Why a roundabout?

Lets make this simple.  Will we choose logic, reason, and facts OR emotion?

We need to choose from option A or option B.

Option A offers the following advantages.

  • Costs less to build
  • Costs less to maintain
  • Costs less to operate
  • Safer for automobiles
  • Safer for pedestrians
  • More efficient for traffic
  • Better fuel efficiency
  • Especially safer and skewed intersections
Option B is the way we have always done it
  • More popular with some
In this case Option A is a roundabout at 16th street and Mayowood Road.  Option B is an intersection.  The advantages are not just in theory, they have been tested and verified by engineers with access to real world data.  This decision is so simple that only a bunch of politicians could screw it up…
Once we look at some of the specifics of the area the decision becomes even clearer.  While the new intersection between Mayowood Road and 16th street will be better it still remains skewed which is an ideal location for a roundabout.  The 2 lane roundabout design is good up to about 50,000 vehicle trips per day which is more than any of us will ever see at that location.  As for times like Black Friday roundabouts are more efficient than signals because traffic backup at one light does not back up into another.  Even at stand still conditions the every other turn at a roundabout will move traffic more efficiently than signals.  These conditions are present less than 1% of the time at this location.
There is one argument that keeps coming up which is better addressed by roadway changes.  Some neighbors have expressed a belief that a signalized intersection will be better for making turns in and out of side streets between Mayowood Road and Broadway.  In reality there is a far better and more effective option to address these concerns.  The amount of actual vehicle trips that are made in this area make 16th street East of Mayowood a prime candidate for a 4 to 3 conversion.  Rather than having 2 lanes of travel each direction we create a left turn lane in the center and reduce to one lane in each direction.  This is easily done up to 18,000 vehicle trips per day and can work well beyond that.  This makes left turns in and out of adjacent properties much easier and will likely reduce accidents.  Left turns from 16th now have a lane and therefore the issues of stopping in a drive lane goes away.  Left turns from side roads are easier as sight lines are improved and cars must navigate only 1 lane and then has a safe spot to pause in the turn lane if that becomes necessary.
In addition at peak times roundabouts also serve as a U turn to eliminate the need for some left turns altogether.
One other benefit of both the roundabout and the 4 to 3 conversion is that they reduce speeding, another common complaint in the area.

2 comments

  1. If popularity really played in the process, the workforce apartments on 20th street se wouldn’t have been approved. I’ll take popularity over pandering to big construction any day.

    1. Workforce housing is always unpopular, but desperately needed. This is a good location since it is on a bus route and major arterial. Usually after the projects are complete neighbors are more accepting. We nee 10,000 workforce units so we will see them nearly everywhere in the community. I just wish the neighbors had been willing to work with the developer and get some commercial on the site.

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