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Author Topic: We need more rotaries, fewer traffic signals and four-way stops Back to Topics
CoastalMaineiac
Rookie Author
Maine

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Message Posted: Sep 5, 2012 1:59:34 PM

"Hey kids, there's Big Ben, there's Parliament!"

But seriously, a one-lane rotary is pretty easy to figure out. The only rule is the traffic in the rotary first has the right of way, but it keeps you moving. Multiple lane ones aren't as bad as the Griswolds would have us believe. Especially the ones they build now, in which the lane usage is essentially the same as if it were an intersection without the island, like this diagram shows: /sites/all/themes/wcroads/images/Roundabouts/roundabouts-nav1.jpg

With the lanes marked that way, you can't get stuck on the inside lane. Capacity is increased quite a bit as well.

It's a design that works, American drivers CAN and DO figure them out, and it doesn't involve anywhere near the amount of delay a traffic light requires. Less waiting, less idling, less fuel burned up, less emissions, and a yield sign is not susceptible to power failure.
REPLIES (newest first) Post a Reply
jcpatriots
Champion Author Massachusetts

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Message Posted: Aug 3, 2013 10:51:51 PM

I live in Massachusetts near Cape Cod, and we have heavy traffic in the summers due to tourist season, and I cannot TELL YOU how many people I run into who don't understand the very simple concepts of travelling around a rotary. It's NOT DIFFICULT, for God's sake!
FuelPump
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Aug 3, 2013 9:38:28 PM

Syncronized traffic lights, like we had fifty some years ago would certainly help now. Somehow the traffic engineers today, can't seem to replicate what traffic engineers half a century ago could do.
Zig0
Champion Author Tennessee

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Message Posted: Aug 2, 2013 9:21:58 AM

I think they would be fine for smaller intersections
nichols
Champion Author Halifax

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Message Posted: Aug 2, 2013 9:12:19 AM

I personally like rotaries because having sensors is practical but probably will not be done much until the 22nd century
forestghost07
Champion Author Miami

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Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 8:10:26 PM

wes303 asked "What's a rotary?"

traffic circle, or "roundabout" over in UK

they're fine w/me, but I like DAWGnh's idea too - thank you sir!

and yeah, residential rotaries are way too small
WES03
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 7:21:54 PM

What's a rotary?
PatAZ
Champion Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 7:07:07 PM

I'll pass on that idea, DAWGnh has a better idea.
DAWGnh
Champion Author New Hampshire

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Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 5:43:13 PM

What we need is more sensors in the road at a stop light. That way we don't have to sit at a red light when there is no traffic.
WEDDY
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 4:14:20 PM

rotaries are a bad idea as proven by increases accidents. If they were much larger, then they have a chance of working more efficiently. The typical small rotaries in Phoenix, AZ. are not a good idea.
AFOS
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 1:38:57 PM

"Some residential ones are way too small, just a round planter in the intersection"

We have one like that near me. But they even left it as a 4 way stop, with roundabout signs. lol

It's not possible to turn an existing intersection into a roundabout without gobbling up a lot of land that is already in use for other purposes. They are easiest to build into new road development.

[Edited by: AFOS at 7/27/2013 1:39:56 PM EST]
grim_farva
Champion Author Kansas

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Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 12:36:13 PM

some people don't think the cars in the round about have the right of way. They think they should have the right of way all the time
nichols
Champion Author Halifax

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Message Posted: Jul 27, 2013 12:17:39 PM

yes
MertieMan
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Jul 10, 2013 8:31:10 AM

Rotary intersections are find if they are built right. These morons in this area built two and one still has only one lane. It takes motorists quite a while to also get used to them. The one near to my house had all kinds of wrecks for a while, and you have to watch because people will not yield a lot of times for cars in the rotary.
Dennis783
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Jul 10, 2013 7:54:12 AM

I hate them. Too hard to navigate, and others are not patient with you as you try to figure out where to go
rjb34747
Veteran Author Orlando

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Message Posted: Jul 10, 2013 5:43:47 AM

I agree; some of the residential roundabouts are scaled down too small and are difficult to use.
grim_farva
Champion Author Kansas

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2013 3:04:49 PM

people still have a hard time understanding the idea of right-of-way in roundabouts
tdioiler
Champion Author Detroit

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2013 2:29:15 PM

And we can get rid of the red-light cameras!!!!

