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  1. #1
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Roundabouts Make Inroads in US


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    Grillparzer Grillparzer's Avatar
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    I'm all in favor of traffic calming measures, but as a bicyclist I'm not fond of roundabouts and try to avoid them when possible. Drivers look left as they enter and don't check what's in front of them when they pull forward. I came very close to being a hood ornament two months ago and only my propensity for screaming frightfully loud obscenities when scared saved me.
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    I love em. There are several here, including two on a high traffic four lane state highway. Reports seem to indicate that traffic is flowing much smoother than when those intersections were stoplights, but there hasn't been an official traffic count done since they finished them, so it isn't known if they are handling the same amount of traffic as before. The article is spot on about opposition to the things. Every time the city unveils plans for a new one, everyone predicts chaos, mayhem and death. I haven't had any trouble with them on my bike. For me, riding through them is fun. Just have to be sure to keep to the left until you need out.

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    Roundabouts are ok as long as drivers (that includes bike drivers) know how to navigate them. There's too many stories of people going the wrong way in a roundabout. Also, proper signaling in a roundabout needs to be taught in driving school. Nobody around here signals, and if they do it is not proper signaling.

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    I've never had trouble with them, but I have seen some ridiculous driving around them.

    Hahaha about the opposition. They wanted to build a new one near here, and a bunch of old people who lived nearby got it killed by claiming it would "be too hard for senior drivers to figure out how to navigate". My thought at the time was, "if you're too dumb to be able to use a roundabout, perhaps it's time to hang up the keys".

  6. #6
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    One lane roundabouts are fine, the two lanes ones still need a lot of work IMHO.
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  7. #7
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    There are two notable (bad) examples here in Fort Worth. The thing that makes them bad is that they are *not* set up where you're supposed to yield to traffic already in the circle. Instead, priority is given to the major traffic flow directions (for instance, at one of them, traffic on the circle must yield to traffic entering the circle from the north and south).

    They re-did a six-way intersection recently. The original plan called for a traffic circle, but they backed away from that and have a normal light-controlled intersection that is very confusing (which lane should I be in to turn "kind of" left?) and takes forever to cycle.

    When I've traveled to England, I enjoyed the roundabouts. I can't imagine them working in the U.S. though- drivers are too st00pid to begin with, and now they're always texting and stuff.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillparzer View Post
    I'm all in favor of traffic calming measures, but as a bicyclist I'm not fond of roundabouts and try to avoid them when possible. Drivers look left as they enter and don't check what's in front of them when they pull forward. I came very close to being a hood ornament two months ago and only my propensity for screaming frightfully loud obscenities when scared saved me.
    The small ones don't seem to have that problem. I've cleared the intersection before they can accelerate into me.

    I really like the small ones, as opposed to what would be a 4 way stop.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    There are two notable (bad) examples here in Fort Worth. The thing that makes them bad is that they are *not* set up where you're supposed to yield to traffic already in the circle. Instead, priority is given to the major traffic flow directions (for instance, at one of them, traffic on the circle must yield to traffic entering the circle from the north and south).

    They re-did a six-way intersection recently. The original plan called for a traffic circle, but they backed away from that and have a normal light-controlled intersection that is very confusing (which lane should I be in to turn "kind of" left?) and takes forever to cycle.

    When I've traveled to England, I enjoyed the roundabouts. I can't imagine them working in the U.S. though- drivers are too st00pid to begin with, and now they're always texting and stuff.
    The older traffic cirlce is an example of dangerous design, for all users. Modern roundabout design is leaps and bounds ahead of that. I think like anything that people will need to get used to them.

    We have a number of the mini-version in my neighborhood, and they work great. But I haven't tackled a multilane one on my bike yet.

  10. #10
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention... the multilane intersection closest to my house would be an excellent candidate for a roundabout. 18 or 20 hours a day, there is no conceivable reason to make cars stop. During rush hour, it is crowded. I think making it a signal-controlled roundabout, and leaving the signals on yellow flash for 18 hours a day would result in a big reduction in pollution and fuel consumption. (Accelerating from a dead stop is when most polution and fuel consumption occurs.)
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    There are two notable (bad) examples here in Fort Worth. The thing that makes them bad is that they are *not* set up where you're supposed to yield to traffic already in the circle. Instead, priority is given to the major traffic flow directions (for instance, at one of them, traffic on the circle must yield to traffic entering the circle from the north and south).

    They re-did a six-way intersection recently. The original plan called for a traffic circle, but they backed away from that and have a normal light-controlled intersection that is very confusing (which lane should I be in to turn "kind of" left?) and takes forever to cycle.

    When I've traveled to England, I enjoyed the roundabouts. I can't imagine them working in the U.S. though- drivers are too st00pid to begin with, and now they're always texting and stuff.
    The Weatherford traffic circle has always given me fits. You have to know where your exit is well before hand so you can squeeze your way in. On the other hand I always thought the Bluebonnet circle was cool.

