Home > Engineering Design, Guest Writer, Safety Issues > “Traverse City Should Get On With It”

“Traverse City Should Get On With It”

UPDATE 12:05pm: Due to some formatting glitches, some of the original content of this post will be posted in a follow-up and  a graphic has been moved to the bottom. Henry’s post has otherwise been left unchanged.

Guest writer: Henry Morgenstein. Roundabouts continue to get national attention while locally the debate continues. The author says, “get on with it.”

Traverse City has pondered & pondered, wondered & wondered — said yes, said no, gone on & on. About what? About roundabouts.

What’s a roundabout? A traffic circle, a rotary. You know those things that are all over Europe — and we Americans hate them. When do we get on this spinning carousel? How & where do we get off? We have a tendency to go round & round, as if on a merry-go-round. We Americans hate roundabouts, rotaries, traffic circles. At this point the City of Traverse City is not about to build any roundabouts.

And yet, the city of Carmel, Indiana built sixty of these things since 2001. Sixty roundabouts in 9 years. Why did Carmel, Indiana, which was one of the first cities in America to build traffic lights — and they are now in the process of tearing down many traffic lights in Carmel, Indianawhy did they build so many roundabouts?(PDF)

How About This?

In revamped intersections there has been an eighty per cent drop in crashes involving injuries.

Did you hear that? An 80% drop — and those last four words are very significant — in crashes involving injuries. Not fender benders, but those kind of crashes where somebody gets hurt. What was the percentage drop in such crashes? Eighty per cent. Wow! A 30% or 50% drop would be significant. But this is much more significant: this is an eighty per cent drop in crashes involving injuries. Again, Wow!

And here is the second statistic — and all this is from a short article in Newsweek magazine, October 11, 2010, written by Tom Vanderbuilt: “Roundabouts can reduce fatal accidents by as much as 90%.” We thought an 80% drop was significant. What about a 90% drop? “Reduce fatal accidents by as much as 90%.”

Move Forward Traverse City

I should stop repeating myself, yelling figures at you — and Traverse City should get on with it now. If not sixty, we should build at least forty roundabouts in the next ten years. My reasons are simple, I want to live in, and I want friends & family to visit, a city that has reduced car-related injuries by 80 per cent and car-related deaths by 90 per cent.

Simple.

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