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Thread: More "roundabouts", fewer intersections

  1. #1

    Default More "roundabouts", fewer intersections

    We have "roundabouts" and we need more of them just read this Insurance Institute link...

    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...newthread&f=30


    And a couple excerpts from other sources (links below):

    http://www.walkinginfo.org/pedsafe/c....cfm?CS_NUM=56

    "Of all the devices used in Seattle, traffic circles have proven to be the most effective at solving neighborhood concerns about speeding traffic and traffic accidents with a minimum of controversy. In addition, by slowing vehicle speeds, these devices make streets safer for pedestrians..."

    Results
    Between 1991 and 1994, ...The number of automobile accidents at these intersections fell 94 percent..."

    http://www.cityoflangford.ca/newsart...sp?TopicID=163

    A recent ICBC study shows that traffic circles are 80 per cent effective in reducing traffic accidents.
    Accidents in traffic circles tend to be the less severe sideswipes rather than the deadly T-bone type
    that occur at stop signs and signals. A similar study in the USA on roundabouts found a 39% reduction in vehicle accidents, a 76% reduction in injury accidents and a 90% reduction in accidents causing death or permanent incapacity. A traffic circle is really just a small roundabout.

    There are only 8 conflict points in a traffic circle compared to 32 in a four way stop condition.

    Reduced Delay: ...This is true under non-peak traffic conditions and especially evident at high traffic flows.

    Environmental Benefits:..."

  2. #2

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    I agree. I'd love to see more of them in neighbourhoods, but even possibly roundabout interchanges like this: http://www.cbrd.co.uk/reference/inte...undabout.shtml
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  3. #3

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    I disagree - I don't think they have much advantage over a 4 way stop. While they can work in certain locations, once traffic volumes reach a threshold quantity, they can result in horrible traffic jams if you for example, have traffic entering from South and West only at rush hour, mainly going East, then South will be trapped. When you add in the horrible accident rate at traffic circles in Edmonton, they aren't worth the effort.

    The biggest traffic jams I have been in, in my life (not in Edmonton), have been a result of traffic circles. They are only for low volumes (which a 4 way stop can service), or locations where there is equal quantity of traffic from all directions at all times (and there aren't many locations like that).

  4. #4
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    I'm a huge believer in traffic circles. There's two busy ones within a few blocks of our house and they effectively move traffic. Most of the accidents I see are rear enders due to someone braking to let a pedestrian cross and the car behind not paying attention.

    The key is that drivers need to know how to use them. That's often not the case.

  5. #5
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    i agree. they make it safer. they alsy reduce the need for lights and make streets and neighbourhoods prettier with well maintained and landscaped islands of green/ public art in the middle.

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    I think traffic circles are best in residential neighbourhoods, especially where there is a lot of through traffic. We need cars to use the arterial and collector roads in the city.

    Hopefully, over time, we can phase some traffic circles out, especially 107 Avenue/142 Street and 118 Avenue/St. Albert Trail. Bonnie Doon might be here to stay.

    Until then, perhaps having a sign showing "Get in the Inner Circle" or some other message to that effect to encourage proper use of traffic circles.
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  7. #7

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    I agree on the issue of backing up traffic if one side gets cut out of the action. However, I wonder what they do differently in Europe. Or do they use the best tool for the job.

    On one vacation, during off peak hours, I've drove through a real 'monster' of a roundabout near London and wondered how on earth it worked in rush hour. I think they took the concept too far in that particular instance. Maybe dogmatism (i.e applying the same solution to all problems) reigns in transportation department's everywhere.

    Regarding the 107Ave /142St circle - wouldn't a third - right hand turn "free flow" lane work? Currently, the traffic light a block to the west by the church serves to interrupt the traffic - allowing north bound 142nd street traffic the opportunity to continue on. Maybe short cycle traffic lights on all sides a block or two back, would actually work in concert - creating the best of both worlds.
    Last edited by KC; 11-11-2008 at 04:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Regarding the 107Ave /142St circle - wouldn't a third - right hand turn "free flow" lane work?
    You mean the left lane for 3/4 and 1/2 turns, the middle lane for 1/2 and 1/4 turns, and the curb side lane for 1/4 turns only?

    or

    You mean the left lane for 3/4 turns only, the middle lane for 1/2 turns only, and the curb side lane for 1/4 turns only?

