Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:11 pm

Petty Tyrant
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:11 pm linkquote
For many of us 'merkins who have ridden scooters in Europe, roundabouts are a bit of a revelation. They also take a little bit of getting used to, at least for those of us who lack everyday exposure to them.

This video delves into some of the reasons why the US might be roundabout-averse. One of the reasons is the early invention of the Traffic Circle in the US, which is similar and yet not at all the same as a modern roundabout.

Fascinating stuff.

Oh, one more interesting tidbit: Carmel, Indiana has more roundabouts than anywhere else in the United States. Hey, stickyfrog, can we get a first-hand report?
Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:22 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:22 pm linkquote
I heard the traffic Tzar of Carmel talk on NPR about the roundabouts there. Very interesting how public opinion was dead against them while the first ones were being installed, but then was absolutely for them after about a week!

What I haven't seen yet in the US are 'mini-roundabouts' - basically wherever there's a four-way stop, or T-junction with a three-way stop, you paint an 18" diameter white spot in the middle - and that's then the centre of a new roundabout. Everyone takes turns (give way to the right in the UK, to the left in the US just like a normal roundabout) and traffic flows very smoothly with hardly anyone actually having to come to a stop. They also help over-size vehicles traverse the junction, as there's no solid island in the middle.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:25 pm

Petty Tyrant
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:25 pm linkquote
jimc wrote:
What I haven't seen yet in the US are 'mini-roundabouts' - basically wherever there's a four-way stop, or T-junction with a three-way stop, you paint an 18" diameter white spot in the middle - and that's then the centre of a new roundabout. Everyone takes turns (give way to the right in the UK, to the left in the US just like a normal roundabout) and traffic flows very smoothly with hardly anyone actually having to come to a stop. They also help over-size vehicles traverse the junction, as there's no solid island in the middle.
In the US, this would undoubtedly include stop signs at all four entries. Because otherwise, chaos would reign. Or something.

After all, if there's no stop sign, you can just go through at full speed, right? RIGHT?!?
Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:29 pm

Veni, Vidi, Posti
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:29 pm linkquote
One kilometer from my house:



Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:34 pm

Petty Tyrant
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:34 pm linkquote
Attila wrote:
One kilometer from my house:
Oh dear. There's a "Wild West" restaurant near there. Looks like some vague interpretation of "American" food, whatever that is.

https://goo.gl/maps/zU8nJaJxDmjuHvm97
Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:39 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:39 pm linkquote
And then there are the 'magic roundabouts'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Roundabout_(Swindon)



Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:46 pm

Petty Tyrant
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:46 pm linkquote
jimc wrote:
And then there are the 'magic roundabouts'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Roundabout_(Swindon)
Tom Scott, our man on the street, with a field report:

Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:46 pm

Hooked
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:46 pm linkquote
In my area, mini-roundabouts often involve contrarians who enter in the wrong direction. Quite unnerving.
I still prefer them to 4-way stops.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:12 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:12 pm linkquote
jess wrote:
In the US, this would undoubtedly include stop signs at all four entries. Because otherwise, chaos would reign. Or something.

After all, if there's no stop sign, you can just go through at full speed, right? RIGHT?!?
Heh. Though 'Yield' or 'Give Way' signs should be understandable, Shirley?

I remember Al trying to give a talk on roundabouts on the 2010 Bella Italia trip. He made it sound quite complicated, when it's really oh so simple!
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:34 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:34 pm linkquote
Interestingly enough, a lot of CONUS US Air Force bases I've either been stationed at, or temporarily assigned to, have at least one large diameter traffic circle somewhere between the main gate and the flight line.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:39 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:39 pm linkquote
Growing up in Mass we had Rotaries (aka big-ass roundabouts) that acted as on/off ramps for the interstate sized Route 2 that ran roughly from Boston to nearly the New York border.

Growing up, the off ramp had right-of-way in the rotary, which was fun. You (read:I) could storm off Rt2 onto the rotary and see if you could make the turn left to S Gardner, my home town. It's changed now, so the rotary has right-of-way, so the fun is gone now.

