Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crossing the Harlow road round-about -- Don't walk, RUN!

Register Guard

If you think that driving round that roundabout at Hayden Bridge and Pioneer Park way, try walking across it, and despite the fact that it is a law that vehicles must stop for pedestrians entering the street, some people are finding it very difficult.
Now, Dennis Shine, 75,a retired community college professor and fellow members of the county Senior and Disabled Services Committee are calling on the city to do something to make the roundabout safe and accessible for all cyclists and pedestrians, especially those with limited mobility.

“Our job is to point out to them that this is a serious situation and a possible violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” which requires that public facilities be available to everyone, Shine said. “What you saw today is a serious threat.”

Roundabouts were designed for cars, and so far no pedestrians or cyclist have been hurt trying to cross the street. However, Shine says it’s only a matter of time.
Roundabouts are designed with cars in mind, to accommodate a smooth flow of vehicle traffic — adding stops defeats their purpose, said City Councilor Christine Lundberg, .

“We can be very creative at the city, but this is going to be a very tough one to figure out how to deal with,” she said.

The problems for pedestrians at roundabouts are twofold, said Lundberg, who has often voiced concern and criticism about their use.

“One, you’re assuming that pedestrians have the ability to gauge traffic, and two, that they are going to pick moments when that traffic is not flowing,” which in a roundabout isn’t often, she said. “Traffic doesn’t see you.

One suggestion would be to add pedestrian-activated lights to the roundabout signaling cars to stop, this would require eight lights at about $100,000 to $150,000.

The whole idea of a "well constructed" roundabout is to maintain the "study flow of traffic" through an intersection.

adding a traffic light would not only defeat the purpose the of roundabout, but make it more dangerous because cars have a lot of things that they have to focus on to "safely" navigate through the intersection.

Personally, I have always thought that this roundabout was a really bad idea, because it is too small to handle the amount of traffic that is being fed in to it.

Roundabouts work in other countries because they are larger in size, and people are used to driving through them.

oh, then there is that little detail of how is the EmX going to get through the roundabout. are they going to add another special lane or a traffic control device to stop traffic, again defeating the main idea of a roundabout?

Another interesting fact from The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety..
16 | What types of intersections may not be good candidates for roundabouts?

Roundabouts are not appropriate everywhere. Intersections that may not be good candidates include those with topographic or site constraints that limit the ability to provide appropriate geometry, those with highly unbalanced traffic flows (that is, very high traffic volumes on the main street and very light traffic on the side street), and isolated intersections in a network of traffic signals.

Let's do it right, return it to a traffic light controlled intersection and get away from these dumb trends of roundabouts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, Councilor Lundberg and the late John Woodrow voted against the roundabout in the first place. I also remember the Mayor absolutely opposed as well. I believe it turns out that they were right.

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