  9. #9

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    Regarding the free flow lane: Either way - which ever worked best. Currently, the left lane can legally make a 1/4 turn to the right - that couldn't be allowed any more as that permission would have to be reserved for the new "middle" lane. The first option would offer some progress during rush hours assuming those in the free flow lane would be able to merge left once around the corner and down the road. It wouldn't do anything for the backed up original lanes. So, it's probably not a great solution.

    I think traffic lights / cross walk lights interrupting the flow of the dominant rush hour lane is a better solution. Before you say - "Well that's a standard intersection!" Think about this. Place some short cycle red lights situated back from the roundabout itself would only need to be operated for maybe two hours a day - during peak hours - for the other 22 hours of every day they could be left green to allow the traffic to flow efficiently and unimpeded.

    Such lights, like cross-walk lights could create the necessary breaks in traffic flow to allow the backed up perpendicular traffic flows an opportunity to proceed, be easily adjusted for duration, and may only be needed on one or two sides, etc.

    Anyway, just thinking on the fly here but it seems that this approach might be a lot cheaper (in costs and accidents) than full fledged intersections with coordinated 4 way intersection lights.


    Lux's Roundabout Interchange link is fascinating. Lately we seem to have preferred building overpasses with stop lights and left turns up on top of them, where you still have have to make a left to go right. It looks like the Roundabout Interchanges' eliminate the lights and probably for much of the day - the stop and go - replacing it with a yield and go and less risk of being t-boned.
    Last edited by KC; 11-11-2008 at 04:39 PM. Reason: Clicked on lux's link above.

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    Although there are rules about using roundabouts, a degree of courtesy from drivers is an imiportant factor. From what I see daily in Edmonton, courtesy is in pretty short supply and the lack thereof probably led to the situation that exists now in having traffic lights on some roundabouts in this city. That said, the Bonnie Doon one seems to work okay.

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    Roundabouts work great, one thing that the city could do to make them more user friendly would be to put up signs saying which exit leads to where. For example

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    Roundabouts are like any other device on the road, when people know how to use them, great, if not, they're lousy.

    As for pedestrian safety, that one isn't a given, either. I walk the cricle at the top of Groat Hill / 87th ave all the time, and I've seen lots of people just fly through the crosswalks when people are waiting to cross, and a couple times while they were crossing. Talk about "missed it by that much!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    Until then, perhaps having a sign showing "Get in the Inner Circle" or some other message to that effect to encourage proper use of traffic circles.
    From the Gov AB Basic License Drivers' Handbook (p.73)
    "Remember these safety tips:
    • Enter into the right-hand lane of a traffic circle when you intend to leave
    at the first available exit point.
    • If you are planning to proceed to the second exit or beyond, it is
    recommended that you use the left-hand lane.
    • When entering or leaving a traffic circle be aware there may be marked
    pedestrian crosswalks."

    "Safety tip" is to use the inner lane, not law.
    Traffic circles can create massive headaches when commuting during rush hour and drivers insist on using only the one lane. Defeats the purpose of this free-flow traffic instrument.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by incubo nero View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    Until then, perhaps having a sign showing "Get in the Inner Circle" or some other message to that effect to encourage proper use of traffic circles.
    From the Gov AB Basic License Drivers' Handbook (p.73)
    "Remember these safety tips:
    Enter into the right-hand lane of a traffic circle when you intend to leave
    at the first available exit point.
    If you are planning to proceed to the second exit or beyond, it is
    recommended that you use the left-hand lane.
    When entering or leaving a traffic circle be aware there may be marked
    pedestrian crosswalks."