These roundabouts are less fun than my home town.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:39 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:39 pm linkquote
So instead of someone running a stop and pulling out in front of you, now they can fail to yield and pull out in front of you?
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:50 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:50 pm linkquote
Take a stroll, er, ride, in New Jersey. If you survive, you are good to go in the rest of the US. Don't forget the jug handles, for practice! Full disclosure, I do not live in NJ. Though, I do access roundabouts and traffic circles in various parts of NE Ohio. Great places to take Driver's Ed students. For practice.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:50 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:50 pm linkquote
When the state of Arizona was rebuilding AZ179, which runs from I-17 to Sedona, AZ, the state decided to replace all traffic lights with roundabouts. The idea, they posted, was to keep traffic moving, but at a lower speed.

It's 8.7 miles from the Village of Oak Creek, a settlement outside Sedona, to Sedona. The state installed 11 roundabouts. It takes nearly an hour to travel that 8.7 miles on weekends now. Locals that aren't cursed by living on the route take other ways to Sedona, or don't go at all.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:57 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:57 pm linkquote
On the highway en route to Wickenberg Arizona from the west they've installed several roundabouts. What was immediately evident to me was that they prevent anyone from blowing through the intersections at full speed and causing horrendous collisions.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:04 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:04 pm linkquote
mpfrank wrote:
On the highway en route to Wickenberg Arizona from the west they've installed several roundabouts. What was immediately evident to me was that they prevent anyone from blowing through the intersections at full speed and causing horrendous collisions.
Those roundabouts and the roads they connect to also route Sunday traffic from 'Vegas away from downtown Wickenberg. Traffic used to run into a stop sign downtown. Sunday traffic was brutal.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:09 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:09 pm linkquote
After a major earthquake several years ago, Olympia, WA had to reconstruct a number of boulevards and bridges. They took advantage of the situation by installing a number of roundabouts. They have worked out fine and most everybody likes them. We have a couple in Oregon City, but they take up more room than a 4-way intersection and are hard to retrofit. No one has tried the mini-roundabouts around here.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:12 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:12 pm linkquote
Syd wrote:
It's 8.7 miles from the Village of Oak Creek, a settlement outside Sedona, to Sedona. The state installed 11 roundabouts. It takes nearly an hour to travel that 8.7 miles on weekends now. Locals that aren't cursed by living on the route take other ways to Sedona, or don't go at all.
Are they roundabouts or traffic circles?
Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:25 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:25 pm linkquote
roundabouts are normal. (except that Magic Roundabout)

try a Hook Turn for weirdness

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook_turn


Hook Turn

Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:26 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:26 pm linkquote
8.7 mph? That's about the same as inner London (UK). Watch out for Sedona instituting a congestion charge...
Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:28 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:28 pm linkquote
They've become 'trendy' in the suburbs around the twin cities. I'm guessing the Gubment subsidized a bunch of them the past 5 years. The suburbs are competing to see who can get more. Unfortunately they've replaced perfectly reasonable intersections and we now have many opportunities for some putz to either stop as they enter or try to run you out of the circle.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:07 pm

Moderatrice Strega
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:07 pm linkquote
There are several roundabouts not too far from me, and the number slowly increases. I'm not a fan, because I can see that most of the other drivers spend most of their time in them in a state of mini-panic, so they probably aren't paying attention to anyone not in a large vehicle. Though I will admit, when there's no traffic around at all, it is fun to lean a little more than necessary and roll out the other end just a little bit too fast.

I asked a local cop a while back what effect the roundabouts were actually having on traffic. He told me that while the number of accidents had increased at the converted intersections, the speed and severity of them dropped significantly. I suppose that's a reasonable trade-off.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:51 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:51 pm linkquote
Syd wrote:
When the state of Arizona was rebuilding AZ179, which runs from I-17 to Sedona, AZ, the state decided to replace all traffic lights with roundabouts. The idea, they posted, was to keep traffic moving, but at a lower speed.

