the Summerlin area of Vegas. Once you get used to negotiating them they're kinda neat.
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