    "Safety tip" is to use the inner lane, not law.
    Traffic circles can create massive headaches when commuting during rush hour and drivers insist on using only the one lane. Defeats the purpose of this free-flow traffic instrument.
    And here, folks, is the dumbest thing directly under provincial control to do with traffic circle use and safety. You can't have "friendly suggestions from the Province" when legal control is required instead.

    There is one way around this; in a couple of places, they put up a sign telling you to enter from a certain lane for a certain exit. In this case, the sign takes precedence over the standard rules (or lack of rules) for traffic circles.

    Oh wait, they don't enforce anything on the roads in this city anyway.
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  15. #15

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    use the right lane (outside) for 1/4 or 1/2 and use the left lane (inside) for 1/2 or 3/4 (or 4/4 if you forgot your turn a few blocks before the traffic circle). Right lane always yields to left lane. Its just that simple. Don't know how others can't get it. Get it?
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobleea View Post
    I'm a huge believer in traffic circles. There's two busy ones within a few blocks of our house and they effectively move traffic. Most of the accidents I see are rear enders due to someone braking to let a pedestrian cross and the car behind not paying attention.

    The key is that drivers need to know how to use them. That's often not the case.
    I agree. When is the last time you have seen a major high speed collision at a traffic circle or a auto fatality. I love traffic circles as well. Some pedestrian overpasses would help.
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  17. #17

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    Imagine if the Alberta Driver's Handbook said "It is suggested to consider stopping when you come across a red light."

    Medwards, you only need to add "no changing lanes within the traffic circle" and it would make a good LAW.

    While we're at it, I'd be interested to see a few of these:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundab...bo_roundabouts
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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    I disagree - I don't think they have much advantage over a 4 way stop. While they can work in certain locations, once traffic volumes reach a threshold quantity, they can result in horrible traffic jams if you for example, have traffic entering from South and West only at rush hour, mainly going East, then South will be trapped. When you add in the horrible accident rate at traffic circles in Edmonton, they aren't worth the effort.

    The biggest traffic jams I have been in, in my life (not in Edmonton), have been a result of traffic circles. They are only for low volumes (which a 4 way stop can service), or locations where there is equal quantity of traffic from all directions at all times (and there aren't many locations like that).
    You are right about breakdown at high traffic volume but they are superior in both convenience and capacity to the 4-way stop you propose as an alternative.

    So long as we avoid the sillyness that happened when the traffic circle was installed at the junction of highways 8 and 22 near Calgary. Instead of simply building the traffic circle, they installed a chicanes on the approaches! Unlike Edmonton's traffic circles which allow the driver to see and monitor the both the circle and the road leading to it while approaching, you simply cannot see what's going on in the 8/22 circle without diverting your gaze from the road ahead! You don't get to see both until you are only a few meters from entering the circle - not enough time to scan the other entrances and adjust your speed so you arrive at a gap in traffic and don't have to stop.

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    Chicanes? Google maps sort of indicates them
    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=5...3,0.03356&z=15

    But the pic from Alberta Transportation doesn't show them
    http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/roundabout8-22.jpg

    They may have added the curves to slow people down, maybe they didn't want people splatting themselves into the middle of the circle.

    The turbo roundabout looks interesting it may be interesting to see them try it here temporarily with the low concrete medians to see if you get better traffic flow.

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    I agree that more roundabouts would make driving better in this city. For the people who don't know how to use them, they'd learn faster if there were more to navigate through!

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    i really dont like roundabouts. i much prefer a signalized intersection.

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    Round-abouts are great, upto a point. At a certain amount of traffic they begin to work against smooth traffic flow.

    That said, I can think of a lot of really annoying signal lights I'd hapily see replaced.

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    Keep in mind when discussing roundabouts that the design of them have changed dramatically since the City installed Edmonton's in the mid-1950s. The traffic circles we have are designed so that a driver can maintain a certain speed and not slow down unless to yield. The angle at which you enter and exist are designed for very fast speeds. The horizontal slope in the circle (which also allows for central drainage) gives you an opportunity to go even faster, though the switch in slope as you exist has caused grief for high-load truck traffic.