It's 8.7 miles from the Village of Oak Creek, a settlement outside Sedona, to Sedona. The state installed 11 roundabouts. It takes nearly an hour to travel that 8.7 miles on weekends now. Locals that aren't cursed by living on the route take other ways to Sedona, or don't go at all.
I rode through that last time I rode a Something For Nothing. At least on an P200, it was and excuse to shift more and wring the lower gears out a bit!
Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:53 pm

Veni, Vidi, Posti
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:53 pm linkquote
jess wrote:
Oh dear. There's a "Wild West" restaurant near there. Looks like some vague interpretation of "American" food, whatever that is.

https://goo.gl/maps/zU8nJaJxDmjuHvm97
The idea that the average Italian has of an American eating style is badly suited to the Mediterranean diet we are used to. This is why imitating the uses of others is harmful to health. To clarify, in Latina and its surroundings there are 5 Mac Donalds and a Burghy.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:55 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:55 pm linkquote
jess wrote:
Are they roundabouts or traffic circles?
Jess, they're tiny, but they're roundabouts. Here's a sample:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Arrow+Dr(at+roundabout),+Sedona,+AZ+86336/@34.8478602,-111.7663361,19z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x872da6a8c471dc8b:0xc009d9c11c7b2ed5

Man, I messed that link up.


Screenshot.



Last edited by az_slynch on Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:03 pm; edited 3 times in total
Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:59 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:59 pm linkquote
Two more near my house, note the very small one on the left which serves only one street.



Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:01 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:01 pm linkquote
jess wrote:
Are they roundabouts or traffic circles?
We call them roundabouts. Traffic circles of a small-ish diameter, so small that delivery trucks run over the curbs to get around them.

Last edited by Syd on Fri Sep 24, 2021 9:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:12 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:12 pm linkquote
Here's an image. Straight ahead is Bell Rock on the horizon, left is a school Jackson brown used to have benefit concerts at. Right 7 miles is where the in-laws had a house. 10 more of these ahead and you reach what we called the Y in Sedona but is now a cross intersection.

Roundabout or traffic circle?
Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:16 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:16 pm linkquote
az_slynch, you beat me! And jimc, it's not a steady 8.7 mph, it's 10mph stop, 5mph stop, etc.
Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:29 pm

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Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:29 pm linkquote
Whereas French love them

Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:56 pm

Molto Verboso
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Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:56 pm linkquote
Access to my street is via mini-circles. They work well as one only has to yield to one side when entering the intersection in order to turn in that same direction.
We drive on the left, so to turn right at a circle, I need only focus on traffic to the right.
once in the circle, I have right of way over the traffic approaching from the left.

There is a city in the Free State province nicknamed "Circle City" as every main intersection is a traffic circle without traffic lights.
Fri Sep 24, 2021 12:03 am

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Fri Sep 24, 2021 12:03 am linkquote
Syd wrote:
Here's an image. Straight ahead is Bell Rock on the horizon, left is a school Jackson brown used to have benefit concerts at. Right 7 miles is where the in-laws had a house. 10 more of these ahead and you reach what we called the Y in Sedona but is now a cross intersection.

Roundabout or traffic circle?
The the exception of the term round it defines the form while roundabout the function ... Therefore I would call it roundabout also because, as you may have seen from my first image, there are roundabouts of oval shape.
Fri Sep 24, 2021 12:42 am

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Fri Sep 24, 2021 12:42 am linkquote
jess wrote:
After all, if there's no stop sign, you can just go through at full speed, right? RIGHT?!?
This is the point ... and the point is always the same: the self - responsibility of the driver of the vehicle towards others, the self - imposed decision - making to stop to let the other pass in the presence of signals and rules; otherwise there is no roundabout (or other) to compare.
Fri Sep 24, 2021 12:58 am

