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Stop Lights or Roundabouts ?

Old 10-23-17, 01:25 PM
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CrankyOne
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Stop Lights or Roundabouts ?

Ramsey County MN are planning to replace a segment that currently includes 4 stop light junctions at an interchange with 3 multi-lane roundabouts. Many people ride through this segment daily (mostly going between Owasso Blvd and Vadnais Blvd) for commuting and club/team rides.

Today it is far from ideal but generally works well. Those who are comfortable taking the lane can do so and feel relatively safe going through. This segment is posted at 45 mph and the stop lights keep most people somewhat below that though someone going 55-60 when all lights are green isn't unusual. The biggest dangers are people exiting the interstate and making a high speed right on red without stopping.

The planned roundabouts raise a lot of questions about how safe this will be for bicycle riders. There are two options; take the lane through the roundabouts or use a shared-use-path along the east side. Even the traffic engineers who designed this said that people may sometimes have to wait up to 30 minutes to cross safely on the path.

Would you prefer the current road with stop lights? Riding through the roundabouts? Riding on the SUP? Different response for a team/club ride of numerous people?

Current: https://www.google.com/maps/@45.0450.../data=!3m1!1e3

Proposed: Analysis and Design of the Rice Street/I-694 Interchange | SEH®

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Old 10-23-17, 01:46 PM
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I'd prefer this be moved to A&S. Would be a great show.
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Old 10-23-17, 01:49 PM
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They recently changed a few stoplights by me to roundabouts. I prefer the roundabouts.
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Old 10-23-17, 02:02 PM
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meanwhile ... Massachusetts is going to eliminate most rotaries replacing them with the roundabout method ... by ... painting stripes on the ground. yeah, that will work ...
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Old 10-23-17, 02:10 PM
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Roundabouts are great...except when most people using them here don't know the rules for using them.
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Old 10-23-17, 02:24 PM
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Here , small town a T intersection was replaced by a round about and traffic flows so much better
so the people wanting to turn left, stop sign , not a timed light..
to go west on the through route are not backed up and waiting for a hole in the traffic, it just keeps flowing..

for cyclists there is a safety island, between the east and west bound dual lanes in each direction, so there is a place to wait safely
at the zebra crossing for the traffic to stop and let you cross..

Western Oregon drivers are a fairly courteous lot by and large, + it's in the ODOT vehicle code, to stop for people in crosswalks.










....

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-23-17 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 10-23-17, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Roundabouts are great...except when most people using them here don't know the rules for using them.
Exactly.

We took a family trip to the UK and Ireland this summer and went through many, many roundabouts. Took a bit of getting used to (especially going clockwise!), but when you get the hang of it, it's very safe and efficient.
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Old 10-23-17, 02:36 PM
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I've become a big fan of roundabouts, especially when the radius is smallish, and the entries aren't very sweeping.

The need to maneuver the S-bends tends to slow drivers, plus the sight lines tend to be better.

In Cozumel, they put speed bumps just before the entries, so traffic within the intersection is all cars starting from 5mph or so.
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Old 10-23-17, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Here , small town a T intersection was replaced by a round about and traffic flows so much better
so the people wanting to turn left, stop sign , not a timed light..
to go west on the through route are not backed up and waiting for a hole in the traffic, it just keeps flowing..

for cyclists there is a safety island, between the east and west bound dual lanes in each direction, so there is a place to wait safely
at the zebra crossing for the traffic to stop and let you cross..

Western Oregon drivers are a fairly courteous lot by and large, + it's in the ODOT vehicle code, to stop for people in crosswalks.










....

We have quite a few intersections in the Sacramento area that I think would benefit from roundaboutization, including a T intersection near my house. It already has separated turn lanes that could be built into the circle.
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Old 10-23-17, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Roundabouts are great...except when most people using them here don't know the rules for using them.

+2. I was cycling in Italy a few years back with a group of people. There was a roundabout we had to go through on certain rides. Early in the trip a couple of people in the group didn't follow the rules even though they knew them and nearly got creamed. They wised up after that.
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Old 10-23-17, 02:45 PM
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As a motorist, I prefer roundabouts over stoplights. As a cyclist, I only prefer roundabouts when traffic is light on them.
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Old 10-23-17, 03:29 PM
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Raising the roundabout while creating an underpass for pedestrians would solve the safety factor for most of it... IF the crime in those areas are none existent now? Otherwise, it would likely harbor hobo's as well as encourage a safe-place for criminal activist.
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Old 10-23-17, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post
As a cyclist, I only prefer roundabouts when traffic is light on them.
Defeats the purpose of a roundabout being put in place.
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Old 10-23-17, 03:44 PM
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why should a roundabout only be used in heavy traffic situations? Just think about all the hours you have wasted sitting at traffic lights when there is no other traffic.