    Modern roundabouts, be they single lane or two lanes, could fit inside the green space of one of our current circles. The tighter radius, combined with a different entry/exit design, forces traffic to slow down. Roundabout designs in the US for 40 mph roads (56 km/h) here typically slow traffic to 25 mph (40 km/h) in the circle. Trucks and emergency vehicles are accomodated by having a modified curb on the inside and a "truck apron" that allows wide-turning vehicles to partially cut across the central island.

    Several provincial and state jurisdictions now require that engineers justify *not* using roundabouts when an intersection is being considered for replacement (BC, New York state). They are usually more expensive to design and build, but over the life of the intersection cost less. They are also extremely safe when well-designed (which, to stress again, Edmonton's are not -- at least by today's standards). There are still collisions, of course -- but they are usually sideswipe collisions at low speed, not T-bone collisions at high speed.

    I think for us Edmontonians, roundabouts are like slim highrise towers. A new design, vastly improved, hamstrung by our collective perception of the older, less sucessful designs.

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    New roundabout video on Alberta Transportation

    http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/3644.htm

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    Roundabouts Ramp Up in Popularity
    Nicholas Zeman - ENR
    The roundabout, a circular intersection in which traffic flows through from incoming streets in one direction around a central island, is booming in the U.S.—so much so that some engineering firms see it as a straight-up opportunity.
    ...
    http://enr.construction.com/infrastr...popularity.asp

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by sundance View Post
    Roundabouts Ramp Up in Popularity
    Nicholas Zeman - ENR
    The roundabout, a circular intersection in which traffic flows through from incoming streets in one direction around a central island, is booming in the U.S.—so much so that some engineering firms see it as a straight-up opportunity.
    ...

    http://enr.construction.com/infrastr...popularity.asp
    Great article! Loads of interesting points too.

    ” In less than 20 years, the number of roundabouts in the nation has increased to 2,000 from 200, he says."


    ...“They’re usually about 50% to 75% cheaper than building a traditional interchange,” Boyle says."

    "Critics of roundabouts claim they take up more space and are more expensive and more confusing than traditional intersections. However, drivers warm up to them very quickly, Brainerd counters. In addition to the issue of idling, starting a car from zero “takes a tremendous amount of energy,” he* adds. “That saves us millions of gallons of gasoline, and it reduces traffic jams. At rush hour, there’s a little wait, but the other 23 hours of the day there’s no wait.”*

    "Other savings include lower insurance rates for his constituents. "We’ve lowered our injury accident rate by 65%,” Brainerd says. “Usually, insurance companies ...”*
    Last edited by KC; 17-08-2012 at 10:09 AM.

  27. #27

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    Another US article.

    States embrace roundabouts for intersections
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...ndabouts_N.htm


    "That's what makes roundabouts so appealing, Altevogt says.

    First, vehicles must slow to 15 to 25 mph to negotiate a roundabout, he says. Also, vehicles can only collide with each other, a bicyclist or pedestrian at a few points in the circle, compared with dozens of points in a typical four-way intersection.

    When crashes do happen, they are less severe, he says."That's a huge, huge benefit."

    Roundabouts do have their limits, though..."

  28. #28

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    Just adding a cross reference link for future reference...

    This one has reference to history article...
    Traffic Circles in Edmonton - Connect2Edmonton
    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...886#post559886

    Circular History | Spacing Edmonton
    http://spacing.ca/edmonton/2013/11/2...edium=facebook








    And more...

    A rant against closure of traffic circles - Connect2Edmonton
    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...d.php?p=102221


    98 Ave Traffic Circle - Connect2Edmonton
    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...d.php?p=344621









    .
    Last edited by KC; 21-11-2013 at 08:01 AM.

  29. #29

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    90% drop in deaths. I guess that's also indicative of where most of our deaths occur.

    Roundabouts
    The widening gyre

    Like parliamentary democracy, roundabouts are a great British export with a risk
    Oct 5th 2013
    Excerpt:


    "According to America’s Department of Transportation, replacing crossroads with roundabouts leads to a 35% fall in crashes, a 76% fall in injuries and a 90% fall in deaths."



    http://www.economist.com/news/leader...rc=explainsdig





    .
    Last edited by KC; 26-02-2014 at 09:15 PM.