BTW, rotaries only account for a 10% increase in accidents for the first 6 months of use as people start using them more. Then the number drops down to lower rates than with lights and turn-on-red options.
Saab93turbo
Champion Author Washington

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2013 2:01:58 PM

Some residential ones are way too small, just a round planter in the intersection
weddy11
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2013 12:24:33 PM

Roundabouts have proven to cause many more accidents than the traditional lights and stop signs. By its very design, it is extremely stupid as proven by all the accidents if for no other reason. They are so small here in Arizona. If they were much larger they would be much safer. I still think they are a total waste.

[Edited by: weddy11 at 2/24/2013 12:28:06 PM EST]
stlhawk
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Feb 24, 2013 11:21:46 AM

I love roundabouts but the general public in the US needs to be educated first. There are just too many stupid people out there.
herbiepopnecker
Champion Author British Columbia

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Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 1:14:14 AM

They're called roundabouts, rotaries are engines.
ricebike
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 12:43:12 AM

in my state, rotaries were being phased out in favor of "jug handles" and controlled lights
Low_Prices_2007
Veteran Author Fresno

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Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 2:17:04 PM

i agree outside the city sure inside that just create a traffic nightmare and more accidant prone
gas_phil
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 1:59:54 PM

In that 5MB PDF file from DI (link in his message) it shows something interesting... we can't crash head on in a rotary/roundabout/circle. (Crashing head-on is the most painful.)

Anyways I just remembered there's a second roundabout in the neighborhood. I'm pretty sure they use it for decoration only lol.
PithyOpiner
Champion Author Stockton

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Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 1:42:44 PM

Fourway stops might be good out in the country. But, in an urban setting at rush hour, they are just plain stupid.
cogas1
Champion Author Colorado

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Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 6:26:17 AM

They are called "roundabouts" in my area. I like one lane roundabouts, and think they make intersections safer, but the big ones can be confusing. Sensory overload for some, especially older folks.
MertieMan
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 5:12:04 AM

Rotaries are fine if they are built right. We have two in this area and they are both too small with not enough lanes.
eyegotgas2
Champion Author British Columbia

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Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 3:34:13 AM

As simple as they should be, so many people don't understand them.

Four way stops are annoying but everyone understands them.

gas_phil
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 12:00:12 AM

They put one in the neighborhood. And some tall trees in that circle.
traffic cop
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Feb 21, 2013 10:37:07 PM

beachd8,

Rotaries probably won't work where roads of 3-4 lanes (6-8, both directions) are involved. They're not appropriate for every situation. But I've seen them connect irregularly angled roads rather efficiently.

tractor-(semi)trailer rigs handle them quite well. They don't have to swing wide into opposite traffic for their tandems to clear the inside corner. (I still have a Class-A license.)

A rotary may or may not take more land than a 4-way intersection. The purpose is to eliminate complex (and lengthy) traffic light sequences (various arrows left, straight, etc.)

Signage can help, starting with "Yield to Vehicles When Entering Rotary."
Desoto49
Champion Author KW

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 5:06:22 PM

All it takes is a few drivers who abuse them to become more dangerous than intersections
WEDDY
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 4:54:14 PM

They can work if large enough like in England. Here in Arizona where they are small, it is crazy. They are very dangerous and have caused for more accidents than the old tradional stop sign and signals. I don't understand the stupidity behing this type of traffic control.
jack4141
Champion Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 4:37:06 PM

My wife and I was on the east coast last year. Saw and travel thought some them. My wife hates them. She had to drive couple them. Me it didn't bother me. We don't have those around where we live,
DoctorV
Champion Author Detroit

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 1:40:26 PM

Absolutely!
LeeLavergne
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 1:26:37 PM

we had two around here years ago but they are long gone now
PDN57
Champion Author San Bernardino

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 1:11:25 PM

When I was in the UK I loved round abouts. When there is no traffic. In London with heavy traffic they where no faster than lights
sagnat
Champion Author Riverside

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 12:58:24 PM

Most folks here have no idea how to operating in a roundabout. I find them fairly dangerous and go out of my way to avoid them if I know there is one up the road. Too many selfish idiots on the road to try to negotiate a roundabout.
OceanArcher
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 12:42:26 PM

If they are unfeasible for areas with heavy traffic, that would include most of the United States
beachd8
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 12:07:41 PM

Oh, so they aren't used for arteries? So then they are used for what, residential streets? What advantage do they have for residential streets? Stop signs mean that law abiding citizens actually stop, which is a good thing on residential streets because it keeps the speed down.