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Fri Sep 24, 2021 12:58 am linkquote
Topolino wrote:
In my area, mini-roundabouts often involve contrarians who enter in the wrong direction. Quite unnerving.
I still prefer them to 4-way stops.
The basic problem, as always, is first to know the driving rules and then to respect them.
I'll give you an example .... when you turn left at the center of a traffic light there are still many drivers who, instead of leaving you on their right, cross you. And they pissed off with me!
Fri Sep 24, 2021 4:30 am

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Fri Sep 24, 2021 4:30 am linkquote
I had the chance to ask a Ph.D. traffic engineer whether roundabouts were more efficient that stoplights. He said unequivocally yes, the traffic flows much more efficiently with roundabouts.

He said our perception is that roundabouts are less efficient because as drivers, we have more cognitive load (our brains have to be busier) when traversing roundabouts, whereas with stoplights we can relax and disengage.
Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:10 am

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Fri Sep 24, 2021 5:10 am linkquote
shc wrote:
I had the chance to ask a Ph.D. traffic engineer whether roundabouts were more efficient that stoplights. He said unequivocally yes, the traffic flows much more efficiently with roundabouts.

He said our perception is that roundabouts are less efficient because as drivers, we have more cognitive load (our brains have to be busier) when traversing roundabouts, whereas with stoplights we can relax and disengage.
Absolutely true but only if the traffic lights are strictly respected ... But for human nature roundabouts are better, they make you think and train your mind to be prudent.
Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:12 am

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Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:12 am linkquote
steelbytes wrote:
roundabouts are normal. (except that Magic Roundabout)

try a Hook Turn for weirdness

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook_turn
First time i saw one of those hook turns in Melbourne I just stood there trying to wrap my head around it. Thankfully I had a chance to come to grips with them as a pedestrian before we rented scoots to take a trip up the Great Ocean Road. Had the scoots for a couple of days and there were several of those hook turns in the area around the apartment hotel we were staying at. I did love the middle of the street dedicated bike parking in front of the hotel though. One of these days we'll get back to Melbourne assuming travel ever returns to something approaching normal again.

There has been as along as I can remember a round about coming into Breckenridge on Hwy 9 from I-70. Problem is that not only is it a pretty small diameter but it is sloped wrong. While not so bad in a car on a bike it just feels damned weird as it wants to sling you out instead of around. Get behind a delivery truck and you better take your foot off the gas or you'll run up its back as they creep around. Fortunately most of the truckers know to take the other route through town that doesn't have the tiny circle. The new circle they've installed on the other route is a decent size and properly sized for the traffic it gets. Two intersections on 9 have been replaced in the last few years with roundabouts. I'm not really sure the one closest to the interstate is an improvement in traffic flow but the one in the middle of the town's commercial route is for everyone except pedestrians.
Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:24 am

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Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:24 am linkquote
Syd wrote:
We call them roundabouts. Traffic circles of a small-ish diameter, so small that deliver trucks run over the curbs to get around them.
What do you reckon went wrong with them? Why do they seem to be so inefficient in this case? Roundabouts (not traffic circles) are generally considered fairly efficient.
Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:27 am

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2020 Piaggio Liberty S 150, 2016 Vespa GTV300ie
Joined: 02 Mar 2021
Posts: 74
Location: USA
Fri Sep 24, 2021 6:27 am linkquote
Roundabouts are becoming more popular in my area of central PA. I LOVE them-- no more waiting at lights! They seem to like putting them at what were previously dangerous intersections, with poor visibility, etc. HUGE improvement!
Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:22 am

Addicted
2007 GT200, 2008 Yamaha C3
Joined: 27 Jul 2012
Posts: 762
Location: Denver
 
Addicted
2007 GT200, 2008 Yamaha C3
Joined: 27 Jul 2012
Posts: 762
Location: Denver
Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:22 am linkquote
For the same reason the US and two other 3rd world countries are the sole survivors not using the Metric System. In my part of Metro Denver, there are a handful of roundabouts with stop signs on each corner. I really don't understand the point of this.
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