  30. #30
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    Mythbusters had a traffic episode where they tested the efficiency of 4 way stops vs. traffic circles and traffic circles did allow more traffic to flow through in their tests. However this is for low to moderate volume intersections.
    http://jalopnik.com/this-test-proves...y-s-1447987773

  31. #31

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    That Mythbusters episode was great. It showed how traffic delays were caused in heavy traffic that even a simple tap on the brake creates a ripple effect backwards that becomes increasingly disruptive. It also showed how a 10% increase in the number of cars at peak times can be the tipping point of major traffic disruptions.
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  32. #32

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    ^ yup. Shockwave effect.


  33. #33

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    I had an old Scientific American mag from the 1960's that has a case study of delays in the Lincoln Tunnel that studied a simple stall or braking incident that caused the ripple effect. They had spools of wire hooked to cars to measure the separation distances with recorders. They found that the effect of an incident created a wave that moved backwards and was amplified for a significant time, affecting traffic for long periods. They found that if they regularly paused traffic at the toll booths, the wave would be broken and that traffic speeds resumed their normal condition.

    In the Mythbuster episode, it was clear that they could not get traffic back up to regular speed even long after Jamie's singular interruption.
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  34. #34

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    Full Episode

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  35. #35

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    Started thinking that roundabouts may have an interesting future with driverless cars.

    Cities could save huge amounts of money by avoiding the cost of installing lights as more and more, but not all, vehicles transition to driverless.

    The roundabouts may create real challenges for the driverless car's sensors.

    But roundabouts, too, are pretty future-proof, reckons Jeff Shaw of the FHA, whose traffic simulations found that roundabouts would move more self-driving car traffic than signalised intersections. “The future looks good for roundabouts, if and when autonomous vehicles become a reality,” he says. In this circular argument, there’s plenty of road left yet.

    Source: see below


    Traffic lights are so dictatorial' ... but are roundabouts on the way out?

    “Most of the time, roundabouts are a very competitive alternative to other forms of intersection, from both an operational and safety standpoint,” says Shaw. He cites research suggesting that severe crashes – those that result in injury or loss of life, through T-bones caused by cars running red lights – are reduced by 80% when you replace intersections by roundabouts. “The slower speed and angle at which cars approach roundabouts has a profound impact on the severity of any collision that might occur,” says Shaw, who is also convinced that roundabouts move traffic more efficiently. Researchers at Kansas State University found that average delays were 65% less at roundabouts than at signalised intersections.


    ...

    “Traffic lights are so fascist and dictatorial, telling you when to stop and go,” says Beresford. “Roundabouts are quintessentially English and democratic in their etiquette.”

    ....

    But roundabouts, too, are pretty future-proof, reckons Jeff Shaw of the FHA, whose traffic simulations found that roundabouts would move more self-driving car traffic than signalised intersections. “The future looks good for roundabouts, if and when autonomous vehicles become a reality,” he says. In this circular argument, there’s plenty of road left yet.

    http://www.theguardian.com/cities/20...abouts-way-out


    Americans don’t like roundabouts, but they should
    By Rick Noack March 17, 2016

    France is ahead of the curve.

    The country is among the world's leaders in circular intersections, or roundabouts. Every 45th intersection in France is a roundabout, whereas the United States lags far behind with one per 1,118 intersections.

    That's a real problem because researchers say roundabouts can save lives. According to data by the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control." Apart from preventing cars from crashing into each other, roundabouts also saved the lives of countless pedestrians.

    Why is that? The Washington State Department of Transportation points to several main reasons. First, curved intersections "eliminate" the possibility of deadly head-on collisions.
    ...


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...t-they-should/



    Why Does America Hate Roundabouts?
    Maps and data visualizations show the U.S. trailing much of the world when it comes to traffic circles.