  12. #12
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    I have a 2 way all directions roundabout on my commute. I've never had a problem. I find it much better than a light controlled intersection.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    City of Golden had some good success with four roundabouts down Golden Rd: http://ci.golden.co.us/files/roundaboutpaper.pdf

    So much success, they added a fifth roundabout, and have to roundabout interchanges in the works along the highway that runs by Golden.

    I don't have too many troubles riding my bicycle through them.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    We have lots of new mini-roundabounts in the Raleigh/Cary NC area. I like riding through them. My favorite ones are at low-traffic areas like residential streets where it's unlikely you'll have to wait for traffic in the roundabout, and at most you just modulate your speed on approach. Much, much better than stopping at 4-way or even 2-way stop signs.

  15. #15
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Dive into this: http://www.azdot.gov/ccpartnerships/...outs/index.asp

    Several videos and fun animations. Don't miss the menu bar across the top of the section (home, history, user guide, az examples, etc.)

    Lots of animations here: http://www.azdot.gov/ccpartnerships/...oundabouts.asp

  16. #16
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    genec genec's Avatar
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    interesting illustration. ^^^

  18. #18
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    We're starting to get some in the Rochester, NY area, with the usual whiners complaining that they could never possibly work here, people drive differently in the U.S compared to Europe, etc.

    Probably the same people who regularly blow stop signs and risk tickets, never considering the fact that they can now, in most cases, achieve the same effect legally.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    I recently read this: http://www.amazon.com/Traffic-Drive-.../dp/0307264785
    It is an *outstanding* read!
    The author *really* did his homework researching it.

    The striking things about roundabouts he brought up:
    - They move much more traffic per hour than stoplights.
    - They result in only a fraction of the injuries and fatalities of an intersection with stoplights.

    There are several roundabouts in my area.
    This only problem is the idiots who:
    - Stomp on the brakes to a complete stop right in front of me even though the circle is empty.
    - Stop and wait and refuse to go until the circle is completely empty, (which it never will be as long as there is sufficient traffic from the other 3 directions). I just go around them if there is enough space to their right.

  20. #20
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    The Weatherford traffic circle has always given me fits. You have to know where your exit is well before hand so you can squeeze your way in. On the other hand I always thought the Bluebonnet circle was cool.
    The other spot they considered a circle, the 6-way I mentiond (if you haven't guessed) is University/Camp Bowie/7th/Bailley. Bluebonnet is fine only because the traffic volume is light. But becuase it is light, there is no reason for traffic entering the circle from University should have right of way over traffic already on the circle. Makes no sense.

    The right way to do the Weatherford Circle is to give traffic on the circle already priority, except during rush hour where it should be controlled by traffic lights. I've seen this in England and it works rather well.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  21. #21
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    This only problem is the idiots who:
    - Stomp on the brakes to a complete stop right in front of me even though the circle is empty.
    - Stop and wait and refuse to go until the circle is completely empty, (which it never will be as long as there is sufficient traffic from the other 3 directions). I just go around them if there is enough space to their right.
    This is one of the problems when they re-did the circle in Waco, TX. DOT "Made it clearer" by marking white lines and stops signs every where instead of keeping it simple, "signal and yield to traffic in the circle" After it was cleaned up it was a lot harder to navigate and I had more close calls afterward.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    The one in town is called the "suicide circle" - 5 streets intersect into a 2 lane roundabout with stop signs.

  23. #23
    zac
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    So figuring this is something new, I click the link, and am surprised to find the classic New England Rotary. These are as old as the hills in this neck of he woods, and are as common as a stop sign.

    Am I missing something, or are these structures just not that common in other parts of the US?

  24. #24
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zac View Post
    So figuring this is something new, I click the link, and am surprised to find the classic New England Rotary. These are as old as the hills in this neck of he woods, and are as common as a stop sign.

    Am I missing something, or are these structures just not that common in other parts of the US?
    Most of the new roundabouts are very much smaller than a New England rotary (I grew up in NE). The "mini roundabouts" are designed with such tight turnin radii that drivers cannot really exceed about 15-20 mph in the roundabout, and typically travel more slowly than that out of caution. A cyclist can easily match the speed of most other traffic in most of these roundabouts. The smallest, slowest ones are used on low-volume residential streets. Somewhat larger ones are used on arterials where there is a desire to reduce speeds and crashes while preserving decent throughput.

    By comparison, many NE roundabouts allow speeds in excess of 30 mph, sometimes much faster, depending on the size.

  25. #25
    Senior Member fredgarvin7's Avatar
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    The one 50 YARDS from my street is a NIGHTMARE! Here in NJ the vehicle ENTERING has the ROW! This one is a beaut. Wide enough for 2 lanes, but they are UNMARKED so people drift over as they please. And to top it OFF, there is a gas station in the center with TWO filling areas and the cheapest gas in town! Death to the Department of Transportation, highway "engineers", and the Zoning Board!!!!!!

    To avoid it on my comute or almost ANY ride, I must travel an extra MILE on a hill!

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