I generally like roundabouts, but they give some people road rage when there is a cyclists in them.
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Old 10-23-17, 04:49 PM
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Inductive detector looping under the pavement has obsolete time delayed traffic signals.
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Old 10-23-17, 05:46 PM
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For those saying that they like cycling through roundabouts, does that include multi-lane roundabouts like these?
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Old 10-23-17, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
for cyclists there is a safety island, between the east and west bound dual lanes in each direction, so there is a place to wait safely at the zebra crossing for the traffic to stop and let you cross..
Do you have a google maps link for these?

How long do you typically have to wait for a safe gap to cross?
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Old 10-23-17, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
Defeats the purpose of a roundabout being put in place.
Roundabouts work quite well and are extremely beneficial for lightly used junctions.
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Old 10-23-17, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
Roundabouts work quite well and are extremely beneficial for lightly used junctions.
Roundabouts are great when designed well, as in, to slooow down motor vehicle traffic. But when designed with long radius multi lane patterns as in the above pic, motor heads drive through them like F-1 champions making them even more dangerous for cycling. There's hundreds of 'em in my region. Some I avoid like plague.
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Old 10-23-17, 07:09 PM
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I cross a roundabout on my way home from work. People don't slow down at all to go through them. I'm not a big fan.
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Old 10-23-17, 07:19 PM
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We got a single-lane roundabout near my neighborhood, which replaced a somewhat dangerous intersection. It opened in late July, and I ride through it probably 10-15 times a week. My observations...

Pros:
- Slower traffic (cars max out at about 20 MPH, most travel the same speed or slower than me)
- Easier to get through intersection on bike - no more dodgy merging/left turns
- Better traffic flow - less waiting
- Slow speeds means serious injuries are less likely

Cons:
- Drivers do not signal their intentions
- Some drivers do not know how to yield when entering (my mailman got hit, in his mail truck)
- Difficult for pedestrians to cross - pedestrians are less visible, and drivers do not understand crosswalks in the roundabout

Overall, I think it's an improvement, at least on two or four wheels. (I also enjoy the Strava segment that someone made.)
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Old 10-23-17, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
For those saying that they like cycling through roundabouts, does that include multi-lane roundabouts like these?
No. Single lane roundabouts with designs that force cars to slow down to roughly 20 mph can often can be better than four-way intersections. Multi-lane roundabouts, at least in my view, are generally unsafe for cyclists. Drivers on the inside lane sometimes race other drivers or cyclists in the outside lane and then right-hook them when they need to exit. Cyclists don't fare well in such situations.
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Old 10-23-17, 11:39 PM
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I mostly worry about drivers who don't understand roundabouts, or even what a roundabout is.

A popular pastime in Fort Worth Facebook memory groups is to whine about progress. A popular target for ire is any sort of publicly visible art that isn't shaped like a horse, cowboy, panther or race car. The recent target is the Wind Roundabout, a bit of kinetic sculpture that moves with the breeze and makes sounds.

Aesthetics aside, a common complaint was that the sculpture is a distracting eyesore and dangerous for drivers trying to negotiate the roundabout.

First of all, it isn't a roundabout. It's just an island that briefly divides a busy boulevard. It was already curved there. The city just widened the curve and added an island where the sculpture is installed.

Second, it's hardly an eyesore, even if it does resemble an oversized wastebasket. It's in one of the ugliest, dumpiest parts of town, traditionally home to pawn shops, no-tell motels, convenience and liquor stores and repair shops. If anything the sculpture perfectly suits the area.

Third, if drivers are that easily distracted by a giant trashcan parked in an island -- not a roundabout -- in the trashcan part of town, they probably shouldn't be driving until they've had remedial get-the-hell-over-it driving courses.

Some photos of the map and terrifying gigantic wastebasket/UFO antenna array on the not-a-roundabout...
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Old 10-23-17, 11:55 PM
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Two lane roundabouts are fine on low volume two lane streets.

Here in Lincoln they put in a 4 lane roundabout at a heavy volume intersection, and had crashes most every day. They put is blind fencing that slowed traffic to a crawl. It was a huge fiasco.
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Old 10-24-17, 06:20 AM
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How are they going to clear snow from the pic the op posted?
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