    Mar 10, 2016

    Intersections in America are boring: Grind to a halt, go left, right, or straight. Why can’t we be more like countries that forgo 90-degree angles for welcoming roundabouts, where drivers can ease into their exits or just ....

    There are other, more controversial theories. “The roundabout is said to have flourished in Britain because it requires the British virtues of compromise and cooperation,” opines journalist Stephen Beard—who, no surprise, lives in Britain—writing in BBC America. “The U.S.’s more aggressive, confrontational culture may explain why the roundabout has not been more widely adopted by Americans.”




    http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/...et-map/408598/
    Last edited by KC; 22-05-2016 at 08:20 AM.

  36. #36

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    Witnessed a genius do this last week in a school zone during lunch when kids were out. Should qualify for cancellation of driver's license and auction of vehicle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    Witnessed a genius do this last week in a school zone during lunch when kids were out. Should qualify for cancellation of driver's license and auction of vehicle.
    I'm not trying to defend idiots who don't know how to use a roundabout, but this is an unusual design for Edmonton.

    Most of the other circles in the city are bigger, even 142 st/87 ave. Usually, you can't easily see the 270 degrees exit from the 0 degrees position, and they are not close enough to take the risk by cutting the circle to save time. The likelihood another car will appear is too high, since most the other circles are much busier too.

    In this circle you can see the entire lay of the land, it's in a quiet neighbourhood, and unscrupulous people trying to save 5 seconds can see there is nobody else around so the risk of cutting it is nil.



    Another potential problem I see: The sign indicating this is a roundabout is 40m back from the crosswalk pictured. If you miss seeing this sign and arrive at the crosswalk the intersection may not even look like a roundabout from the driver's position. With the square curb, it resembles a regular intersection with median where such a left turn would be permitted.

    I think the concrete island beyond the crosswalk could be extended in such a way to visually reinforce the fact this is a roundabout and that a left turn is not a legal move. Something like I've added to the next picture in red.
    It may also help to paint arrows for the direction of travel like there is at 107 ave and 142 street.



    I've also poked around looking at some British roundabouts - the roundabout sign is usually right at the entrance (where the yellow arrow is above), and if there are not arrows painted on the road surface, there is a sign with an arrow in the centre of the circle that you can't miss. Really a random mix of all three elements, but there is always at least one present. This Griesbach one has nothing.

    You could argue the yellow caution arrow might indicate direction of travel, but these signs are used everywhere that is not a roundabout too. In this case it could be interpreted as "don't drive on the left side of this crosswalk curb".
    Last edited by Mock; 25-05-2016 at 10:08 PM.

  38. #38

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    Moreover, sometimes critical signage is placed where drivers will miss it if they are doing their job and paying attention to the road and potential risks.

    The two signs in the median before the cross walk could sure be improved. Aren't there dedicated traffic circle / roundabout signs?


    This is crappy and uninformative but useful if placed further back upstream:

    http://www.halton.ca/common/pages/Us...x?fileId=61247
    Last edited by KC; 26-05-2016 at 06:53 AM.

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    I think the signage is adequate, I think Strathcona County used a few too many signs with this one south of Sherwood Park.
    https://www.google.ca/maps/@53.50178...7i13312!8i6656

    I also appreciate the graphic circle direction sign before, similar to this

    http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersect...images/f27.jpg
    Last edited by sundance; 26-05-2016 at 08:12 AM.

  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by sundance View Post
    I think the signage is adequate, I think Strathcona County used a few too many signs with this one south of Sherwood Park.
    https://www.google.ca/maps/@53.50178...7i13312!8i6656

    I also appreciate the graphic circle direction sign before, similar to this

    http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersect...images/f27.jpg




    But it used a median ahead sign! It's a roundabout and you're allowed to turn left.


    http://dottrafficsigns.com/image/cac...17-500x500.jpg

    MEDIAN STAY RIGHT SYMBOL 24" X 30" - 24" X 30"
    http://dottrafficsigns.com/product/3...-24-x-30-24x30
    Last edited by KC; 26-05-2016 at 11:02 AM.

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