Not being in an area where roundabouts are common, I am confused. I have driven through some on road trips where streets joined at odd angles and ended up going around a few times before figuring out where I was supposed to get off and traffic let me move over, too.
traffic cop
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 11:18:33 AM

The larger the roads feeding it, the larger the rotary must be.

If the roads coming in are two-lane (four-lane both directions) then you need three lanes in the rotary --and a very large circumference. At a certain point, it just isn't feasible of course, and you need a traditional interchange with designated turn-lanes, traffic signals with left-turn cycles, and all that.

But the point of the rotary is, when possible, to eliminate the complexity of an intersection with all the waiting for various light sequences. The nature of these things is that there will always be compromises, and compromise means that everybody loses something--and gains something.
veloman
Sophomore Author Connecticut

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2013 4:39:17 AM

The ones on route 80 in southern CT have worked wonderfully for so many years. The amount of fuel, brake wear, and TIME saved is a lot. When I would bicycle through them, I simply speed up to 25-30mph (normal speed of traffic in them) and take the lane like a motorcycle.

The tiny ones with bad visibility are dangerous. Must be engineered correctly.
beachd8
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Feb 17, 2013 9:27:47 PM

Where do bicyclists ride through these? How many lanes do they have?

I've only seen two of them relatively near where I live. I drove through one of them on Friday night for the first time in several years. The feeder roads are only one lane. I have the following questions:
-How does that work when most of our main are 3 to 4 lanes in each direction?
-How does traffic continue to flow at a reasonable rate?
-How do semi trucks navigate traffic circles?
-Isn't the cost to condemn land to reconfigure intersections into roundabouts just outrageous? Eminent domain can take forever.
Mr1lung
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Feb 17, 2013 12:56:13 PM

I like them
d_clark
Champion Author Grand Rapids

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Message Posted: Feb 17, 2013 12:55:03 PM

no, they are stupid and not effective.
Snowchoux
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Feb 17, 2013 12:14:36 PM

No comment.
DI
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Jan 6, 2013 8:42:31 PM

Just to clarify, there's a _huge_ difference between a modern roundabout and a rotary found in Europe or along the East Coast. This PDF file (5 MB) does a good job of illustrating them.

Roundabouts are _not_ suited to high-volume roadways (AADT of 30,000+) or intersections where there's an unbalanced amount of traffic from one road (since vehicles in the roundabout have the right-of-way, traffic from a low-volume road only would be able to enter with significant delays).

Roundabouts are purposely not wide so as to minimize the potential conflicts between vehicles (accidents).
traffic cop
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Jan 6, 2013 3:25:32 PM

Weddie and Mertieman have good points

The rotary's purpose is negated if it isn't engineered right. It simply has to be sized appropriate to the traffic volume (and number of streets it serves). What's right for a small residential area won't do for an intersection that handles high commuter traffic.

Done well, they can be nicely landscaped, too. A good place to put large sculptures or monuments.
ggg452
Champion Author Manitoba

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Message Posted: Dec 31, 2012 12:55:32 PM

defensive driving dictates that as the driver you look out for yourself, your passengers and others out there... never assume anything.
nichols
Champion Author Halifax

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Message Posted: Dec 31, 2012 12:45:45 PM

even the small are better then 4 way stops
MertieMan
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Dec 31, 2012 8:05:40 AM

We have two of these in Lexington, Kentucky and neither is built correctly.
People here build them entirely too small for the amount of traffic, not like the English ones which are wide and work great. There have been numerous accidents here because most of these people don't know how to negotiate them correctly. I have almost been hit several times in one near my house. They even built one that only has a one lane flow of traffic, which is totally absurb.
traffic cop
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Dec 31, 2012 7:45:26 AM

We've had them for generations in New England, and they work. Like many things, they take some getting used to.

One problem with four-way stops is that people do not necessarily go in the prescribed order (yielding, successively, to the right). A #2 car tries to squeeze through behind the #1 ("California stop"). People arrive at the stops simultaneously and don't know what to do. Etc.

A rotary does require enough space and the right engineering, but, done right, moves traffic through at an efficient, moderate speed.

It probably takes less real estate than a cloverleaf set-up, too.

Obviously, it's not right for every situation. But for roadways that are typically less-than-interstate speed and traffic volume, they should work.
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