Home > Visual Stimulus > Closest thing to 14th & Division that I could find…with a roundabout

Closest thing to 14th & Division that I could find…with a roundabout

Last night’s Division St. Initiative presentation included initial recommendations for 5 roundabouts along the corridor. I’ll have a longer piece on the idea and other feedback from the presentation later today. But, it’s apparent from some of the comments on TC Chamber’s Facebook page, that there is not a lot of experience with this proven traffic calming device.

We need to see it.

Here is a two-lane roundabout that looks very similar to 14th and Division St.

Photos via WSDOT's flickr site

This is in the city of Bellingham, WA along Cordata Parkway. The city has two 2-lane roundabouts. (UPDATE: Just noticed that right next to one of their roundabouts is where their driver’s license examination office is located-perfect!)

Again, I’ll have more of an update later. In the meantime…a little simulation.

Initial responses? Do you have any experience using roundabouts?

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  1. March 18, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Gary, I love roundabouts! I drive them a lot in foreign places. They are what I call “traffic pumps”. If you know how a rotating water pump works, the water flows in, rotates one way and comes out. No stopping, (or rarely). Where I drive a lot, a city of 5 million people has one traffic light left. It’s all roundabouts at major intersections. They simply work! Like a wheel rolls. However they do take up more land than a signalized intersection. I cannot imagine one at Seventh and Division…there’s just not enough room. Many eastern states have loads of them, same with the UK, they’ve been there before there were cars. It’s a shame so many lousy drivers shot down the plan for one at Eighth and Woodmere. It would be an easier sell on Division now. The naysayers are simply afraid of their driving skills, that’s why they will shout roundabouts down. Take away their licenses if they cannot drive! No more “shotgun” roads and “bullet” drivers! (I’m convinced Michigan drivers are the least skilled I’ve ever encountered. Hang up and drive!)

  2. Jennifer
    March 18, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I really like the use of roundabouts in and around Sedona, AZ. Locals shared that they “took some getting used to” but have definitely made the roads more safe for all users. Sedona is also a tourist destination and the roundabouts are used on the main (and very heavily used) roads into town. Hasn’t deterred folks from going to Sedona. Here are two links that I think are interesting:
    http://www.how2educate.com/uploads/SR179FinalSim_Y.pdf
    http://www.scenic179.com/projectoverview/projectmap.cfm

  3. March 18, 2010 at 8:45 am

    I added this little simulation to the above post. And, there are several nice simulations on youtube.
    • A simulation of roundabouts in Wisconsin that puts the viewer in the driver’s seat.
    • There are also several videos like this PSA type “how to use roundabouts” video from Ohio, where an officer proclaims, “roundabouts are part of the solution”. (Come on, he’s in uniform. Trust him.)

  4. March 18, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Many people believe that roundabouts are a communist invention, but actually it’s traffic lights that are – free the people you Stalinist traffic overlords at the Ministry of Direction of Traffic (MDOT).

  5. March 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

    The one thing I’m still not clear on is how pedestrians safely cross the road. I don’t want lights, love the roundabouts, just want to lose the life or death factor crossing the street!

  6. Fred Schaafsma
    March 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Gary
    Roundabouts are common in Europe as previously mentioned. I grew up in The Netherlands so I was used to cycling to school and everywhere else, including vacation. Roundabouts are easy to use. They even have them on expressways, including in Germany. It takes a little getting used to for those who have not used them before but you’ll find them much better with smoother traffic flow than roads interrupted by stop signs and stop lights. There are quite a few roundabouts now in Mich. Exit 151 off I-75 (near Bay City/Saginaw), Exit 58 off US-23 (near Brighton.
    Years from now we’ll wonder why we didn’t do roundabouts in our region sooner.
    Fred

  7. Ross Richardson
    March 23, 2010 at 11:04 am

    While browsing the MDOT website, of all things, I found a link to a website called “Roundabouts USA full of pictures, newspaper articles, controversies, etc. Very useful information as TC approaches this issue.

  8. March 23, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    These roundabouts are creating a stir. Why is it that some people’s concern with roundabouts outweigh the actual?

    With out anything that is a game changer, we will still be left with a high number of crashes caused at signalized intersections (14th/Div, 7th/Div, Grandview/Div are all top “crash” locations), backed up traffic during peak times (caused by signals not being able to handle high flow), current cut-through issues, and a continued unequal treatment of different sections of towns; some places are just meant to be written off to motorized traffic.

    Please, email the City & bayfrontdesign@traversecitymi.gov if you are open to Roundabouts in the city as a viable option to be explored.

  9. June Thaden
    March 25, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I’ve been a avid bike tourist,traveling solo for many months over many years with my camping gear loaded on my bicycle. I’ve ridden through many roundabouts in NZ, Australia, Ireland etc. with no problems. People pay attention to each other, yielding and merging at slower speeds. Works very well. I never felt at a greater risk, even though I was moving even slower than the rest of the traffic.

    It’s hard to understand the reaction some people have to roundabouts. I think it must be very much linked to concern & even fear of the unknown. We need to have some faith in the experience of people in other places who love their roundabouts. In time, we will too.

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